You know a book’s going to be good when they take time to talk about proper liquid accompaniment to a ‘cue meal and on that page there is mention of sweet tea, Cheerwine and Lone Star Beer. There are no double IPAs here, no barrel-aged anythings and for barbecue—barbecue is so good you wonder if this is what sex should be like—that is exactly as it should be.
For their new book, Southern Living’s Ultimate book of BBQ: The Complete Year-Round Guide to Grilling & Smoking, the magazine tapped Raleigh, North Carolina’s champion pitmaster, Christopher Prieto (of Prime Barbecue) to put together everything you need to know to grill, smoke, and make everyone on the block salivate at any time of the year.
After a brief history of concerning how grilling meat is nothing new, but how we as Americans took it and did what we do best, make it better, Southern Living jumps into what will matter most to aspiring barbecuers out there: what cuts to use and what you need to do the cooking.
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From there, SL and Prieto give readers the juiciest of the juicy—recipes for beef, pork, fish, and poultry for any time of the year. With recipes like “Coffee-Rubbed Skirt Steak,” “Chicken Enchilada Casserole,” “Grilled Oysters with Horseradish-Garlic Panko Topping,” and classics like pork butt and baby back ribs, there is a taste for even the pickiest eaters.
The gods among men and women that put together this book, though, aren’t done there. They then give you a slew (a slaw, perhaps?) of rubs, sauces, and sides, covering each of the different American barbecue regions. The addition of soups and other indoor dishes ensures that you can get your smoke on at any time of the year.
The recipes are no-frills and easy to follow. Take a little time to read the first few sections on technique and method, and even if you’ve never injected a pork butt with flavor and smoked it before, you’ll have little need to worry about the final product.
I’d be remiss in not mentioning, too, that the accompanying photographs are the Sport’s Illustrated swimsuit edition of food porn.
For an example of just how easy and delicious the recipes are in this book, check out their recipe for “North Cackalacky Barbecue Sauce:”
Yields about 1 2/3 Cups, Total Time: 30 minutes
- 2 c apple cider vinegar
- ¼ c ketchup
- 2 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp hot sauce
- 1 ½ tsp dried crushed red pepper
- ½ tsp coarse black pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground red pepper
- 2 tsp table salt
- 1 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- ½ c apple juice
Method: Stir together all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduce to 1 2/3 cups, about 25 minutes.
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