Friday, July 3, 2020

Not quite a beach read...

If Lin-Manuel Miranda can come up with a hit show like "Hamilton" by reading a biography, I figure a musical based on the world of bbq-ing and smoking meat could be an even bigger hit...right?  Playing to an audience of one, worldwide...

In any event, as we enter grilling and barbecuing season, like every year, there is a proliferation of equipment, books and other items that tend to capture the imagination of the grill master; I thought we would talk a little bit about my favorite springtime pastime, reading bbq cookbooks…and maybe, just maybe, I'll come up with a hit musical...


Any fan of BBQ Pitmasters on the Destination America Channel is familiar with Myron Mixon, allegedly the most winningest man in bbq.  He has gone into “teacher mode” with his newest book “BBQ & A”, where he answers some very basic questions about how to start smoking meat and shares some of his Georgia wisdom.  Myron is a character, but he’s won the most money on the BBQ competition circuit and he has a lot of knowledge-that comes through in his book. 


Not a brand new book this summer, but new to me, is a photo-essay book by renowned photographer Wyatt McSpadden.  Wyatt is the go-to photographer for a lot of bbq books, and he’s published his own coffee-table style book showcasing a variety of different bbq joints…from high-end, to low-end, or as the subtitle says “From small town to down town”.  If you want to get a taste of what the environment at a Texas bbq joint looks like, this will take you there.

Michael Symon of the Cooking Channel’s “Burgers, Brew and Que”, and a James Beard Award winning chef has a book from last summer, “Playing With Fire”…if there was ever a book that encourages you to play with meat, this is it.  With beautiful pictures and simple, yet delicious recipes, this is a must-have book on any cookbook collector’s shelf. 


Another book I mentioned a couple of years ago, and still has me going back to try new recipes, is Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling, by Craig “Meathead Goldwyn”. Meathead has been running a phenomenal bbq-ing website,, for years, and this book is part review, part science, part recipe, and all-out fun.  I strongly recommend Meathead’s website and book for anyone interested in smoking and grilling, and learning what equipment is important (instant read thermometer) and what is not (a grill brush-we can talk about that at another time.)  Amazing employs several people with PhDs…and the website, and this book is for meat and science lovers.


Steven Raichlen is at it again.  Steven is the host of Project Smoke, broadcast nationally on PBS and has written New York Times bestselling books on barbecuing and grilling, including “How to Grill” and “Planet Barbecue” and now smoking.  He has won multiple James Beard awards, and joined us on WBZ, Newsradio 1030 back in 2016 to discuss the release of his companion book.  Now he’s back with “The Brisket Chronicles”, a beautifully written and illustrated book with great pictures and easy to follow recipes.  This is not just for smoking, but with new recipes for braising the holiday roast, as well as a recipe to make your pastrami…I’ve purchased the ingredients and ready to buy myself some rye bread and brown mustard…I have spent a lot of time deep in this book…but the cover alone sets you up with a mouthwatering picture of a perfectly smoked brisket  You can’t go wrong with this book, whether novice or an advanced smoker, or just a chef in a kitchen.


Lastly, Andy Husbands and Will Salazar, owner/chefs at The Smoke Shop with multiple locations in and around Boston published a new book this Spring: The Smoke Shop's Backyard BBQ:Eat, Drink, and Party Like a Pitmaster.  The pictures are spectacular, and the book is broken down into recipes for a backyard bbq, a cocktail party, a fancy dinner, and more, all incorporating smoked meats into the menu.  This book continues to solidify Andy as a leading chef and cookbook author here in the Boston area.

Next up "Brisket, the Musical!"


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