Last year, we saw the first Black pitmaster cookbook since the 1980s Rodney ScottBarbecue world. This year, two were released in the same week, with Matt Horne and Kevin Blodsoo Honours. Both have joints in California, but Horn’s barbecue is undoubtedly influenced by Texas, and Blodso now lives in Corsicana. These days, it’s undeniable the reach of Texas barbecue, with smoked brisket covered in books from New York City, UK, and an Argentine chef whose restaurant is in Maine. Here are the best barbecue books of 2022 so far.
Bludso’s BBQ Cookbook: Family Relationship in Smoke and Soul
By Kevin Bloodsaw, with Noah Gallotin
The entertaining value of Bludso’s understated story (a record “Motherf-er” I’m sure no other barbecue cookbook would break) of how a Compton kid cares about Texas barbecues is reason enough to buy the book. Blodso was raised in California, and had a father who was a policeman, a mother who was a Black Panther activist, and an aunt who ran an illegal barbecue joint out of the back of her Corsicana home, where he lived. the summer. Turns this story into a full-scale cookbook.
It’s a grill book first, but there are plenty of dishes here stewed, baked, baked, and boiled. Bludso heats up the skillet for fried chicken, pork chops, and even ribs, and an entire seafood section includes shrimp and grits, okra, and etouffee. The hard roast section is refreshing because it’s not too hard. Bludso provides instructions for preparing different grill cuts in an offset smoker, and for cuts other than brisket and pork shoulder, it provides another specific set of instructions for working with a charcoal grill. Throughout the book, backyard cooks are reminded that grilling is meant to make for a good time, and “not to take it too seriously.”
The most interesting recipe: Smoked oxtails birria, because it’s one of the best things I had last year when I was lucky enough to be in Corsicana during a recipe-testing session with Bludso and his crew.
horn roast: Recipes and techniques for a master in the art of barbecue
by Matt Horn
Matt Horn details his journey into the barbecue, from the terrible pork ribs he gave to a girl he was trying to impress, to nearly quitting after a disastrous appearance outside the bar, to running two successful restaurants with the girl he didn’t like with those ribs. The smoking instructions in the book read like the notes on Horne’s former character. If he had known the basics, he said, he would have raised a leg when he threw his first brisket into the smoker.
As in any West Coast barbecue cookbook, a triple-smoked recipe is included, but you’ll also find unexpected twists like smoked boudin, pig’s head cheese, and smoked rabbit. Plenty of photos are included to document the process of preparing Horns Auckland’s signature breast meat in various stages of preparation and smoking. Some recipes can make the arduous process seem too simple, as scant instructions for pulling out a whole pig describe neither what kind of hole is needed nor how to produce the wood charcoal needed for the lengthy cooking process. But if you’re looking to recreate the menu from Horn BBQ, they’re all there.
The most interesting recipe: Nine different cake recipes are included, so you know it’s an important dessert for Horn. Key lime cake is an interesting take on the classic pie.
fire life: Master the arts of pit-cooked barbecue, barbecue and smokehouse
Written by Pat Martin and Nick Foshall
Every grill book seems to begin with a similar, brief explanation of wood, charcoal, smokers, and grills, but they rarely get into as in-depth detail as Pat Martin does. Provides descriptions of useful wood species and a comprehensive explanation of the difference between green wood and seasoned wood. Martin also describes the different stages of a fire, from combustion to ash, and the book is organized around cooking at each of these stages (hence the title).
In addition to grilling basics, you’ll learn how to cure and smoke meat in a smoker and learn about terms such as reverse spatchcock, sock sausage, and the piercing and fluff method. The heart of the book is the complete pig barbecue, which isn’t surprising, because Martin’s Bar-B-Que in Nashville carries a legacy. West Tennessee whole pig. Martin delves into every detail through forty pages in the hopes of increasing the popularity of this dying barbecue tradition. What Rodney Scott and Samuel Jones did for South and North Carolina, respectively, with their cookbooks, is what Martin did with Tennessee. It’s a cookbook, but it will live on as an essential historical document of American barbecue style.
The most interesting recipe: Whole cabbage in an open pit rubbed with vegetable oil and salt is as simple as barbecue recipes, as long as you have wood to char and soften this underused vegetable.
Cookbook Beach Pig BBQ: smoked, grilled, roasted and fried
by Matt Abdo and Shane McBride
What happens when top New York City chefs decide to enter Memphis in a barbecue competition in May? If the couple is Shane McBride and Matt Abdo, they are first in poultry farming and second in whole pigs, and they continue to open barbecue joints in New York (pig beach and the late Pig Bleecker), and write a cookbook about everything they’ve learned since leaving a fancy dinner.
The book is filled with innovative recipes, from barbecue entrees to desserts. For the grilling part, the recipes provide cooking directions by time and temperature rather than explaining much of the process, so some grilling experience is to be expected. Backyard smokers will likely find inspiration in a section devoted entirely to pork ribs, which includes Lebanese ribs with New York white sauce, pork char siu ribs, and Caribbean jerk ribs.
The most interesting recipe: Smoked duck lasagna was a stunning highlight on Pig Bleecker’s (RIP), and requires four more recipes to be completed before getting started.
burnt: The ultimate guide to grilling meat
by Genevieve Taylor
Taylor’s book is an introduction to American barbecue for a British audience who thinks of the word “barbecue” primarily as gathering around a grill. However, its innovative recipes are more than an introduction to the basics. The first section of the book explains how to grill and smoke properly and describes the best fire to choose for the right meat. Taylor offers direct grilling guidelines that can be applied to any thin cut of meat, and they’re into the science of smoking, too. It’s properly detailed when it comes to a recipe for a hot Texas, bean-free smoked chili (the British spell it with double to) is sure to be Texas certified.
Taylor’s approach to barbecue welcomes various culinary influences, but she’s also not afraid to be upfront about the process. She describes why deli meats straight from the fridge are best for grilling and locks in the popular notion of cooking “dirty” or caveman-style steaks directly over wood charcoal with a little science. She wrote, “Put a big cold cut of meat on a bed of hot glowing coals and what you do is turn off the oxygen and immediately you’ll put out that part of the fire.” I agree.
The most interesting recipe: Pulled pork pot labels, because it’s a fun way to make your leftovers even more interesting, whether you’re using pulled pork, ground beef, or smoked chicken.
The Lost Cookbook: Patagonia open flame cooking
by Germán Lucarelli
Chef Lucarelli is an Argentinian who has cooked on fire in kitchens around the world. He eventually settled in Kennebunkport, Maine, where he opened Lost Fire, which served Patagonian barbecue, in 2018. The book is as much a meditation on building and maintaining a wood fire as it is a cookbook. Lucarelli’s passion for charcoal cooking will leave you feeling guilty if you cook steaks with charcoal briquettes.
The many recipes for each steak are so similar that they become redundant, but the basic lessons are powerful. One of Lucarelli’s unique moves is that while he cooks the steaks, he brushes them with salmoera, a mixture of oil and vinegar seasoned with paprika, garlic, and herbs. Besides the various beef steaks, there are plenty of instructions for smoking and grilling other proteins such as chicken and lobster. Other recipes include Argentinean specialties like empanadas, chimichurri, and choripan sausage, and there are plenty of veggie-rich side dishes to counter all that meat.
The most interesting recipe: Salted smoked breast meat for one to seven days and smoked at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for the first three hours before the temperature rises to 210 degrees Fahrenheit for the remainder.
watermelon and red bird: A cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations
by Nicole A. Taylor
According to Taylor, “The First Betty’s Celebration Cookbook” isn’t a cookbook history documenting June festivities from long ago, but a book of current recipes for use in celebrating Beyonce this year and beyond. The food photography has a retro feel, but the design is modern and vibrant, which helps communicate its purpose.
JuneteenthHis identity crunch has historically been associated with the consumption of watermelon, red drinks, and barbecue, and this cookbook covers all of those and more. Taylor explains up front that the grilling section is geared toward those with charcoal grills rather than smokers, so the recipes may be more accessible to the amateur backyard chef. Her recipes for barbecue sauces made with figs, vinegar, rhubarb, brown sugar, peaches, and molasses will get things going on the grill, as will pickled blueberries, squash spears, and purple carrots on the side. You’ll also find a whole range of red drinks that you’ll forget all about Big Red.
The most interesting recipe: Smoked beef ribs rubbed with radish and seasoned with harissa.