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Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue Hardcover – November 1, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
[A] most worthy book about Tar Heel Barbecue. . . . An indispensable reference work. . . . The authors have carefully recorded first-person accounts of how these restaurateurs go about their business. It is as if they turned on the mike, asked the right question and got out of the way. . . . A fascinating account.--Jack Betts, CharlotteObserver.com
A fine book, one that every Tar Heel, whether born and bred or merely welcomed and fed, needs to read carefully.--Tim Tyson, Raleigh News & Observer
An apogee on all things barbecue. . . . Much more than a simple collection of recipes, the book supplements its exploration of this regional favorite by delving into the history of North Carolina barbecue. . . . And of course, there's no shortage of recipes and cooking techniques presented here, covering not only the meat, but a variety of side dishes, deserts, and even that signature Southern beverage, iced tea.--WNC Magazine
A valuable addition to the barbecue lover's bookshelf.--Charleston City Paper
Sure to be a favorite with folks who love the Tar Heel state and its history and foodways.--Metro Magazine
A dance through the legends, history, fables and reality of North Carolina barbecue. . . . While laughing along with the fun stories, don't forget to take the recipes seriously.--Edible Piedmont
A celebration of the pig's deep connection to the history and culture of the Tar Heel State. . . . The research is astounding, as evidenced by an impressive collection of anecdotal facts and historical photographs. . . . No stone is left unturned, and the book, as well as the story of North Carolina barbecue, is the better for it.--Journal of Southern History
A definitive guide.--Appetite for Books
A fascinating book presented in an interesting fashion. It's not wide, but man is it deep.--BBQ Links
Southern studies guru John Shelton Reed and fellow pork pro Dale Volberg Reed have teamed up with pig-pushing alum William McKinney to give us the first definitive guide to the people, places and culinary secrets behind the world's best barbecue.--Carolina Arts & Sciences News
Highly entertaining and guaranteed to whet your appetite for you-know-what.--Fayetteville Observer
One of a kind, offering a comprehensive exploration of the Tar Heel barbecue tradition.--Sandlapper
Maybe . . . you're wondering where the difference in barbecue styles comes from and why this difference is so fiercely contested. Or maybe you're interested in history or cultural history or North Carolina history. I've got just the book for you. . . . True Tar Heels will have a hard time giving this one away, so buy two.--Moreton Neal, MetroMagazine
The most definitive book . . . on the food that ties sons and daughters of The Old North State together by the taste buds.--Burlington, NC Times-News
The book leaves no glowing coal unturned in its examination of our state's barbecue history, cooking techniques, recipes, and characters who have honed the fine art of turning hogs into something heavenly.--Our State
Should bring readers to a deeper respect for an American art form.--Southern Cultures
Does the world really need another barbecue book?' The answer is yes, thanks to the book's dozens of useful recipes (some lending credence to the claim that three pillars of Southern cooking are sugar, salt and fat), hundreds of evocative illustrations and photos, and a narrative spiced with historical anecdotes.--The Wall Street Journal
A cultural and culinary history of barbecue . . . the book includes directions on shaping cornmeal into perfect hush puppies, a who's who of the region's pit masters, and mouthwatering photographs of sizzling pigs.--The Chronicle of Higher Education
Brings to life the state treasure that North Carolina has in barbecue, and in the people who practice it.--Michael Hastings, Winston-Salem Journal
Captures the near-religious fervor that devotees have for this succulent sustenance.--Duke Magazine
[A] funny, fantastically southern memoir of the infamous East-West brawl over North Carolina barbecue. . . . Everything we ever wanted to know about the history of the 'cue, the sauce, and the people behind this Tar Heel tradition.--Southern Living
A darn good book.--Kathleen Purvis, The Charlotte Observer
If this book doesn't set your mouth to watering, then you need your taste buds checked.--Ben Steelman, Wilmington Star-News
Filled with history, interviews and all kinds of kooky heirloom Southern recipes, this is a lovingly curated book on the 'barbaculture' of the Tar Heel state.--Chile Pepper
In a state where barbecue rules, this is the constitution. It's also a field guide and a backyard manual for how to prepare barbecue and the proper sides properly. Brightly written and profusely illustrated, it's often funny, too. Good food writing is always fun. This rates as a treat.--News-Record.com, Greensboro
A comprehensive and entertaining exploration of the Tar Heel barbecue tradition. . . . Holy Smoke is full of everything you might want to know about Tar Heel 'cue, and probably more.--The Weekly Standard
One thing guaranteed to start an argument in North Carolina is barbecue. Thus, it takes a little courage to write a book on the subject. The Reeds . . . try hard to be scrupulously fair to both the Eastern and Piedmont barbecue camps.--StarNewsOnline.com
It's here. Not another guide to North Carolina barbecue restaurants . . . [but] 'an exploration of the Tar Heel barbecue tradition.' While Holy Smoke is assuredly about food, it is more, in my mind, about 'foodways'--the roots and evolution of the food, which more than any other, is identified with the people of this state and its history and traditions.--Carroll Leggett, MetroMagazine
Part cultural history, part cookbook, Holy Smoke . . . may be the best tome ever written about pulled pork.--The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Part-cookbook-part-manual . . . and an excellent guide to the Tar Heel state's distinctive interpretation of a great American cooking style.--The Christian Science Monitor
This heartfelt, thorough, witty compendium of the state's barbecue places, pitmasters, pig pickins, history lessons, tall tales and basic recipes makes me bone-deep homesick in a way I haven't felt in years.--Rachel Wharton, The Art of Eating
Part cookbook, part how-to manual for the backyard barbecuer and part historical treatise. . . . This well-researched book is a hymn of praise to those pitmasters who have long labored over fires fueled by hickory and smoke.--Blue Ridge Country
Sheer fun. . . . Informative, fast-paced, thorough, and filled with facts. I was reading through it the other evening and could have sworn I smelled the sharp, smoky aroma of pork slowly cooking over hickory coals.--Jack Betts, The Charlotte Observer
It is a treasure trove, a testament (in the Holy Roller sense), an exuberant celebration of the one thing served in the South that is better than fried chicken.--Nicki Leone, BiblioBuffet.com
What every book on barbecue should aim to be: well-researched, wide-ranging, funny, lavishly illustrated, and just downright enjoyable.--alforno.blogspot.com
The authors show that barbecue is more than just a meal. Love, hardship, and generations of striving go into every morsel of this 'white and brown.' All visitors to North Carolina should keep this relevant guide at their fingertips.--Gastronomica
John Shelton Reed and Dale Volberg Reed . . . really have written the book on North Carolina barbecue.--Mountain Xpress
Top Customer Reviews
Review by Certified Barbecue Judge (Memphis, Kansas City, North Carolina)
The unique structure makes the book very readable. First they give a detailed history of barbecue in North Carolina while touching on the debates that echo within the state as to what constitutes "real" barbecue and what does not. This ranges from the style of sauce and what cut of the pig is used, to what fuel does the cooking (wood vs. gas, electric, etc.) Second, they go into the food in detail giving many excellent recipes and enough detail that even a barbecue novice could produce their own 'cue. Finally (and my favorite part) are the interviews. The authors scoured the state, interviewing the important restaurant owners and pitmasters who make North Carolina the epicenter of barbecue as we know it.
Highly recommended for fans of good food and history.
I am a native of Baltimore, Maryland; a state that was the most northern of the southern culture and most southern of northern industry, I have a foot (or toe) in both. I first sampled Carolina Barbecue (BBQ) in the mid 1970's after a sister-in-law married into a North Carolina family. Initially a culinary culture shock; that defied my notion of BBQ, but over the years I came to love the unique local food and the small family restaurants that purvey it. I had the opportunity of meeting the authors of Holy Smoke at a book signing near Chapel Hill, NC. Their knowledge of Southern food and cultural history runs deeper than their most recent work. The book is highly read-able and cleverly illustrated with old images of BBQ "joints", advertisement and other themes. John and Dale Reed aided by Bill McKinney have connected the dots of this pit cooked North Carolina Odyssey to reveal a portrait of tradition, community and rivalry. The only this missing was a scratch and sniff of hickory smoke.
It covers every aspect from history to recipes to making excellent BBQ at home. Highly recommended for fans of North Carolina barbeque.
Good historical references, and some good recipes for 'Real Carolina BBQ"! What's not to love about this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great reading for BBQ enthusiasts. Good history of BBQ and styles.Published 10 days ago by ska-t-lite
The North Carolina barbecue book written by three imports. If you love NC barbecue you need this book. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
I loved this book. It's a rather narrow subject...NC BBQ...and I still don't know how the authors found so much information on the subject. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Brew and Fish
A wonderful and engaging survey of the history, techniques, people, and barbecue. Great read, highly recommend.Published 12 months ago by Paul Powell
This was a gift, but I've had the opportunity to read through on the road. He's a big Carolina BBQ fan and likes to hit a new place along with at least one old favorite on every... Read morePublished 17 months ago by J of All Trades