If you wanted to provoke a second civil war in America, you could propose amending the Constitution to require a single best way to barbecue. As it is, hotly defended differences among styles of barbecue not only are regional but also subdivide into microgeographies as small as an urban backyard. Browne and Bettridge have scoured the country for the "best" barbecue, but no one seems quite able to agree on a single standard against which the thousands of variants may be measured. Add to that the diversity of basic meats that may be barbecued (beef, pork, poultry, lamb, and even salmon), and you increase the catalog exponentially. The authors have carefully documented the basic types of barbecue, and their recipes will only multiply the summertime fragrances wafting from America's grills. Although some of the authors' favorite barbecue items, such as mutton, may be hard to find, most of the book's ingredients are readily available in any large supermarket. Mark Knoblauch
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