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Barbecue / BBQ / Bar-B-Q books


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Well, after three years of careful research, planning and preparation (errr ... procrastination) I am finally going to build my new barbecue tomorrow. Unless some major mental relapse takes place, this will be a brick BBQ with two-level grill trays, an enclosed "oven" below the charcoal tray, and a smoke hood.

My past experience of BBQing has been limited to throwing unprepared lamb chops, sausages and home-made burgers onto the grill tray, and removing them when some instinct suggested they were properly cooked. I now would like to be more adventurous with marinaded chicken, steak, kebabs, fish, vegetables and whatever else proper cooks do. I'd also like to experiment with wood briquettes of different kinds.

Who knows a really good BBQ cookbook, suitable for a novice ?

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What Steve said about Schlesinger/Willoughby. Their other 2 books, "License to Grill" and "Let the Flames Begin," are also good.

If you want to try your hand at low-and-slow, the Jamisons' "Smoke & Spice" is a classic.

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Well, after three years of careful research, planning and preparation (errr ... procrastination) I am finally going to build my new barbecue tomorrow. Unless some major mental relapse takes place, this will be a brick BBQ with two-level grill trays, an enclosed "oven" below the charcoal tray, and a smoke hood.

Um, at the risk of being one of those obnoxious Southerners, I have to ask: Are you building a barbecue pit, or a grill? If you want to make barbecue, get Bob Garner's "North Carolina Barbecue, Flavored by Time," or Robb Walsh's "Legends of Texas Barbecue," or the late Jeanne Voltz' "Smoked Butts, Barbecue Ribs and Other Great Feeds." All of them have good, clear directions and advice

For grilling, I'd second all the other books mentioned, especially the Cook's Illustrated one. (I can vouch for their method for grilled duck breast.)

Sorry to get picky. Here in the South, our palms get sweaty when people use "barbecue" and "grill " interchangeably. I'm envious, actually -- I've always wanted an outdoor oven.

  • Like 1

Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

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...or Robb Walsh's "Legends of Texas Barbecue"

I'd agree with that. Many wonderful recipes and good advice, as well as interesting stories. Robb Walsh is, according to the book jacket, "a two-time winner of the James Beard award."

The book is a treasure.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Thanks everyone. Just to clarify terminology for my Southern adviser :smile: this will be a BBQ with a grill-tray (chromium rods) above a tray containing charcoal. What exactly is the definition of a "pit", which conjures up images of a huge hole in the ground with a whole ox being turned on the spit above by a team of servants :laugh:

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this will be a BBQ with a grill-tray (chromium rods) above a tray containing charcoal. What exactly is the definition of a "pit", which conjures up images of a huge hole in the ground with a whole ox being turned on the spit above by a team of servants

You know, that's an interesting question. I've been involved in plenty of debates on the difference between grilling and barbecue (standard rule here in North Carolina is that barbecue is a noun, not a verb -- "if it's hot dogs and Matchlight, it ain't 'cue"). But the difference between a barbecue pit and a grill isn't one I've heard tossed around.

I suppose a grill could be anything made of metal and designed to hold coals. A pit was originally a hole in the ground filled with coals burned down from hardwood. But when people started building those big brick edifices in their backyards, it started to be common to refer to them as pits. Down here, when restaurants advertise "real pit barbecue," it usually means they are cooking over large brick constructions. (I've always thought they bear an odd resemblance to the old-fashioned baptismal founts you used to see in the backwoods. I don't even want to go where that line of thought might take me.) Anyone who's stopped at Lexington No. 1 and wandered back to the smokehouse has seen that kind of pit.

I think we started using the term "barbecue pit" to make sure we're not talking to somebody who uses "barbecue" to mean a hibachi and a burger.

I'm going to the Southern Foodways Symposium in October, where the topic this year is barbecue. I could throw out the question of what constitutes a pit and report back.

And for the moment, I'm just counting myself grateful -- when I threw that reply out yesterday, I figured somebody would have a musket to my head this morning.

:smile:

Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

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And for the moment, I'm just counting myself grateful -- when I threw that reply out yesterday, I figured somebody would have a musket to my head this morning.

:smile:

But you were so polite about it! No muttering about damn ignorant Yankees, no threats to string the offenders up and gut 'em with a hog knife... :biggrin:

Is that the John Edge thingy you're going to in October?

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Yes, Cathy L., that's the Southern Foodways Symposium. "The Oxford food symposium" has a whole different meaning in the South.

And I never say the "Y" word. I just call them "the regionally challenged."

Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

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For absolute beginners, I like "How to Grill" by Steven Raichlen. The book helped me navigate my new grill, and now I feel reasonably comfortable around it. The recipes are very simple and the book is more focused on techniques rather than just recipes.

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Also try the Complete Meat Cookbook Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly. It has some great recipes and lots of info on technique for grilling meats.

I almost forgot--Weber (as in the grill company) has a grilling cookbook that is very good as well.

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the Dinosaur Bar-B-Q book - best local stuff going.

I'd second that, I don't see this one mentioned too much.

I picked it up at the library a while back and was very pleased with many of the recipes.

All of the Schlesinger/Willoughby books are helpful for technique.

...I thought I had an appetite for destruction but all I wanted was a club sandwich.

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I third that!

Definitely pick up the Dinosaur Bar-B-Q book.

It's got some great ideas and some real good info on BBQing. Started out as a small bar owned by bikers in Syracuse. They have won awards in a few southern competitions for their BBQ.

Also bottle and sell some of the best BBQ sauce that I have ever tasted. Must try it. Super fresh tasting. I buy it by the case!

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the Dinosaur Bar-B-Q book - best local stuff going.

I'd second that, I don't see this one mentioned too much.

I picked it up at the library a while back and was very pleased with many of the recipes.

All of the Schlesinger/Willoughby books are helpful for technique.

Dinosaur started in Syracuse and opened in Rochester - They do 7 mil annually (includes outside catering) Those are some heavy-duty numbers.

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Well, after three years of careful research, planning and preparation (errr ... procrastination) I am finally going to build my new barbecue tomorrow. Unless some major mental relapse takes place, this will be a brick BBQ with two-level grill trays, an enclosed "oven" below the charcoal tray, and a smoke hood........

Macrosan,

I have not yet done any planning except some crude scetches and measurements, as I found some real old bricks, now cleaned up, plus I have a few griddle, grill and other grates from a demolished JennAir Range I want to use and also build my own. Any hints or specs or plans as to how, what kind of chimney and in which area of the back yard to place that thing would be of great help. Please be so kind. You can email me if you so wish and are willing to do so.Thank you.

Peter
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Peter, mine isn't that grand ! I couldn't find any commercial size grill trays, so I've bought the biggest "kit" I could find on the retail market (30" wide). I have built the BBQ against the main chimney breast of the house, and I'm trying now to find a commercial hood/extractor made in stainless steel to fix above the BBQ, venting the smoke into the chimney stack.

Apart from that, it's a simple U-shaped brick structure. Nothing special.

Thanks to everyone for all your suggestions for books. I'm getting two of them, and I have a lot of reading to do :smile: I will report back in a month or so on how I found the books.

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  • 4 years later...

Hi everyone!

Well I have had a LONG look through amazon, and there seem to be lots of recommended and not-recommended books on barbecuing....

I understand that many pit masters and champions keep secrets to themselves, but I assume there must still be some good books out there on the subject.

I am looking for a highly recommended book listing barbecuing procedures and great recipes (the recipes are primarily the focal point). I am mainly interested in:

* Brisket

* Pulled Pork

* Ribs

* Baked Beans

I also understand there are numerous styles of barbecue (sweet, tomatoey, mustardey, vinegarey, ketchupey), but I like them all, so it doesn't matter which style the book is based on or if it covers multiple styles.

I already have the following books:

How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques by Steven Raichlen (Good)

Barbecue! Bible : by Steven Raichlen (Good)

Dr. BBQ's Barbecue All Year Long! Cookbook - by Ray Lampe aka Dr. BBQ (Not very good).

Thanks!

Edited by infernooo (log)
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Two good references are Smoke and Spice by Cheryl & Bill Jamison and Barbecue Secrets by Ron Shewchuk.

Realize that the recipes for real Q are pretty simple on the order of "Brisket - rub with spice mixture, place in smoker, pull when done. It can be that simple; in fact I've got a couple of BBQ books that are written pretty much like that.

Good Q in many cases comes down to expierence and practice.

Best of luck!

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I love The Barbecue Bible, and BBQ USA, both by Steven Raichlen. Both have many great recipes, thoroughly explained techniques, origins, and stories. The latter might be more on target for you, but both are great.

Edit to add: The Barbecue Bible focuses on ingrendients, and styles he discovers throughout the world, along with side dishes, and drinks. BBQ USA has a similar layout, but it focuses, in great detail, on American barbecue, in it's many incarnations.

Edited by Lilija (log)
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Thanks!

Lilija: I forgot to mention in my original post, I've got the following books already:

How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques by Steven Raichlen (Good)

Barbecue! Bible : by Steven Raichlen (Good)

Dr. BBQ's Barbecue All Year Long! Cookbook - by Ray Lampe aka Dr. BBQ (Not very good).

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