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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent book and attractive book
I own quite a few BBQ books. That's because I'm what's referred to as a "Pellet Head". I've been trying to learn BBQ techniques for a couple of years. That is what attracted me to this book.

This book is a bit unique for a BBQ book. It's so pretty that it's almost a coffee table book. That surprised me, since most BBQ books are no nonsense, functional...
Published on September 17, 2009 by K. Rule

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BBQ Review
Interesting vignettes. The recipes were of limited value. I had no interest in smoking an entire pig, etc. I did try a few smoked rib recipes which were excellent and I can hands down recommend the banana pudding no questions asked!
Published on July 31, 2009 by Paul Sacks


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent book and attractive book, September 17, 2009
By 
K. Rule (Beaverton, OR USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: America's Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants (Paperback)
I own quite a few BBQ books. That's because I'm what's referred to as a "Pellet Head". I've been trying to learn BBQ techniques for a couple of years. That is what attracted me to this book.

This book is a bit unique for a BBQ book. It's so pretty that it's almost a coffee table book. That surprised me, since most BBQ books are no nonsense, functional endeavors.

"America's Best BBQ" offers up "selected" recipes from famous, semi-famous and even some obscure BBQ restaurants. But don't expect your favorite BBQ joint to give up their signature dishes. However, the recipes that are included are interesting. And since there are many restaurants in here, the whole adds up to a lot of decent looking recipes.

Frankly I was a little disappointed at first. I had hoped to find some "signature" dish recipes. But once I got over that, it was clear that the book covers a lot of ground and offered up some pretty unique perspectives and interesting ideas.

Pros:
* It's really pretty
* There are a lot of varied and even surprising ideas
* It gives me ideas of new place to try when I travel.

Cons:
* Don't expect your favorite restaurant to give up their signature dishes.
* Some of the recipes are vague and assume you know a lot about BBQ.

All in all, a good, interesting book for anyone wanting to BBQ or looking for a new BBQ joint to try out.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for barbecue fans, April 29, 2009
This review is from: America's Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants (Paperback)
It's not often that I find a cookbook that is actually fun to read. They are usually very utilitarian, with little literary meat on the bones. This is clearly not the case with America's Best BBQ. I don't know what I enjoyed more, the authentic and varied recipes, or the barbecue stories and lore that they are steeped in.

While the book is historical, it also has an incredible variety of recipes. It includes everything from starters like Volcanic Goat Cheese, Rocky Mountain Oysters, and Fried Cheese Stick Grits, to Burgoo, to mutton ribs, and all the barbecue standards in between. The range of recipes is excellent. Even better, most of the recipes are from the originators themselves.

I found the following statement from the introduction very interesting.

"Each joint in this book is, in our view, one of the best in America. They are all on the same playing field, with varying strengths and weaknesses. That aside, we have each named our Top Ten joints in the back of the book."

Barbecue is very competitive and often chock full of ego, as is the restaurant industry generally. It's very refreshing to see the authors give their honest opinions about what they feel are the best.

If you love barbecue, its history, and great recipes, I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Form and Function Mix Well Here, June 12, 2009
By 
Spudman (Pasadena, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: America's Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants (Paperback)
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To call this book a cookbook would be like equating Ted Williams with all other baseball players. America's Best BBQ contains recipes collected by the authors in their travels and networking. The book itself is more like a piece of Americana, a glimpse of a subculture that most of us only know superficially.
Davis and Kirk not only share some incredible recipes, but also introduce us to fascinating people and interesting places the reader might want to visit in his or her travels.
I really like the design and look of the book. It takes on its own ambience as one of the barbecue joints within might. There's plenty here to whet the reader's appetite and sate his curiosity. Open to any page and find classic neon, well-worn signs, incredibly vivid food photographs, simulated spots of BBQ sauce, brown paper, and more pig icons than you've ever seen in one place.
Like barbecue cooking, this book is meant to be enjoyed slowly so that one can taste all of the flavors proferred by the authors.

At the end of the book is a lengthy discourse detailing the pros and cons of gas vs. charcoal grilling with a tableful of tips for both schools of cooking. This section is so informative that I read it twice.

America's Best BBQ is obviously a work of love by the authors, a down home friendly book. I don't have interest in trying rattlesnake meat or bull testicles, but within the covers there's probably something of interest for most readers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BBQ Review, July 31, 2009
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This review is from: America's Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants (Paperback)
Interesting vignettes. The recipes were of limited value. I had no interest in smoking an entire pig, etc. I did try a few smoked rib recipes which were excellent and I can hands down recommend the banana pudding no questions asked!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but of limited use, July 16, 2009
By 
chefdevergue (Spokane, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: America's Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants (Paperback)
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When I ordered this, I knew that it wasn't going to be the traditional cookbook, and that proved to be the case. I regard it more of an homage to the BBQ culture, with some useful recipes thrown in. It wouldn't be fair to say that I had low expectations, so much as I expected to see the limitations of this format. It is OK as far as it goes.

Echoing some other reviewers, I also found the recipes a bit heavy on the pork. Other recipes seemed a tad bizarre (unless that raccoon is certified 'Grade A,' I'm not touching it), while others seem more interested in hawking a product than promoting good cooking. The recipes I found most useful tended to be the accompanying dishes and desserts rather than the BBQ itself. I will return to this book for a moderate number of recipes, but if I had to pay money for this, I'm not sure that I would.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Scrapbook of Barbecue Culture, September 3, 2009
This review is from: America's Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants (Paperback)
My family loves barbecue. We've taken road trips and lengthy detours to try new BBQ restaurants and visit old favorites. We've visited a few of the places in this book, and our all-time favorite--Ridgewood Barbecue in Bluff City, TN--is included. But this book is more than just a guide for travelers looking for good BBQ: it's a scrapbook of barbecue culture, with photos and history notes. It also includes 100 recipes--some original "top secret" and some "copycat" versions--for the specialties of each restaurant. Each pair of facing pages includes details about a restaurant, photos, and a recipe or two.

The book is divided into sections as a menu is: Starters, Main Dishes, Sides and Condiments, and Desserts. The Starters chapter includes recipes for traditional and regional favorites such as onion rings, Brunswick stew, burgoo, and Rocky Mountain oysters. Main Dishes, of course, is all about the 'cue: ribs, pulled pork, barbecued pig snout, and more. The Sides and Condiments section is not only cole slaw--white, pink, red, you name it--but also baked beans, cornbread, hushpuppies, and potatoes. Dessert recipes include Lexington banana pudding, bread pudding, apple crisp, and fried peach pies.

I highly recommend this book!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointing -- won't have a spot on my cookbook shelf, June 17, 2009
By 
Carol C. "ccjello" (Kansas City, MO USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: America's Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm from Kansas City and a barbeque fan, so I was really looking forward to enjoying this book. Sadly, I have to say that I found it somewhat disappointing. It has lots of photographs, is visually appealing, has some entertainment value, and it might be an interesting read for a die-hard barbeque fan, but I found it of limited use as a cookbook and not even close to an in-depth or behind the scenes look at most BBQ joints.

The authors, who clearly know their BBQ, feature 100 of the best BBQ joints in the US. For each BBQ joint, there is a representative "recipe." But don't be lured into thinking that anyone in the uber-competitive BBQ world is going to give away their trade secrets. The recipes are for things like Luling City Market Real Texas Bar-B-Que's "Hot Pickles," which consist of sliced hamburger dills, sugar, and Tabasco. Country's Barbecue in Columbus, GA shares its recipe for "Vidalia Onion Dip" -- onions, mayo, Parmesan cheese & grated Swiss. Smitty's Market in Lockhart Texas shares its secret recipe for "Barbecued Beef Shoulder Clod" -- season the beef shoulder with salt and black pepper and cook until tender. Yep, that's all you learn. Head Country Barbecue in Ponca City, OK instructs us in how to make its "Beef Brisket" -- take brisket, add Head Country All-Purpose Championship Seasoning, Head County Premium Marinade, and Head Country Barbecue Sauce. And so it goes. I don't think you'll find any BBQ secrets or great recipes in here. You will find recipes for apple pie and ice cream and bananas foster -- but you can find those in a whole lot of other cookebooks, too.

The real meat of the book is in the one to two pages the authors devote to each of the 100 featured BBQ joints. They're interesting, but not particularly insightful. Most talk about when the restaurant was founded, its owners, how they got into BBQ, what they serve, etc. It's almost like reading advertising copy for each of the featured restaurants. "North Main BBQ serves an all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner buffet that includes it's award winning ribs, choppped and sliced beef brisket, chicken breasts and quarters . . . etc. The meats are slow-cooked with hickory smoke for 4 to 12 hours. If you want any drink other than iced tea, you'll have to BYOB." Not exactly compelling reading. The writing style is fairly conversational, e.g., We like the lamb ribs because "there's no gamy flavor. Be sure to try them on your next visit. The nice thing about lamb ribs is that they can be barbecued or grilled." Okay.

Overall, this collection is interesting but I'd rather spend my money on the barbecue itself than on the book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent intermediate to advanced book on 'cue, May 29, 2009
By 
Bass Cadet (Carmen Sandiego's backyard) - See all my reviews
This review is from: America's Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Real barbecue is transcendental. It's taking inexpensive cuts of meat and turning them into some of the best tasting food around. In other types of cooking, the quality of the ingredients makes a huge difference in the final product. For barbecue, however, it's more the technique: cooking and seasoning.

In this book, Davis and Kirk write about real American barbecue. They provide thorough coverage. There are recipes for seemingly every type of American barbecue: mutton, rattlesnake, raccoon, pig snouts, and the oft referenced Rocky Mountain Oysters (bull testicles). I may never try those recipes but it's important they include them. The reason for this is: this book is like a graduate level (Greasehouse University?) text, going well beyond the usual "barbecue" books.

Most other barbecue books start with grilling basics and then present loads of recipes, maybe separating the different meats into separate chapters. Not this book. It starts with an explanation of how this book evolved and what their criteria are for judging. Then it has chapters on appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and then finishes with a section on barbecue basics and miscellaneous information (including a helpful page about starting a barbecue business). The recipes sometimes call for specific rubs or sauces, but they do include some recipes for those and others could be improvised somewhat. The authors even mention that your results won't be exactly the same but still fantastic. I should also mention that the recipes themselves are not overly complex, many only requiring a few ingredients.

This probably isn't the right book for the complete novice. It doesn't really go into enough detail on the basics and there aren't any hamburger/grilling recipes. But for those beyond the basics, it's easy and fun to read. It's almost like taking a road trip with a couple of college buddies. They take 'cue seriously but aren't serious. Well worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good touring book, September 15, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Well this book is more of a travel guide to restaurants than a real cookbook LOL The real funny part that cracks me up is it only shows ONE BBQ place in Florida? and it is one I never heard of? It is basically just a long story about places they have visited with mostly generic recipes thrown in. For the discount price it is worth the read and could be handy on a road trip ? Good for the coffee table read to get your appetite up for sure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love that 'cue!, July 16, 2009
This review is from: America's Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm always on the lookout for a good cookbook, and I'm nuts about barbecue, so this book was a no-brainer for me. It has plenty of color photos and funny stories about barbecuing. Over 100 recipes include appetizers, side dishes, entrees, sauces and even desserts. The recipes are easy to follow, and the ones I've tried have been delicious. I recommend it!
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