I first heard about this book in the Kansas City Star's "Star Magazine" that came out June 3, 2001. There was an article in it called "Pioneers of Q" by Doug Worgul. It was really interesting. Then a couple of days later I was talking to Carolyn Wells of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and she was praising this book. So a few days ago I got my copy of the book and the companion video. When I opened the package and saw the book for the first time I was disappointed. I really didn't like the cover and I thought the book should be thicker. Now I am sure a lot of people will love the cover. However, in my case, I really shouldn't judge a book by it cover. Once I opened up the book I knew that my first impression was wrong and there was plenty of content there. After reading the book it has become one of my prized possessions. The book is printed beautifully and loaded with some great pictures. The content of this book is well organized. It takes you from the early beginnings of BBQ to BBQ today. The journey is fun and very interesting. You will find many names mentioned that will instantly be familiar to people who love BBQ. I was impressed by the list of names listed in the acknowledgments that the author says: "without whose reporting, hard work and dedication I could not have completed this book." These are big names in BBQ he mentions and he even gave a special thanks to Fast Eddy for his lead on the "Smoky" Joe Armato story and more. So I knew the author had done his homework. This is a must buy for anyone really interested in BBQ. Sure the book is about Kansas City Barbecue, but it's more that that, its about barbecue. Anyone in any part of the country should enjoy owning and reading this book. I guarantee you one thing the book will make you hungry. The pictures and information about a lot of the restaurants in Kansas City will get to you. If you are from Kansas City you will be proud and hungry. If you live somewhere other than Kansas City you will be hungry and want to go there.
When most authors sit down to pen a book on barbecue their purpose is to share with the reader what a taste of barbecue food is like. When Doug Worgul authored The Grand Barbecue, it wasn't just the food he wanted to share but a taste of the entire barbecue world of Kansas City. And he does such a complete job of relating the entire experience that I swore I could smell a slight hint of sweet barbecue smoke when I finally put his book down. In The Grand Barbecue, Worgul has assembled the ultimate book on one of the major regions of barbecue Kansas City. Hours of painstaking research show through, beginning with the thorough recount of barbecue history in the first chapter where he traces the roots back to the days of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and then follows its spread until it reaches Kansas City. In Chapter Two, he introduces the icons of Kansas City barbecue like Henry Perry, Ollie Gates, Arthur Bryant and Rich Davis, and adds to that tales about the city's great restaurants like Fiorella's Jack Stack, Lil' Jake's Eat It and Beat It, L.C.'s and Oklahoma Joe's. Chapter Three is titled "The Barbecue Life" and it is here that the uninitiated get a feel for what makes barbecue a passion for many rather than a label for a food style. It's here that we get to meet three people who made barbecue a lifestyle Carolyn Wells, Ardie Davis, and Paul Kirk. He ends the chapter with a look at the three main Kansas-City area barbecue cookoffs the American Royal, the Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle, and the Blue Springs Blaze Off and the local tradition of tailgating at Arrowhead Stadium. Worgul finishes with a pair of obligatory chapters - "Barbecue for Backyard Beginners" and "Barbecue Nation" which are handled well. The former is a fairly complete chapter on the basics of barbecue and the latter a brief acknowledgement of the other barbecue regions. If you've ever had the pleasure of experiencing Kansas City barbecue, you will truly love this book, and the [money] price tag probably won't bother you a bit. If you're curious about the subject, this book communicates all that goes into making Kansas City the great barbecue city it is. You'll have to tolerate some tub thumping about Kansas City being the barbecue capitol of the world (please, I cannot take sides here), but I still know you will enjoy it.
This book has been out over a year now, but I had not really heard anyone talking about it. Recently, while on a trip to Kansas City, I saw the book on a shelf in Oklahoma Joe's BBQ. What a FUN read. This is definitely not your typical BBQ book. Those would be the one's full of recipes and nothing else. This is a book - book. It's full of people, tales, facts, information and fun about BBQ in general. If you're a fan of Q, this should be on your shelf. If you're just getting into Q, I might recommend a couple of other books first, but I would come back and buy this. This would be one of those "table top" book. Put it out and let your friends browse through it. The photos and articles are very, very well done. Thanks to the author, Doug Worgul, for a magnificent read
I dropped this book off to a friend of 25 years around 7pm one evening on a work night. He called me the next day and said he was up till 3am reading it & it was awesome. He couldn't put it down & was very impressed with the many venues: history, how-to, competions & dates, ect. I went out and bought one for myself after hearing this & could not agree more. I WAS SO IMPRESSED I BOUGHT 9 MORE & HAD THE AUTHOR SIGN THEM & I GIVE THEM AWAY AS GIFTS. A great coffee table book or convesation piece for the bar-b-q enthusiast, rookie or kc native!
I loved the book: a great assemblage of ephemera and lore, very well done. Worgul's work is worthy of comparison to Lolis Elie's Smokestack Lightning, though the former is a proudly provincial book while the latter surveys the greater barbecue world. The Grand Barbecue has earned a place of honor on my shelf.
Great boook published by the Kansas City Star newspaper. There are plenty of new copies all over town at every chain book seller. Put the cash you would spend on a used edition toward a plane ticket, fly here and eat some GREAT barbecue. During your stay, buy the book at the corner bookstore. Or go to [...] the Kansas City Star's online gift shop.
Perfect book. It provides the real history of Barbecue in the U.S.... which, of course, is Kansas City. This makes the perfect gift book to anyone that loves barbecue or KC. An easy read with lots of local KC history.