Book Review: America's Best BBQ
America's Best BBQ
100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses and Restaurants
Ardie A. Davis, PhB and Chef Paul Kirk, CWC, PhB, BSAS
Andrews McMeel Publishing Released: May 1, 2009
Wow. This May is turning out to be a great month for barbecue cookbooks. I don't remember a summer where so many barbecue legends all released new books; Paul Kirk and Ardie Davis with America's Best BBQ, Chris Lilly with Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book and Adam Perry Lang with Serious Barbecue (review coming soon.)
America's Best BBQ is the latest offering in the ever expanding canon of The Baron of Barbecue aka Paul Kirk and Remus Powers aka Ardie Davis.
With so many barbecue cookbooks entering the market this summer, the Baron and ol' Remus took a different route by traveling the country and selecting their favorite BBQ places and focusing on what makes them unique. Instead of the standard BBQ recipes, oh they're there too, but in America's Best BBQ you'll find recipes for things like Volcanic Goat Cheese, Beer Battered Cod, BBQ Pig Salad, Red's Barbecued Coon and my favorite, BBQ Pig Snoots.
This book will take you from NYC's RUB to Chicago's Lem's Bar-B-Q House, to Elgin Texas' Southside Market to Tukwila Washington's Gordon's on the Green and everywhere in between. This is a very enjoyable book filled with the legends, quips and back stories that only two old hands of the BBQ world could tell. Between the two of them, The Baron and Remus have over 100 years of barbeque experience combined.
While I enjoy the narrative of this book, sometimes the recipes leave me scratching my head. Sometimes the recipes are detailed and complete allowing the home cook to recreate the legend's food, other times not so much.
Take this recipe for Smoked Catfish that is attributed to Stevenson Bar-B-Que in Paul's Valley OK; 6 Head-on whole catfish, 1/2 cup canola oil, 2 cups dry barbecue rub. They then explain the technique for smoking the fish. While it is great information on smoking catfish, I would have preferred a recipe that included the make up of that rub so that I could attempt to recreate Stevensons' Smoked Catfish.
I recommend this book with some reservations. The narrative is easily worth the price, but if you're looking for barbecue recipes, you may want to keep on looking.