UPDATE: ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons Thrilled by Recreation of ‘Tres Hombres’ Photo: ‘I Stand in Awe’
Many ZZ Top fans have had their mouths water at the sight of the sumptuous feast found on the gatefold photo of 1973’s Tres Hombres. Now, an Austin chef has recreated that meal and filmed the process, which included sitting down to eat it.
Thomas Micklethwait, the owner of Austin’s Micklethwait’s Craft Meats, posted the above video, titled “ZZ Tom,” to his Facebook page with the caption, “Sooooo … I really like Tex Mex and ZZ Top. And I’m a huge nerd. Thanks David Bessenhoffer for making this video! Now, my life is a little more complete.”
Color ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons impressed. “It’s crazy – absolutely nuts,” Gibbons tells Texas Monthly. “I stand in awe of what he’s accomplished. I have to hand it to him, he recreated every last element that you see in the centerfold with exacting detail. It’s rather remarkable.”
As “La Grange” plays in the video, the chef plates the main dish, an assortment of classic Mexican fare including tacos, rice and refried beans — all topped with generous portions of shredded cheese, with a stack of tortillas to the left. To the right are an order of nachos, and behind it are bowls of peppers, tomatoes, crema, limes and lemons, more cheese, an old radio and a picture of a woman (who looks a little like Salma Hayek) in front of a Mexican flag. When it’s done, Micklethwait pulls the knife out of the citrus, grabs a fork and digs in.
Tres Hombres was ZZ Top’s third album and their first to capture a mass audience, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The meal shown in the original photo was was prepared by the since-closed Leo’s Mexican Kitchen in Houston, where the band regularly hung out and has its memorabilia on the walls.
Turns out, the photo shoot back then ended much the same way, except for one small detail: The band didn’t get to consume that tasty meal. “At some point, we took a 15-minute break,” Gibbons remembers, “and when we returned we found his German Shepherd laying on his side gasping for breath. He’d jumped up on the table and consumed the entire lot. He got it all.”
Micklethwait’s Craft Meats, a popular food truck located in East Austin, began serving barbecue in December 2012. It’s been featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine and shows on the Cooking and Travel channels. (They also have a four-and-a-half-star rating on Yelp.) But the best, in fact, may still be to come – as Micklethwait’s could welcome a new celebrity customer soon.
“I owe him a visit for sure,” Gibbons tells Texas Monthly. “His accomplishment is significant. Next time I’m through, we should invite half the city of Austin to come with us and sample the Tres Hombres platter. He’d make another, right? Tell him I’m coming.”
ZZ Top Albums, Ranked Worst to Best