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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Barbeque, Barbecue, Bar-B-Q or BBQ?

barbecue sign photo
Photo David Reber
No matter how you like to spell it, barbecue is a summer staple and May is National Barbecue Month.

In the US, the word barbecue can refer to the slow cooking of meat, often pork, by smoking, roasting or braising. Barbecue is also the end product of this cooking process. Barbecue can be used in a sentence like “Come over for a barbecue!” which means a gathering centered around the grill, the picnic table, and—possibly—cold beer.

Barbecue comes out of the South, and the styles of cooking, the spices, rubs and sauces are famously regional. Texas, Memphis, Kansas City, Kentucky, North Carolina—all places that claim distinctive styles of cooking and flavoring the meat. I’m not going to open up the discussion about which is best—they’re all good!

But say you'd like to make your own decision about which kind of barbecue is best. You could take The Ultimate Barbecue Road Trip: 60 BBQ joints over 5,000 miles. If that seems a bit overwhelming, you could pare the trip down by two thirds and try The South's 20 Best BBQ Joints from Southern Living magazine.

Even better, you could attend the 28th Annual National Championship Barbecue Cookoff to be held this October in Meridian, Texas. In 2014, there were over 190 teams competing for the top prizes, and, if you win a qualifying event, you could be there too!. They even have a 5K fun run as part of the celebration, which probably helps to work off some of the BBQ calories consumed on site.

Not everyone has the time for barbecue pilgrimages though, and so MCPL once again can come to the rescue with suggestions from our collection!

Virgil's cookbook
Virgil's Cookbook
Virgil's Barbecue Road Trip Cookbook: the best barbecue from around the country, without ever leaving your backyard by Neal Corman provides the home barbecue chef with 98 recipes that take the best from North Carolina, Texas, Memphis, and Kansas City. Also included are the side dishes like coleslaw, and the desserts like banana pudding that round out your BBQ dinner. And I understand some grilled veggie recipes are also in there somewhere.

Legends of Texas BBQ
Barbecue pit bosses, equivalent to the chef de cuisine in a fancy French restaurant, stamp their operations with their own personality. The Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook: recipes and recollections from the pit bosses" by Robb Walsh, is both a practical cookbook and a guided tour of Texas barbecue lore. Readers get straightforward advice right from the pit masters themselves. Archival photography looks back over more than 100 years of barbecue history, from the first turn of the century squirrel roasts to candid shots of Lyndon Johnson chowing down on a plate of ribs.

Paul Kirk's Championship Barbecue
Paul Kirk's
Maybe you have a hankering to try your culinary chops at a BBQ competition. For some recipes and advice on how to take the blue ribbon, you could take a look at Paul Kirk's Championship Barbecue: bbq your way to greatness with 575 lip-smackin' recipes from the baron of barbecue by Paul Kirk. Mr. Kirk is a 7 time World BBQ Champion, and teaches Pit Master classes around the US, so his advice is well worth heeding.

BBQ USA
To be sure that you haven't left out some corner of the US BBQ scene, you'll want to review the chapter list of Steven Raichlen's BBQ USA : 425 fiery recipes from all across America by Steven Raichlen. The author promises recipes from every state, Puerto Rico and Canada. Even California gets a nod with recipes for grilled dates, Caesar salad, lamb shanks, and mussels.

Man Alive
Man Alive!
Once you've cooked and eaten yourself into a BBQ fueled stupor, relax with the humorous and warmhearted Man Alive! by Mary Kay Zuravleff. When pediatric psychologist Owen Lerner is struck by lightning, he survives—except that now the only thing he wants to do is devote himself to is the art of the barbecue, following the call of food and fire. His family and his patients are thrown into turmoil, but Owen believes he is better off.

So get on that barbecue trail, or cook up some pulled pork this summer! And save some for me.



Cinbad


Anita

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