"North Carolina is home to the longest continuous barbecue tradition on the North American mainland."
Whoa. Really? Them's some pretty strong words. Some folks might say them's fightin' words. Some folks in Texas, Tennessee, Missouri and not to mention South Carolina may not take kindly to them words, but John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and William McKinney seem to prove the point in the superb book Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue.
This is a great read. I received this book on Friday and spent the weekend reading it. It's one of the few barbecue books that I couldn't put down. I really enjoyed some of the humorous side notes on the pages.
In the tradition of Peace, Love and Barbecue by Mike Mills and his daughter Amy Mills Tunnicliffe and Legends of Texas Barbecue by Robb Walsh, Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue is part cook book, part history book and part depository of cultural folk lore of the smoke.
It's all here. The authors trace the origins of North Carolina Q and get into the heated rivalry between Eastern and Piedmont styles. They provide detailed recipes and instructions for cooking barbecue at home. To this NYC boy, "traditional array of side dishes that should accompany the bbq" seem strange and exotic but definitely worth trying out.
In the last part of the book we get to meet some of the people who cook barbecue for a living, and hear about the past and future of North Carolina barbecue.
The whole story is fascinating to me. Living in New York, I'm so used to hearing about how our foods came from the immigrants as each group passed through the city, it's great to read about the emergence of a truly native food style. If you want to read an excerpt of the book, click here.
This book belongs in the collection of anyone seriously into the Q. This book is going to a few BBQ friends of mine this Christmas. Buy it. I can't put it any simpler than that.