America's Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants Paperback – May 12 2009
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About the Author
A charter member of KCBS and former three-term member of the Board of Directors, Ardie A. Davis founded the American Royal International BBQ Sauce, Rub, and Baste Contest and the Great American Barbecue Sauce, Baste, and Rub Contest. In 2012, he received the Pioneer of Barbeque award at the Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue. He is the author of several barbecue cookbooks.
Paul Kirk, a charter member of the KCBS and member of the Board of Directors, operates the Baron's School of Pitmasters. The author of seven barbecue cookbooks, he has won more than 475 cooking and barbecuing awards, among them seven world championships, including the prestigious American Royal Open, the world's largest barbecue contest.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book is a bit unique for a BBQ book. It's so pretty that it's almost a coffee table book. That surprised me, since most BBQ books are no nonsense, functional endeavors.
"America's Best BBQ" offers up "selected" recipes from famous, semi-famous and even some obscure BBQ restaurants. But don't expect your favorite BBQ joint to give up their signature dishes. However, the recipes that are included are interesting. And since there are many restaurants in here, the whole adds up to a lot of decent looking recipes.
Frankly I was a little disappointed at first. I had hoped to find some "signature" dish recipes. But once I got over that, it was clear that the book covers a lot of ground and offered up some pretty unique perspectives and interesting ideas.
* It's really pretty
* There are a lot of varied and even surprising ideas
* It gives me ideas of new place to try when I travel.
* Don't expect your favorite restaurant to give up their signature dishes.
* Some of the recipes are vague and assume you know a lot about BBQ.
All in all, a good, interesting book for anyone wanting to BBQ or looking for a new BBQ joint to try out.
While the book is historical, it also has an incredible variety of recipes. It includes everything from starters like Volcanic Goat Cheese, Rocky Mountain Oysters, and Fried Cheese Stick Grits, to Burgoo, to mutton ribs, and all the barbecue standards in between. The range of recipes is excellent. Even better, most of the recipes are from the originators themselves.
I found the following statement from the introduction very interesting.
"Each joint in this book is, in our view, one of the best in America. They are all on the same playing field, with varying strengths and weaknesses. That aside, we have each named our Top Ten joints in the back of the book."
Barbecue is very competitive and often chock full of ego, as is the restaurant industry generally. It's very refreshing to see the authors give their honest opinions about what they feel are the best.
If you love barbecue, its history, and great recipes, I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
The book is divided into sections as a menu is: Starters, Main Dishes, Sides and Condiments, and Desserts. The Starters chapter includes recipes for traditional and regional favorites such as onion rings, Brunswick stew, burgoo, and Rocky Mountain oysters. Main Dishes, of course, is all about the 'cue: ribs, pulled pork, barbecued pig snout, and more. The Sides and Condiments section is not only cole slaw--white, pink, red, you name it--but also baked beans, cornbread, hushpuppies, and potatoes. Dessert recipes include Lexington banana pudding, bread pudding, apple crisp, and fried peach pies.
I highly recommend this book!
The authors, who clearly know their BBQ, feature 100 of the best BBQ joints in the US. For each BBQ joint, there is a representative "recipe." But don't be lured into thinking that anyone in the uber-competitive BBQ world is going to give away their trade secrets. The recipes are for things like Luling City Market Real Texas Bar-B-Que's "Hot Pickles," which consist of sliced hamburger dills, sugar, and Tabasco. Country's Barbecue in Columbus, GA shares its recipe for "Vidalia Onion Dip" -- onions, mayo, Parmesan cheese & grated Swiss. Smitty's Market in Lockhart Texas shares its secret recipe for "Barbecued Beef Shoulder Clod" -- season the beef shoulder with salt and black pepper and cook until tender. Yep, that's all you learn. Head Country Barbecue in Ponca City, OK instructs us in how to make its "Beef Brisket" -- take brisket, add Head Country All-Purpose Championship Seasoning, Head County Premium Marinade, and Head Country Barbecue Sauce. And so it goes. I don't think you'll find any BBQ secrets or great recipes in here. You will find recipes for apple pie and ice cream and bananas foster -- but you can find those in a whole lot of other cookebooks, too.
The real meat of the book is in the one to two pages the authors devote to each of the 100 featured BBQ joints. They're interesting, but not particularly insightful. Most talk about when the restaurant was founded, its owners, how they got into BBQ, what they serve, etc. It's almost like reading advertising copy for each of the featured restaurants. "North Main BBQ serves an all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner buffet that includes it's award winning ribs, choppped and sliced beef brisket, chicken breasts and quarters . . . etc. The meats are slow-cooked with hickory smoke for 4 to 12 hours. If you want any drink other than iced tea, you'll have to BYOB." Not exactly compelling reading. The writing style is fairly conversational, e.g., We like the lamb ribs because "there's no gamy flavor. Be sure to try them on your next visit. The nice thing about lamb ribs is that they can be barbecued or grilled." Okay.
Overall, this collection is interesting but I'd rather spend my money on the barbecue itself than on the book.