Grilling is one of the most famous and traditional methods of cooking available today in the world. Yet the way to go about it differs from place to place. Grilling lies at the heart of human evolution as it is one of the oldest methods of cooking that’s still enjoyed to this day. Though it has been classified as the oldest form of cooking, every grill master and culture has their own unique style that brings out distinct flavors through grilling.
BBQ is the art of cooking food near a fire. It has three main aspects to it; a fast cooking time, hot fire, and distinct cuts of meat or other ingredients. The actions entailing a BBQ invoke a connection that no other form of cooking can perhaps come close to. Lighting a fire and setting up a barbecue is associated with a feeling of satisfaction and brings people together on joyous occasions. There is a certain comfort associated with sitting around a fire with your loved ones while taking in the mouthwatering aromas given off by the barbecue.
Cooking can be fun but knowing what you are doing just adds to the thrill. Barbequing requires no special talent or hours of practice. It just needs a little patience and some knowledge. And the fastest and easiest way to mastering the art of barbequing can be done through some of the many books available on the subject.
The availability of thousands of books on barbecues makes it hard to choose the best ones. Listed below are GrillSpy‘s best BBQ books which have been chosen from thousands and narrowed down to the top 10.
1) Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling
by Meathead Goldwyn
The author’s pen name might sound a bit silly but Meathead Goldwyn has proven his knowledge in the field of barbecue ever since he published his first book on barbecue and grilling which was met with wild enthusiasm. The author is not only a master chef at barbequing and grilling recipes, but he is also an expert on the tools and accessories needed to bring out the best in a barbequed meal. Formerly a connoisseur and rater of wines, Goldwyn became obsessed with barbequing and grilling and started writing new recipes from scratch.
The overall best BBQ book is a great source for people who are also looking for barbequing methods. Half of the book is dedicated to recipes while the other half is dedicated to concepts, techniques, and the science behind the barbecue. There are entire sections dedicated to meat science (different types of cuts), heat, fire, and smoke flavoring. The book is undoubtedly one of the best barbecue books out there.
2) 12 Bones Smokehouse: A Mountain BBQ Cookbook
by Bryan and Angela King, Shane Heavner, and Mackensy Lunsford
North Carolina Smokehouse’s brown sugar baby back ribs have been a huge favorite for anyone who has had them. Fans of these ribs include former US President Barack Obama. Now, the eatery’s delicious recipes are available for you to recreate at home.
All the favorite classics of the restaurant are listed in this book: from wings, pulled pork to pastrami as well as brisket. The book also includes some surprising delicacies such as barbecue scotch eggs and the tantalizing pork sandwich termed the “Hogzilla”. The only drawback which any reader would find would be the non-availability of photos with each and every recipe but the user-friendly layout and easy-to-understand instructions more than cover for this flaw. The book also contains a ton of barbecue recipes for you try out.
3) The Barbecue Bible
by Steven Raichlen
First published in 1998, The Barbecue Bible is still considered as an essential BBQ text and remains a guide for both first-timers and grill-masters alike. This collection of over 500 recipes aims to help people learn the art of barbequing.
The author has traveled around the globe in search of the perfect recipes and methods relating to outdoor cooking in areas he terms as “barbecue belts”. The book contains an accumulation of all those travels and recipes accumulated through multiple years of tasting delicacies cooked using different barbecue styles from various cultures. It also contains helpful information on non-barbecued items such as drinks, desserts, and side-dishes that match well with barbecue. The book is a fun read as it contains side notes with the recipes on the author’s travels.
4) Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto
by Aaron Franklin
Aaron and his wife Stacy, both natives of Texas, set up a roadside trailer back in 2009 located in Austin Texas and the rest is history. Their joint Franklin barbecue has become one of the top places for meat and barbecue lovers over the country. Besides their multi-award winning BBQ joint, they have also worked on the cookbook A Meat-Smoking Manifesto which went on to become a New York Times bestseller.
Besides the recipes from the author’s restaurant, the book also contains some original ones that can’t be found anywhere else. It also contains information on the type of wood to use, building your own smoker, lighting the perfect fire, places for getting the best quality cuts, and methods of gaining perfect control over the cook of the meat. The book doesn’t contain that many recipes but it offers great insights into the technique and care required for a perfect barbecue. It also contains information on how Aaron became a successful businessman and a restaurateur.
5) Low & Slow: Master the Art of Barbecue in 5 Easy Lessons
by Gary Wiviott
Aimed at beginners, this book by Gary Wiviott helps first-timers who have never touched a grill turn into barbecue masters. This book came about when the author started working on an online tutorial that turned him into a barbecue maestro. The book contains information on equipment, rubs, and brines and over 150 recipes. It is a great starter recipe book for beginners and people often keep referring back to it.
6) Charred & Scruffed: Bold New Techniques for Explosive Flavor On and Off the Grill
by Adam Perry Lang
The name of the book says it all. This collection of bold cooking methods will help you create unique flavor combinations for a tantalizing barbecued meal at home. With recipes such as smoked pork shoulder with lime coriander salt and green apple caraway slaw, this book is for BBQ enthusiasts looking for something new and exciting.
Known for his aggressive cooking style, the author Lang has shared a lot of different, time-tested techniques that can be tried out by anyone. A recipe called the “clinched and planked lobster tails” involves a play with fire as the lobster gets cooked on a soaked piece of wood that allows the meat to get a smoky flavor through the steam.
7) Weber’s Ultimate Grilling: A Step-by-Step Guide to Barbecue Genius
by Jamie Purviance
One of the top grill makers in the country, Weber offers a book of recipes on barbecues that compliment their grill quite well. Both the recipes and the grill have evolved over the years and the latest version of this book contains over 200 brand new recipes. This is an optimal choice for men and women who bought their first Weber grill and need some insights into making something restaurant quality at home.
The book offers plenty of recipes for such as Oak grilled salmon or the complicated spicy halibut. It also offers plenty of recipes for first-timers and unusual dishes that you wouldn’t think of using a grill for such as Chocolate Cake on the Grill. There are valuable tips and information that are useful for newbies and grill masters alike. Completing the whole book can make you a master of the important aspects of barbecuing, smoking, and indirect methods of grill cooking.
8) The Cook and the Butcher: Juicy Recipes, Butcher’s Wisdom, and Expert Tips
by Brigit Binns
The author is famous for creating and writing over two dozen cookbooks. In this book, Brigit Binns shares more than a 100 recipes and each page contain pro tips and quotes from butchers. The recipes are a combination of both indoor and outdoor meals that are meant to complement each other.
The most interesting fact about this cookbook is that the menu sounds something out of a Michelin star restaurant but the recipes are explained in an easy-to-understand manner. With the help of a master butcher, a well-provisioned kitchen, and the expert guidance of Binns herself, these restaurant-style recipes feel easy for making at home. For example, a French dish called Steak Au Poivre is an extremely intricate dish to make. Most people end up making the pepper in the recipe too overpowering. However, Binns’s version makes the dish easy to recreate at home while leaving the meat as the main hero of the dish.
9) The Art of Beef Cutting: A Meat Professional’s Guide to Butchering and Merchandising
by Kari Underly
Any great barbecue starts with a great cut of meat which is the start of any outdoor cooking activity. This book aims to help you not only choose the best cut but also how much to spend on each part. This book was created for protein lovers and should be on the shelves of any meat lover. Since barbecues revolve around meat 99% of the time, it is essential to choose the right cut.
The author is a third-generation butcher and works in collaboration with universities, top chefs, farmers, merchants, and even the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The book contains a lot of terminologies used by chefs and butchers and there is even a chapter called “Cutting for Profit” which breaks down the profit of a butcher on a large piece of meat. It contains knowledge that can help people decide the best cuts while also saving them from being fooled when it comes to buying the perfect steak. The book contains no recipes but it is a great buyer’s guide for meat lovers.
10) America’s Best BBQ
by Ardie A. Davis and Chef Paul Kirk
This cookbook contains over 100 recipes from America’s best smokehouses, pits, shacks, rib joints, restaurants, and roadhouses. The authors Davis and Kirk have a combined experience of visiting different barbecue joints than probably anyone else in the country. The cookbook just doesn’t tell a recipe, it provides detailed information on the restaurant and describes the experience it offers.
Our Last Thoughts
barbecue has experienced a massive rise in popularity over the last few decades particularly due to globalization where different cooking styles across cultures come together and form something unique and flavorful.
With both old-timer pros and new kids on the block pushing out new content almost every day, it makes it hard to narrow down your choices. Hopefully, the above-mentioned top picks offer clarity on which barbecue book to choose for your kitchen.