John Shelton Reed’s Barbecue celebrates a southern culinary tradition forged in coals and smoke. Since colonial times southerners have held barbecues to mark homecomings, reunions, and political campaigns; today barbecue signifies celebration as much as ever. In a lively and amusing style, Reed traces the history of southern barbecue from its roots in the sixteenth-century Caribbean, showing how this technique of cooking meat established itself in the coastal South and spread inland from there. He discusses how choices of meat, sauce, and cooking methods came to vary from one place to another, reflecting local environments, farming practices, and history.
Reed hopes to preserve the South’s barbecue traditions by providing the home cook with fifty-one recipes for many classic varieties of barbecue and for the side dishes, breads, and desserts that usually go with it. Featured meats range from Pan-Southern Pork Shoulder to Barbecued Chicken Two Ways to West Texas Beef Ribs, while rubs and sauces include Memphis Pork Rub, Piedmont Dip, and Lone Star Sauce and Mop. Cornbread, hushpuppies, and slaw are featured side dishes, and Dori’s Peach Cobbler and Pig-Pickin’ Cake provide a sweet finish. This book will put southerners in touch with their heritage and let those who aren’t southerners pretend that they are.
“John Shelton Reed has distilled in this little cookbook the essence of his barbecue knowledge. If you want to cook the barbecue canon, you’ll find in it excellent recipes for all barbecue’s greatest hits. If you want to learn about this great American food, this book offers enough facts, history, lore–and laughs–to satisfy your soul.” –Lolis Eric Elie, author of Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country
“John Shelton Reed does a bang-up job of explaining Southern barbecue’s provenance and essence. Offering a wealth of information and advice, Barbecue will serve as a nifty pocket guide and introduction to the subject–the perfect gift for any barbecue enthusiast. The man’s got voice; he’s witty and incisive and such a pleasure to read.” --Jim Auchmutey, co-author of The Ultimate Barbecue Sauce Cookbook
“Barbecue is splendid. So entertaining, it made me laugh out loud. A well-known barbecue expert, John Shelton Reed speaks from real knowledge, with real thoughtfulness. His concise and clear recipes offer practical approaches for the home cook, and the section on rubs, mops, and sauces is an absolute encyclopedia. Reed shows that barbecue habits are more of a cultural indicator than you might think.” –Bill Smith, author of Crabs and Oysters: A Savor the South Cookbook