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Top 10 Books on Barbecue

The Best Books on Smoking and Real Barbecue

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These books are the best you can buy and give you recipes, examples and enough instruction to get the beginner going and to make the master better. These books give you the knowledge and skills you need to make real barbecue on a real smoker whether it is gas, charcoal, electric or anything else. These books also explore the world of real barbecue through Q joints and competitions.

1. Smoke: New Firewood Cooking

Smoke: New Hardwood Cooking
Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.
Strictly speaking this is not specifically a barbecue book. Barbecue, traditional Southern Barbecue, is a big part of it, but there is so much more. Tim Byres takes everything, barbecue, grilling, camp cooking, back to the beginning. Back to the fire. Tim was once a top level chef working in restaurants that topped dishes with shards of vegetables and sprigs of herbs on small portions on artistic plates. He turned away from that to go back to the simplest methods of cooking and in that exploration found an art form of cooking that has run continuously through human civilization. This is an amazing book that inspires and teaches. Of the hundreds of cookbooks on my shelf, this is the only one I have read cover to cover twice. Anyone serious about barbecue, about food, must have this book.
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2. The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey through Texas Barbecue

The Prophets of Smoked Meat
Harper Collins
When Daniel Vaughn moved to Texas he didn't just embrace its barbecue traditions. He devoured them. As blogger and barbecue writer for Texas Monthly, Daniel has compiled the only road map of Texas worth owning, the list of the best barbecue joints Texas has to offer. Note, this is not a cookbook, but a travelogue of the back roads or barbecue. This book won't teach anyone how to make great barbecue, but it will certainly make them hungry for it.
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3. Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint

Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint
Clarkson Potter

If you were to make a list of the most important, influential, and best barbecue joints in America, somewhere towards the top of that list would be Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur, AL. For 85 years this restaurant has served up some of the best barbecue in the country. Famous for barbecue chicken served in a white barbecue sauce, aficionados continue to flock here to take their bite of history. These days Big Bob's Gibson's is in the hands of Chris Lilly who married into the family and worked his way from the bottom to the top of the barbecue world. This book, part cookbook, part history is the legacy of the Gibson dream.

4. Peace, Love, & Barbecue : Recipes, Secrets, Tall Tales, and Outright Lies

Peace, Love and Barbecue
St Martins Press

Mike Mills is a legend in barbecue. He is the only man to win Grand Master and the Memphis in May barbecue competition. This book is as much a biography of this, as told by himself and hit daughter, as it is a cookbook. The recipes are great, but the story telling is better. This book will give you the recipes that won the Memphis in May competition and launched seven restaurants from New York to Las Vegas.

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5. Slow Fire: The Beginner's Guide to Lip-Smacking Barbecue

Slow Fire: The Beginner's Guide to Lip-Smacking Barbecue
Chronicle Books
Twenty years ago Ray Lampe, aka Dr. BBQ, entered a small barbecue competition just to see if he was any good. Turns out he was, and still is. From award winning to competitor to award willing author, Ray has become a mainstay in the barbecue world and one of the most well known, and well liked. Taking his years of experience, Ray has written half a dozen books, starting with the modern classic, "Dr BBQ's Big-Time Barbecue Cookbook". For 2012 Ray has come out with Slow Fire: The Beginner's Guide to Lip-Smacking Barbecue. I got a chance to thumb through a proof of this book a few months back, and I have to say that this is one classy cookbook. Not only is it produced very well, but the content is straightforward and simply enough for any novice of barbecue, yet thorough enough to give you great barbecue with little experience. Whether you are new to barbecue or not, this is a great book.
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6. Smoke & Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue

Smoke & Spice
Harvard Common Pr

This is The Book. When the Jamison's put this book together they created the real Bible of Barbecue, the one book most even modern barbecue cook starts with (and keeps going with). This is a great cookbook that puts barbecue in the hands of real people with hundreds of fantastic recipes for pretty much everything you can put in a smoker. If you want to learn to cook barbecue, this is the book to start with.

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7. Smokin' in the Boys' Room

Smokin' in the Boys' Room
Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC.
Melissa Cookston is the barbecue competition circuit's winningest women and in this new book she reveals her secrets. To say that Melissa is the winningest women is rather sexist. The truth is that she is one of the greatest champions of competitive barbecue in recent years. True, this is a very male dominated area, but her gender has nothing to do with winning or how good she is. I had the chance once to watch Melissa work and I have seen few people who possess the focus and determination that she puts into every food item she loads into a turn in box. This book reveals many of her secrets for competition barbecue and then draws back to her Mississippi Delta upbringing for traditional Southern recipes.
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8. The Great Barbecue Companion: Mops, Sops, Sauces, and Rubs

The Great Barbecue Companion by Bruce Bjorkman
Ten Speed Press

Bruce Bjorkman also known as Mr. Barbecue takes his years of experience and puts together the Bible of barbecue sauces. Bjorkman knows that a barbecue sauce isn't something that comes from a bottle and isn't something slathered all over everything. Real barbecue sauces are used over hours from start to finish in any real barbecue experience. This book gives you not only tons of great recipes but the understanding and skills you need to venture out on your own.

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9. She-Smoke: A Backyard Barbecue Book

She-Smoke Virtual BBQ Contest
Seal Press

Julie Reinhardt is first of all a woman, a woman who is co-owner of Pete's BBQ, a barbecue joint up in Seattle. Julie is also a reflection of the modern world of Barbecue. A Northwestern girl who spent her summers in Alabama, Julie not only shows that barbecue is as much a woman's world as a man's, but the journey of barbecue from its Southern roots to the worldwide phenomena it is today. But don't be worried, this is not some revisionist, feminist cookbook. It is in fact a very traditional backyard barbecue cook (with some grilling thrown in for good measure).

10. John Willingham's World Champion Bar-B-Q: Over 150 Recipes And Tall Tales

John Willingham's World Champion Bar-B-Q
Harpercollins

John Willingham takes his years of experience on the competition circuit and puts it all into this book. What you find here is 150 good recipes, the tips that make them better and the stories that make them great. Willingham is a legend of barbecue just like this book. Willingham encourages authenticity from making your own smoker to making sauces from scratch, and I mean scratch.

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