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Big Book of BBQ - Cookbook Review

Recipes and Revelations from the Barbecue Belt

By the Editors of Southern Living
(Oxmoor House, 2010)

Southern Living's Big Book of BBQ

With the summer season fast approaching, many anticipate firing up their grills and taking part in the long-standing American tradition of outdoor barbeque. No longer simply a pleasure for suburban fathers, barbequing has become a high-octane sport in recent years, with media-savvy chefs challenging each other's talents in grilling competitions.  Thankfully, Southern Living's Big Book of BBQ has returned barbeque to its time-honored birth place: the at-home grill.  This cookbook is a colorfully authentic and user-friendly collection of the best barbeque recipes the South has to offer.

The book's barbeque dishes are as diverse as they are delicious. Conveniently arranged in two chapters, "Low and Slow" and "Speed BBQ," the recipes include regional specialties like Texas-style smoked brisket and feature the offerings of famous barbeque restaurants including Crook's Corner in North Carolina. Other classic barbeque standouts include sweet-hot baby back ribs and grilled honey-mustard pork tenderloin. For readers who are not carnivorous, the cookbook also has sumptuous barbeque recipes with seafood that rival its meaty counterparts, such as fresh herb-rubbed salmon fillets and hickory smoked barbeque shrimp.

Big Book of BBQ is perfect for novice grillers as it begins with a helpful how-to in the proper preparation of the grill and a toothsome list of BBQ-appropriate sauces, side dishes, libations, and desserts. The editors of Southern Living magazine have also marked a clear path for experienced readers who aspire to barbeque connoisseurship. In addition to outlining the best way to barbeque pork, beef, mutton, and chicken, the book boasts comprehensive descriptions of three barbequing methods: direct and indirect grilling and smoking.

All in all, this cookbook is a masterful blend of instruction, preparation, and exploration.  Big Book of BBQ pairs recipes with guides to the best barbeque restaurants and fairs in the Southern states. It is a great culinary guide for those interested in preparing authentic and savory barbeque dishes.

Reviewed by Shanda Marion

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