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BBQ Makes Everything Better Hardcover – May 4, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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About the Author

Jason Day has spent most of his life around the bbq pit, tending fires and flipping meat. It is no surprise he went into competitive cooking and joined the Burnt Finger BBQ team, now the envy of barbecue teams across America. He is the creator of the BBQAddicts.com website and, in response to overwhelming consumer demand, he developed retail versions of his award-winning Bacon Explosion recipe and Burnt Finger BBQ sauces and rubs.


For more information, please visit: www.bbqaddicts.com^Aaron Chronister has always loved cooking. As a child, he made the Mexican dinner that caused his mother to go into labor with his youngest brother. He joined a competitive bbq team, Burnt Finger BBQ, in 2008 and launched the extremely popular BBQAddicts.com website. He is the Vice President of Internet Marketing at a large web-based company and consults to Fortune 500 companies about search marketing and social media. He lives in Kansas City, the real barbecue capital of the world. 


For more information, please visit: bbqaddicts.com

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Barbecue is a guy thing, a throwback to the spit-roasted woolly mammoth, perhaps. It tends to be written about today (and debated in endless detail) like a sporting event, which in fact it has become: thousands of tiny local competitions are rapidly giving way to several major barbecue leagues, with their own playoffs, World Series—and six-figure purses. —Molly O’Neill, American Food Writing

Back on September 19, 2008, we were just two passionate backyard cooks entering the world of competition barbecue for the first time. We pulled into the parking lot of our first contest not knowing what we were getting ourselves into but confident in the recipes that had pleased our families and friends for years. Twenty-four hours later, as we hoisted cold beers and clasped our awards, we knew our lifelong passion for the backyard grill was officially solidified as a full-fledged addiction.


Growing up in Kansas City, I’ve been fully immersed in barbecue culture my entire life. In fact, I can almost pinpoint the exact moment that I was officially bitten by the barbecue bug.

The summer after my junior year of high school, my father arrived home from the office just like any other Friday afternoon. He tossed his briefcase on the kitchen table. A quick flip of the small brass latches and he opened the case to reveal two ziplock bags stuffed full of a dark red powder. He went on to proclaim that a coworker did competition barbecue and had passed along a batch of his super-secret rub and a few of his competition tricks. Suddenly weekend plans were set as we embarked on our first baby back ribs adventure.

A smoker was still foreign territory in my family. We were strictly gas grillers but certainly enjoyed the fruits of others’ labors when it came to barbecue. On this particular weekend, Dad dared to dabble in the smoke. What resulted were the most juicy and tender ribs I had ever eaten. At that exact moment barbecue became a complete and all-consuming experience.

College was the first time I spent an extended amount of time outside of Kansas City. Only two hours down the road at the University of Missouri, barbecue seemed to have dropped off the map. To get my fix, I would host impromptu dorm-room barbecues on my trusty George Foreman grill, cooking up chicken and burgers for anyone who wandered through.

I bought my first smoker while in college, and it didn’t take too long for Dad’s techniques to start coming back to me. Each smoke session brought back a new memory of his routine. It was only a matter of weeks before the whole neighborhood knew that the faint smell of hickory in the air meant that I was cooking up a feast.

As did so many post-college kids, I moved back in with my folks while I pursued my first “real” job. Thanks to the luxuries of the Internet, job searching only took up a couple hours of my day, which left me plenty of time to obsess over dinner. Soon my daily routine included a trip to the market to pick up ingredients for that night’s meal. My mother was probably the biggest fan of my cooking and even extended me an offer to become a permanent house-son. Unfortunately, I quickly found out that single ladies weren’t all that impressed with house-sons, so that lifestyle was short-lived. Soon after landing my first job, I met a young lady who recognized and embraced my passion for grilling and barbecue … and I married her.


Growing up in northwest Arkansas, I was sandwiched between Kansas City and Memphis and their distinctly different but equally delicious styles of barbecue. Arkansas barbecue mixed and matched both cities’ styles, which gave me a good foundation to eventually become a master of the grill.

Like Jason, I entered the barbecue world when I left home for college. I purchased my first smoker in hopes of making ribs like the ones I ate at Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous in Memphis. Much to my surprise (and chagrin), I found I had no idea what I was doing. Unlike Jason I didn’t have any secret rubs or competition tricks to get me started, so I was stuck experimenting. In fact, my first rack of baby back ribs came out tasting like the soot from my chimney and as chewy as a Goodyear tire. My friends and I pretended they were the best things ever, and I’m sure everyone secretly went for pizza when they left.

Not to be deterred, I continued attempting to make the best barbecue I could. Instead of inviting all my friends, I cooked alone, in isolation, while I worked out the kinks. It didn’t take long, and pretty soon I was making ribs like the ones in Memphis.

During my time in Arkansas I even invented my own side dish named after yours truly, the Chronion: a cored white onion, stuffed with beef bouillon and butter, seasoned with salt and pepper, and smoked for three hours. Everyone wanted these things like they were Super Bowl tickets. Now someone, somewhere, probably has made this already, but I’m going to go ahead and claim inventor status because I didn’t know about it!

Fast-forward five years and I found myself in Kansas City. About two weeks after moving, I stopped to get gas and became confused as to why there was a line of a hundred people out the door. I went in to pay, and the most intoxicating scent I had ever encountered was floating through the air. Little did I know I was standing in the world-famous Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue (yes, it’s in a gas station). I paid for my gas, stood in line for an hour or so, and rediscovered my love for barbecue right then and there.

My trip to Oklahoma Joe’s that day put me into serious high gear. I went out and bought another smoker and once again started trying to perfect everything I could. This time, however, I was in Kansas City and surrounded by barbecue experts on every corner. My skills improved, and my next goal was competition.

Fast-forward another five years or so (hey, quit trying to figure out how old I am) and I met my wife. All of her friends and the neighborhood discovered how good I am behind the smoker, so every time there is a party (or any other function for that matter), they asked me to cook. Scratch that, they pretty much just inform me that I’m cooking. My soon-to-be-wife mentioned that a college friend of hers had a boyfriend who’s into barbecue. We were set up on a man date, and the next thing you know we were cooking for our first competition!


Our worlds came together once our wives first discovered that we shared the same passion for barbecue. We were both interested in starting a competition team, so we partnered with our friend Bryant Gish to create Burnt Finger BBQ. With our first contest only a few short months away, our newly formed team got together for an official practice run. We laid out a time line, did a run-through, and crossed our fingers.

At last, the big day finally arrived. Since this was our first contest, we kicked off the event with a small party to ease any nerves before settling into our competition routine later that evening. As night turned into morning, all of our processes were still on pace with our time lines. As morning became afternoon, each one of our competition meats came off the smoker just as we planned. With only a quick pit stop on the cutting board for final touch-ups, each entry was sent to the judges like clockwork. And as quickly as it began, our first barbecue contest was complete.

While we’re always confident in our cooking style, we headed to the awards ceremony with open minds and no real expectations. Little did we know at the time that we’d be walking out of our first barbecue contest with two awards! Fueled by excitement and adrenaline, we decided to enter the American Royal Barbecue.

For those not familiar with the American Royal, it’s the world’s largest barbecue contest with approximately 500 teams entering the open division every year. It’s considered the World Series of barbecue and is THE weekend that makes barbecue teams into barbecue legends. Plus, it’s the biggest party Kansas City has to offer with nearly 100,000 people pouring into the festival grounds to embrace barbecue culture.

As with our first contest, we settled into our cooking routine late in the evening and set out to hit our time lines. With the exception of a slight panic attack upon discovering that we overcooked our ribs a bit, everything went smoothly, and we were once again happy with our entries. With fingers crossed, we headed to the awards ceremony hoping our team would crack the top 100.

As the announcer began to cycle through the winners in each category, we eagerly listened, hoping to get a glimpse of some of the legendary barbecue teams that were competing. By the time the brisket category rolled around, we had all lost interest in the awards and were BSing among ourselves. Out of nowhere, we heard a voice from the row behind us say, “Congrats, guys!” As we looked up, we saw the giant projector screen next to the stage displaying “5th Place: Burnt Finger BBQ.” Excited and disbelieving, we made our way to the front of the arena to collect our fifth-place brisket ribbon at the biggest barbecue contest in the world.

The American Royal pretty much wrapped up the 2008 season for Burnt Finger BBQ. With the winter cold beginning to set in, we decided to turn our attention to a new project. Since both of us come from a marketing and technology background, we decided to launch a Web site geared toward the barbecue community. Officially launched on October 22, 2008, BBQAddicts.com quickly became our little corner of the Internet.

Not two months after launching the Web site, we received a request from a bacon news group wondering what kind of uses we had for bacon within the barbecue world. We immediately thought of a smoked bacon–wrapped sausage log....


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143916830X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439168301
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,637,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jeremy Long on May 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just got this book the other day and have already tried 3 recipes. They've all been super simple to follow and have turned out some amazing food!!! The recipe for the Kansas City style sauce is awesome! I love KC BBQ and find it pretty hard to get anything comparable where I live in Chicago. But now I can add this sauce to any of the cardboard/beef jerky that passes for bbq here and all of a sudden it's good again. Now I've got to buy a smoker and start doing my own meats. This book has a great beginners smoking section that really details how to get started.

I love this book and really enjoyed the easy to read tone and writing style. If you want to hear some good stories about BBQ and learn some great recipes, it's a must buy!
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One of the best books available for ------ SMOKING meats!! Don't let the title fool you -- it ain't about BBQg meats but is totally about smoking meats. I've given it to several new meat smokers and all have appreciated it. The 'Bacon Explosion' recipe is worth the price of the book alone. Just don't eat too much of it at one time or you'll literally hear your arteries clanging shut!!
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Format: Paperback
This is one sweet barbecue cookbook! Recipes are inventive and, more importantly, delicious. Plus, they're easy-to-follow and written with a good sense of humor. In addition to the Bacon Explosion, there's an entire chapter for likeminded smoked meat logs, as well as chapters that are all about burgers, fancier dishes and desserts. The steak-wrapped shrimp, creamy mushroom steakburger and grilled candy bars were all big hits at my house. Recommended. (Full disclosure: I received a review copy.)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered the book before it was released and was thrilled to see the barbecue and booze section (don't judge me) once it arrived. After making two of the recipes I can assure you I'll be spending my summer making the rest!
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Format: Hardcover
I have eaten a prepared Bacon Explosion and made one myself. Both were amazing. If the rest of the book goes the way of the Bacon Explosion then look out.

This could well be THE BBQ book for 2010.
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Format: Hardcover
Bought the book for the bacon explosion (which is like manna from above) I'll admit it. But continue to use recipes out of it because they're all amazing. Just in time for summer even. Love it.
You need this book. No really! This book will make you faster, stronger, smarter and wittier than all of your friends and neighbors. Okay. That might be going a little over board. But it is guaranteed to make you lots of friends. They won't be able to resist your summer time BBQ's!
Enjoy and thank me later. Or better yet, thank the authors!
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By Brian L. on November 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're into BBQ, you need this book. It's not just another book that tells you how to make brisket, pulled pork, etc. It's an awesome mix of recipes from side dishes to things you can do with leftovers. So far my wife and I have made about half of the recipes in here and every one of them was fantastic. I'm a huge fan of the mac & cheese and who doesn't love a nice big fatty :)
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Format: Hardcover
This was a gift to my husband, and here are his comments:

Surprisingly varied recipes from the creators of the "Bacon Explosion". Of course, any book that devotes a whole chapter to bacon is off to a good start.

I had bookmarked several pages of recipes to try within an hour of opening the book. The book was a Christmas present and my grill is covered for the winter, but we have already invited friends over to try several of the recipes.

There is genius in this book; placing cheese between two hamburger patties; pork+whiskey=heaven; and of course the title of my review - "vegetables are good, but meat is better."

"BBQ Makes Everything Better" is an appropriate title; by this I mean it is about more than meat. I cannot wait to try olives stuffed with bacon and blue cheese, crab cake-stuffed mushrooms, applejack pork loin, coconut-crusted malibu shrimp, Bloody Mary burnt end chili, and Brazilian beef cajun creole. My mouth is watering! (And my wife has the table already set.)
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