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Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto Hardcover – April 7, 2015
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New York Times Best Seller
“Aaron Franklin makes the finest barbecue I’ve ever had, barbecue worth waiting for. His work and his words express a truly rare level of commitment and expertise. With Franklin Barbecue, he shares it all—in a book that, fortunately, you don’t have to wait for.”
— Anthony Bourdain
“I used to think Aaron Franklin was a genius: There was his rise from backyard dabbler to king of Texas pitmasters; his mind-altering brisket that made normally rational people (myself included) wait hours for the chance to eat it; and his insistence that game-changing barbecue doesn’t come from miracles but rather elbow grease. Then he wrote this book and gave all his secrets away. Now everyone—from me to you to your neighbor who can’t grill a chicken breast—will be able to make award-winning barbecue. He’s not a genius anymore; he’s a god.”
— Andrew Knowlton, restaurant and drinks editor, Bon Appétit
“The most refreshing barbecue book to come along yet. Rather than preaching about ‘one true way,’ Aaron Franklin guides you through all the wood and smoke so that you can find your own style. And instead of just listing ingredients and rattling off generic recipes, these pages tell the story of a place and a barbecue tradition steeped in history. This isn’t just a book about barbecue;
this book is Central Texas barbecue.”
— Daniel Vaughn, barbecue editor, Texas Monthly, and author of The Prophets of Smoked Meat
“Pure genius! Aaron Franklin has distilled years’ worth of barbecue knowledge into this book. In it, he exposes the sacred insights of a top pitmaster—information that can otherwise only be learned from long nights spent staring at a fire, shovel in hand, constantly prodding and pinching your meat to figure out that ‘just perfect’ point of doneness. This book is a game changer: read it, and your barbecue will improve overnight!”
— Adam Perry Lang, chef, restaurateur, and author of Serious Barbecue
“A complete meat-and brisket-cooking education from the country’s most celebrated pitmaster. More than just a recipe book, this is a master course in the fine art of meat smoking, Texas-style.”
— Library Journal
About the Author
AARON FRANKLIN is a native of Bryan, Texas, and the co-owner and co-founder (along with his wife, Stacy) of Franklin Barbecue. Franklin Barbecue opened its doors in 2009, and has since gone on to win many awards, including "Best Barbecue in Texas" from Texas Monthly and "Best Barbecue in America" from Bon Appétit. Franklin is also the host of the PBS series BBQ with Franklin. He and his wife live in Austin with their daughter.
JORDAN MACKAY is the wine and spirits critic for San Francisco magazine, and the coauthor of the James Beard Award-winning Secrets of the Sommeliers. He lives in San Francisco.
Top customer reviews
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I have an electric smoker. this book gives no mention on how to smoke with this kind of smoker and I am sure not going to build the major kind of smoker Franklin uses in his restaurant. I need a book that will give me some guidelines on how to use an electric smoker including time and temperature for different meats.
Can you recommend such a book and can I return the Franklin book? Please respond.
I don't think any of you people that left reviews even tried to make his sauce, coleslaw and potato salad recipes- I made them exactly as he requires in the recipe and they were all really really bad- not just so-so but inedible - one too much vinegar, one way way too much salt and the other drowned in yellow mustard-- he is laughing on his way to the bank!
But I made Aaron's recipes for potato salad and coleslaw -and both are absolutely horrific! Essentially inedible- the potato salad called for what seemed like too much mustard but I followed his directions exactly and it turned out tasting so strong with mustard that it was trash. And the coleslaw - the salt he calls for makes this salad taste so bad - just an absolutely massive level of salt, that required only one solution - right into the garbage disposal.
I thought when I first read the book what a generous guy to put his shops recipes in a book for everyone to make-- and when i was following his recipes - I was surprised to see odd ingredient specs that called for 2 tablespoons and a 1/2 teaspoon? I think he is laughing his ass off all the way to the bank thinking about all these people following his weird recipes ingredient levels - 1/2 teaspoon more or less is not going to change a recipe - so why does he gives these odd amounts?
i think he is making sure that no one ends up with the same food he sells at his shop.
And also I made his barbecue sauce- bad is too kind! You might just drench your meat in vinegar and throw on some ketchup and you would have his recipe.
He likes salt, pepper, lots of vinegar and a lot of mustard-- you don't need to buy this book- just pour a bunch of each into a bowl.
i have not eaten at his shop - but if these recipes are what he serves everyday - I can't believe people stand in line to eat super salty coleslaw, and boiled potatoes with a little mayonaise and a hell of a lot of mustard and a sauce that is simply vinegar with some ketchup mixed in.
Here is what I got from the book that was useful- smoker st 275 degrees - period and wrap ribs and brisket at around 160 degrees -- and cook brisket to 203 degrees and ribs until they wobble when picked up -
There you go - save yourself $21 -
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. If you want a barbecue cookbook that has lots of unique, creative recipes, this is not your book. This book is for people who enjoy smoking and eating meat and who enjoy reading about the experiences of someone who learned how to smoke meat and soon opened an extremely popular restaurant. There are four barbecue recipes, and they don’t start until page 147. The recipes are for brisket, pork spare ribs, beef (plate) short ribs, and turkey breast. At page 174, he’s on to other topics. There are also recipes for four sauces and three sides. He winds up with recommendations for beer to drink with your barbecue.
Chapter One is Aaron’s life story – how he learned how to build and adapt things, including barbecue smokers, how he bought used equipment and started his restaurant on a shoestring budget. And he reviews some of the great BBQ restaurants in Central Texas.
Chapter Two gives a brief description of several types of smokers – the original pits, the offset smokers, and the upright drum smoker. He does not mention the Weber Smokey Mountain or any similar vertical types that have a fire chamber in the bottom, a water pan above that, and food grates above that. I suppose I could consider these to be variations of the upright drum smoker. All of Aaron’s smokers are offset. He started on a very cheap, flimsy New Braunfels Hondo. After that all of his smokers were offsets homemade from 500 gallon or 1000 gallon propane tanks. He briefly mentions the Big Green Egg and similar kamado style cookers. Not surprisingly, his cookers have names – Number One, Number Two, Muchacho, Rusty Shackleford, MC5, Nikki Six, and Bethesda. Then he tells quite a bit about how to build your own offset smoker – how to procure a used 1000 gallon propane tank, add doors, grates, legs, chimney, and fire chamber, including the necessary welding and cutting equipment. Not many readers of this book are going to take this on, I’ll bet. The most useful information here is his recommendation for a thermometer – the Tel-Tru Barbecue Thermometer BQ300. (p 62)
Chapter Three is Wood. All of Aaron’s smokers are made to burn wood, not charcoal. He likes all kinds of hardwoods but mostly uses post oak, because he likes it and it is plentiful around Austin. He started out shopping for wood in Craig’s List, and found that a lot of sellers were dishonest. They would stack wood in such a way to make to look like a cord when it was much less. Then he found a seller who was honest and dependable and stayed with him. There is a glut of oak available in central Texas because the drought is causing trees to die. It is best to cut down a live tree, cut and slit it into smaller pieces, and let it dry for 6-12 months, until it is about 20% water. But sometimes you go with trees that died from drought. Mesquite is pretty strong. Hickory is strong, but not as strong as mesquite. Fruit tree wood is milder. Wood should be dried for a few months, or it will be too green, it will have too much water in it, and won’t burn well. Green wood is heavier and you can feel that it is heavier.
Chapter Four is Fire + Smoke – how to start the fire and keep it going with good smoke. Aaron lights a few charcoal briquettes in a chimney starter, puts them in the fire chamber, and puts some wood on top of them, and they light. He only uses wood for cooking. You don’t get smoke from charcoal, gas, or electricity. You need wood for smoke. Most other books say to use charcoal plus a few chunks of wood to get the smoke. I do that with my Weber Smokey Mountain and I think it works fine. Smoke contains solids, liquids, and gases. The gases are invisible, but they do the most to penetrate into the meat and give it flavor.
Chapter Five is Meat. Aaron always gets Angus, grade prime, which is ethically raised, with no growth hormones or antibiotics, not frozen and never been frozen. Freezing breaks down fibers and makes the meat floppy and mushy. The lesser grades, in order, are choice and select, and they have less marbling fat. Aaron keeps his briskets 14 to 21 days after the packing date before he cooks them. Dry aging means hanging it or putting it on a rack to dry. Wet aging is done in a vacuum-sealed package. You don’t want dry aged for barbecue. Aaron doesn’t want a lot of rock-hard fat on the outside of the brisket – it is a sign of growth hormones and antibiotics. Yellowish, not white, fat indicates grass-fed beef. There are three cuts of beef ribs: chuck, rib, and plate. Ribs 1-5 are chuck, 6-12 are rib. He says “We go for the plate ribs 6, 7, 8 – right in the middle of the rib cage, which have the longest, widest, meatiest bones, like brontosaurus ribs.” Aaron really doesn’t like pork ribs that have been “enhanced” – injected with water and salt. He likes pork from a hybrid heritage breed – a mix of Chester White and Duroc.
Six is the cook. This pretty much puts it together and gives specific instructions for pork ribs, beef ribs, brisket, and turkey breast. He likes to cook at 275 degrees, hotter than some pitmasters that use 225 degrees. He uses a lot of rub – mostly just pepper (16 mesh) and Morton kosher salt at a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio. He doesn’t like fresh ground pepper. He wants it ground a few days or a few weeks before using, because he doesn’t want the flavor to be strong, but he wants to use a lot of pepper because it helps the smoke to stick to the meat. Before applying rub, you can optionally apply slather – mustard, water, oil, or vinegar. He uses an offset smoker, but always uses a water pan to add humidity. He explains the smoke ring on brisket. He gets slightly technical here, but don’t worry, he is always clear.
Chapter 7 is Serving + Eating, and mostly from the restaurant point of view, but helpful when you are serving friends and family.
I have read several books on barbecue and smoking, mostly borrowed from the library, and this is far and away my favorite. I liked it so much I bought it after reading a library e-book. It seems odd that I like it so much, since Aaron exclusively uses offset smokers fired with wood, and I use a Weber fired with charcoal, but so much of the information here is going to be useful with any equipment. Another thing that adds to the enjoyment of the book is that you can google Aaron Franklin and find lots of barbecue information on the web, and you can find his TV show on Public Broadcasting – so after a while you feel like you know him personally.
Most recent customer reviews
but make sure you go to Franklin's BBQ in Austin.Read more