Best Barbecue Cookbooks

Check out GAYOT's pick for the Best BBQ Cookbooks for everything from grilling 101 to regional recipes, marinades and rubs.

BBQ Cookbooks Devoted to Grilling

Grilling, like any other kind of cooking, is as much an art form as it is fun to eat and though some may find it intimidating, there’s no shortage of grill experts ready to share their knowledge and recipes with carefully crafted and visually detailed cookbooks and guides.

From grilling basics like choosing a charcoal versus a gas grill to secrets from pitmasters and regional BBQ recipes from Texas to Japan, GAYOT’s list of the Best Barbecue Cookbooks has it all. You’ll find recipes on grilling up the best cuts of meat, veggies, seafood and more.

Be sure to also check out our complete Guide to All Things BBQ for even more ideas to make your summer cookouts shine.

By: Bobby Flay
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Originally Published: 2013

The Food Network star and barbecue expert shares his barbecue tips and tricks.

Food Network fans are well aware Bobby Flay knows his way around a grill and the man behind Mesa Grill in Vegas and Gato in NY, has published many tomes dedicated to grilling but this one, named after his show, breaks down the entire BBQ experience from the various cookers, fuels and woods to how to tell when a steak is done. From sparkling bourbon lemonade to grilled shrimp skewers and cilantro-mint chutney, there are 150 recipes for drink, starters and sides for the ultimate BBQ meal all displayed in 100 mouthwatering photos.

By: Aaron Franklin with Jordan Mackay
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Originally Published: 2015

James Beard award winning chef Aaron Franklin tells the story behind his eponymous BBQ restaurant, recognized as one of the best barbecue joints in the US.

Aaron Franklin and his wife Stacy opened Franklin Barbecue in 2009 on an interstate in Austin, Texas and the droves of people flocked to his brisket like any good Texan would. In this manifesto, Franklin reaps poetic about the craft of barbecuing and provides more of a bare bones approach to barbecuing relying on the ethos that it’s more about quality meat and cooking style and less about recipes. Within its 224 pages readers will find detailed instructions on how to build (or buy) a smoker, how to built and maintain a good fire, the basics of smoking meat and what to look for when purchasing quality meat. The book wouldn’t be complete without its share of recipes but, true to form, he keeps it basic with only 11 actual recipes though each is extensively detailed (his famous brisket recipe is 19 pages long including how to properly slice it).

By: Steven Raichlen
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
Originally Published: 2001

Calling all aspiring grillmasters! This book includes 1,000 full-color step by step photos.

They say a photo is worth a thousand words and with a thousand photos this guide by Steven Raichlen is an extensive technique book on how to fully take on any and all aspect of the grilling process from how to set up a fire to how to smoke ribs and grill pizza. Raichlen doesn’t discriminate ethnic styles featuring recipes like North Carolina pulled pork and Memphis-style ribs alongside Japanese yakitori, Argentine ribs and tandoori lamb chops. What’s barbecue without sauces, rubs and sides and even grilled creme brûlée? The full barbecue experience is masterfully laid out so it’s no wonder food giants Mario Batali and Tom Colicchio sing its praises.

By: Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Originally Published: 2011

Japanese flavors meet American live-fire grilling in this fusion cookbook.

Chef Tadashi Ono along with food writer Harris Salat introduce readers to the basics of Japanese grilling styles and flavors. Learn about the Japanese art of umami (fermented seasoning), the three key marinades: garlic-soy sauce, Yuzu kosho and veggie marinage along with recipes including yakitori (twice grilled meat and veggies), skirt steak with red miso, garlic-soy sauce porterhouse and chicken teriyaki. His top 10 grilling secrets include marinate with a flat-bottomed vessel, keep the vents open in charcoal grills and brush and oil the grate every time.

By: Meathead Goldwyn
Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Originally Published: 2016

Founder and editor of the wildly popular Amazingribs.com shares insider info on all things barbecue.

There’s technique then there’s the methods and reasons behind those techniques and that’s where Meathead Goldwyn’s research-based cookbook comes into play. Along with food scientist and physicist Greg Blonder, he shatters grilling myths including that bone-in steaks taste better and that meat should be seared first, then cooked. Beyond just being a cookbook (it has more than 100 recipes), this guide seeks to unearth the science of grilling and shares the results with readers including why searing doesn’t seal in juices, how salt penetrates but spices don’t and when to use charcoal versus gas.

By: Andy Husbands & Chris Hart
Publisher: Fair Winds Press
Originally Published: 2017

Pit master Andy Husbands, the man behind Boston’s Tremont 647, Sister Sorel and The Smoke Shop, joins forces with fellow pit masters to share their knowledge and unique grilling styles. Among the guest pitmasters there’s Billy Durney of Hometown Bar-B-Que, Steve Raichlen of Project Smoke and John Lewis of Lewis Barbecue. The book points a spotlight on regional barbecue styles including the Carolinas, Kansas City and the head honcho, Texas with recipes for butterfly pork butt burnt ends, central Texas beef ribs, and Memphis-style ribs with specific use of grills including Weber, Offset and Kamado.

By: Steven Raichlen
Publisher: Workman Publishing
Originally Published: 2016

This companion book to the PBS show of the same name is a smoking bible for barbecue aficionados and amateurs alike.

Steven Raichlen’s seven steps to smoking- including choose your smoker and source your fuel- are just some of the rules you’ll find in this guide to three different styles of smoking: hot-smoking, cold-smoking and smoke-roasting. The recipes range from basic to innovative and include starters and desserts with everything in between with bacon-crab poppers, cherry-glazed baby back ribs and brisket smoked in foil (the Texas crutch) among the 100 recipes. The book has something for readers of all skill levels and includes the 10 commandments of smoking so if you’re looking for a thorough yet approachable take on the process look no further.

By: Matt Moore
Publisher: Oxmoor House
Originally Published: 2017

Matt Moore explores the Barbecue Belt of America tasting various styles of pork butt along the way.

Matt Moore takes a culinary adventure through the South’s Barbecue belt exploring the different variations of pork butt served up by some of the most prominent pitmasters. The book is broken up into three parts: part one breaks down some BBQ basics and the various regional differences in styles; part two takes Moore on his journey through some of the best smokehouses in the US including Heirloom Market BBQ in Atlanta, Wilbur’s Barbecue in North Carolina, B-Daddy’s BBQ in Texas and Bigg Butts BBQ in Arkansas; part three is all about the trimmings and while it includes the expected Southern sides like okra fries and fried green tomatoes, there are a few non-traditional recipes mixed in such as smoked brisket pho and pulled pork Mexican lasagna.

By: Southern Living
Publisher: Oxmoor House
Originally Published: 2017

The book includes 115 authentic recipes and spotlights some of the best BBQ joints from The Lone Star state.

When it comes to the ‘que, no other state plays as prominent a role in the grilling game than Texas. The editors of Southern Living compiled this collection of not only recipes but tip from pitmasters and highlights of the most notable bbq joints in the state for a true ode to the state’s love and mastery of BBQ. From condiments including a brisket dry rub and Texas caviar to smoked caviar baby back ribs and smoky chicken, the recipes and their scrumptious accompanying photos make enjoying a real Texas BBQ feel possible without having to step foot on Texas soil.

By: Jamie Purviance
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Originally Published: 2009

With more than 1,000 photos, this grill guidebook takes you step by step through the barbecue process.

The easy-to-follow format of this cookbook gives readers all the essential info within each chapter featuring more than 40 recipes for grilling practically any food including ribs and seafood to fruits and vegetables. Purviance, one of America’s top grilling experts, also provides recipes for marinades, sauces and rubs and photos that illustrate how to tell when the meat is done. It doesn’t get any clearer or more visually appealing than this.

Related Content: 
 GAYOT’s Picks for the Best BBQ Restaurants in the US
GAYOT’s Guide to Beef Cuts