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Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen Hardcover – May 1, 2013

127 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, May 2013: Among the most inventive restaurateurs fueling the Southern food renaissance is Edward Lee--Top Chef competitor, multiple James Beard Award nominee, and proprietor of 610 Magnolia. Born in Brooklyn, where he grew up on his grandmother’s Korean cooking, he opened his first restaurant in New York but instinctually claimed his true culinary vernacular when he landed in Louisville, Kentucky. Mixing stories of turning points in his food life with lick-the-page photos—the best of them 2-page spreads of full-on feasts of down-home sophistication, shot from above—and 130 recipes that beg to be tried, Smoke & Pickles illuminates Lee’s flair for marrying Korean and Southern ingredients and techniques, which have so much natural overlap--starting with barbecue as the backbone, and pickles (of all varieties) to cut the smoke’s intensity. Lee’s food and stories reflect an intense sense of place, a love of his region’s fecundity that encompasses not just the farm, but also the hunt and the mindful abattoir. His recipes “belong here, in this unique place and time, nowhere else but now,” and all our tables will be richer for discovering them. --Mari Malcolm


“Edward Lee is one of America’s most important young chefs―and what he has to say with his delicious food and in the pages of this book will help redefine American food as a whole. Better start reading and start cooking. The future is here.” ―Anthony Bourdain

“I’m officially and unabashedly in love with Chef Edward Lee’s Smoke & Pickles! Full of thoughtful storytelling and plenty of seasoning, it satisfies all my cravings for hearty, flavorful food that’s as soulful and introspective as it is celebratory.” ―Gail Simmons

“Delicious American food. It’s quite simple: Edward Lee cooks the food I want to eat.” ―David Chang

“Full of more smarts, playfulness, and soulfulness than any cookbook I’ve read in a long, long time.” ―John T. Edge

(Publishers Weekly)

“Lee’s debut cookbook is an inventive and exciting take on Southern food inspired by the chef’s Korean roots. . . . Recipes are combined with entertaining stories of Lee’s life and culinary journey. . . . An irresistible collection for any adventurous home cook.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

(NY Daily News)

“Inspired, sophisticated. . . . This book is likely to leave you feeling very hungry and never bored.” ―New York Daily News

(Country Living)

“A symphony of delectable contradictions.”Country Living


Smoke & Pickles exemplifies why, in 10 short years, [Edward Lee has] become one of our favorite chefs. Between the strength of his recipes and his natural knack for storytelling, we’ve dog-eared the bejeezus out of this book already.” ―

(Austin Chronicle)

“Comforting soul food massaged with Korean spice and garlic. . . . A very tasty blend of cultures.” ―Austin Chronicle

(Houston Chronicle)

“A lively and endearing story. . . . Lee’s pickle recipes are a joy because they don’t require canning. . . . So let the pleasure begin.” ―Houston Chronicle


“Fascinating. If you’re a bedtime cookbook reader, this one will have you up past midnight." ―TheKitchn


“Inventive . . . bold.” ―New York Times Book Review


“His flavor combinations are compelling, and his tips read like a mentor’s.” ―Washington Post


“Tasty Asian cuisine . . .  served with a side of Southern sauciness.” ―USA Today


“A profoundly American cookbook. . . . Delicious.” ―Buffalo News


“The essays that accompany each section are wonderful . . . [and] helpful lessons abound.” ―LA Weekly


“Chef Edward Lee is the epitome of American melting pot cooking.” ―Portland Oregonian


Smoke & Pickles by chef Edward Lee is a delight. . . .The recipes are as refreshing and thoughtful as the man behind them.” ―TastingTable


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan (May 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579654924
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579654924
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1.2 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 67 people found the following review helpful By I Do The Speed Limit TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Saw this book several months ago when it first came out. I passed it by because I saw "Smoke" and "New Southern Kitchen": My mind immediately turned to barbecue and Deep South Gulf Coast recipes. Living down below Houston, I don't need another "new" attitude towards cooking Texas- or Louisiana-style dishes. But when I saw it available at my local library, I decided to get on the waiting list for it. I've had it for a few weeks now and I'm very excited by the recipes I've tried and those that I've marked. Boy, what a fool I've been! Oh, what I've been missing! I can't avoid it; I am ordering my own copy of this book. (And I think the cover of this book is a bit misleading--I'm not sure where "Smoke" comes in...)

As I state in the title of my review, the ingredient lists are way, way long. But--for once--I don't care how long they are. The many ingredients allow for a complexity of flavor that I don't often see in "do-able" recipes. Assembling ingredients is probably the most difficult and time-consuming part of these recipes. And that's not a terrible thing, is it? By "do-able"--and I like "do-able"--I mean recipes that don't take hours and hours to build; recipes that don't break the bank, and recipes where the instructions don't cause my heart to flutter with anxiety (over intricacy issues) or consternation (over unclear directions).

And, I usually shy away from cookbooks written by restaurant chefs, but this time I don't care about that either. The dishes that Chef Lee has created for this book are outstanding and he is not overbearing.

There are incredible recipes in this book.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By florida reader on October 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My main message is that if you are thinking about buying the Kindle version, don't---or use extreme caution. I did, and I really wish I'd spent the money to buy the book.
The recipes sound absolutely fabulous. They hit that sweet spot of being interesting and creative, but do not require such exotic items that you can't find them easily. I live in a very white-bread place, and everything mentioned here is available at regular groceries or the myriad of Asian groceries even we have.
And they don't sound nearly as complicated as many Asian recipes. The ingredient list may be long, but in most cases you just combine a lot of things in a bowl. It's not like making 4 different things to get the end result.
The text is really well-done as well, a pleasure to read.
But god knows when I'll ever cook one: There is no index, and no recipe listing on my Kindle version. Recipes are part of each chapter, along with a lot of text---which is fun to read, and all have a clever title, but trying to cipher out what kind of dish might be in which chapter isn't always easy.
You basically have to flip through page by page, and I can do that in a book much faster than on a Kindle.
I guess you could keep track, or mark, the ones that sound good as you read, but what sounds good to me one month may not the next month, and vice versa. It all depends on the weather, what I have available, timing---all kind of factors.
There may be a good way to deal with this; if so, I hope somebody spells it out.
I won't put any more cookbooks on my Kindle, for sure, unless I see real quick they have an index or some way to find recipes.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Janet Perry on May 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a great read and the recipes are incredible. Obviously the recipes were actually tested for the book. I love the way the chapters are arranged focusing one one protein or type of food. Each chapter begins with a rice bowl type dish using either lamb, beef, chicken etc. The lamb is incredible. The pickles are well worth the time to make - the Jalapeño Bourbon Pickle is exceptional and the Pineapple Jicama is a do over (have made three times already!) The stories in the book are well worth the read as well. This is a book you will keep going back to throughout the year, can't wait to make the winter kimchi with red cabbage and bacon!
Now I have to make a trip to Louisville to eat at his restaurants (and do the bourbon trail - again ;-)
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By P. Dean on May 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this era of modernist food and hyper gourmet foods its nice to see southern comfort food with a fresh twist.
Lee and his editor have filled this book with recipes and a good bit of his story.
Often many cook books are over stuffed with bio's and lack recipes.

The recipes in this book are honest and very approachable.
I have only cooked a handful of recipes, but all have been very good.
Lee's take on chicken and savory waffles is the best thing ive had so far.

Also the Tobacco cookies are awesome and very unique.

This cook book is a great addition for anyone that loves both southern cooking and lets say David Chang's Momofuku.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Autamme_dot_com on May 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Food from the American South with a bit of a twist is what this book promised, which hopefully won't scare ultra-conservative traditionalists away.

The author has adopted Southern food as his own style, but elements of his Korean roots and classical French culinary training seep through. Through this book it is hoped that the reader will be able to "do it for themselves" without any problem, with over 100 foolproof recipes on offer. In between the recipes is a bit of a diary-style look at the author's life to date to provide additional context and a bit of an interesting read to boot.

You can sense this is a bit of an "unconventional" book from the start. No other cookbook would feature a full page picture of a partially-eaten meal, with just a few french fries and pickles remaining to be eaten, smeared liberally with tomato sauce. This really DID grab this reviewer's attention. This book is a lot more than just a collection of recipes and a bit of binding text. It is a total culinary journey. Sure you could skip past the various life portraits and background text and just grab the (very good) recipes, but you would be losing out. In some ways the recipes are less important, as strange as this may sound, yet they are also important. Think of it as a hot dog, you can have use the sausage in many ways without the roll and, of course, the roll can be used with other fillings. But when put together (with mustard and onion) they are truly something different and unique.

The book is split into key categories based on the main ingredient (lamb, beef, vegetables and so on) but sadly there is a faux cute labelling which just irritated this reviewer and felt truly out of place with the book.
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