As the December wind draws snowflakes from an ashen sky, I find myself repairing by the fireplace, hot cup of cocoa in hand, relaxing music in tune, and musing aloud over the soft intricacies of a winter’s day. I like how the snow falls on the spruce outside my window pane, complimenting each other in the perfect marriage. Heavy snow drooped on bended bow, with chickadees darting to and fro, and this fire that which warms my feet, well, it is all that I can ask of a winter day. A day so cold and so unforgiving, I am quite certain there is a third-grader in a school yard somewhere, with his tongue at this moment fused to a flag pole. You know it happens. Don’t ask me now.
Anyways, as I tarry here, quite content by this fire, I should like to tell you about a book I’ve been reading. A good read, as far as BBQ is concerned. Chalk full of recipe and technique; it is surely a treasure trove for that. But moreover, weaved amid it’s musty-scented pages, there are stories. And that’s what I find I am enjoying most. The stories. Stories of one man’s BBQ sojourn. From watching his Dad kneel over the backyard pit, to one day entering BBQ competitions and opening restaurants built on time tested Q.
Peace, Love, and Barbecue was referred to me by a once upon a time subscriber to this blog, and I took him at his word, and ordered myself a copy in a prompt fashion. We do not all that often review books, and nobody even asked us to review this one, it’s just that I’ve quite enjoyed this read, and thought maybe you guys would too.
Mike Mills, the author, has had quite the life in BBQ. As the owner of 17th Street Bar and Grill, in Marion Illinois, he has seen it all from his favorite stool down at the end of the bar. From serving ribs to Norm, from Cheers, to having his freezer explode into a cloud of hurling pig shrapnel. I found myself chuckling enough to slop some hot cocoa on my belly whilst reading this book. He even delivered his BBQ to Bill Clinton one time, aboard air force one. That’s the kind of stories I’m talking about here. And they fill the meat of the book like a good injected marinade. I’m not done with it yet, so I can’t tell you how it ends. But I thought I’d share with you that it looks to be a good one thus far. A fine literary compadre on a day so keen and so cold as this.
And so as soft music plays gently in stride, and the snow flakes continue to fall, I toss another billet onto the fire, and cozy back up with this BBQ narrative. Like a good brisket, or pork shoulder, like any worthy act in BBQ, I find that I am in no hurry to rush it along. Good things ought never to be rushed. We get hurried along enough in life as it is, so why cling to haste if we don’t have to. Yup, I’m taking my time with this one. Stretching it out. Savoring it. Slowly turning the pages to see what’s next. Something we all should do with good reads. Good people. And proper BBQ. Amen.
*Potp is an amazon affiliate with this book. We sincerely do appreciate your support.
Oh yes, and Merry Christmas also to our fabulous and esteemed readership. Thanks for another year!
“To say barbecue in the South is a big deal is an understatement. It’s about sharing an age-old tradition with family and friends -enjoying the fundamentals in life: food and fellowship.”
-Taken from Southern Living Ultimate Book of BBQ
Now I don’t know about you, but I like that quote. I like it more than I can tell you. A person can digress over a great many things concerning BBQ, from technique to recipe, but at the end of the day, it’s all about sharing something good with the people around you. And BBQ is good! It is a sad affair indeed, the lonely pit master who has not one person in his lot to share with his smokey wares. Good BBQ cannot be hoarded. Nay, it ought to be shared.
Which brings me to this cook book from the good folks at Southern Living. They have shared quite a bit in this one. I’ve had the good fortune to peruse its pages over the last few days, whilst taking up residence in my man chair, with a lovely beverage at hand of course. Thumbing through the book, and being a man, I was at once taken by the pretty pictures. It was bitter-sweet however. Because here at this blog we try our very best to snap the finest pictures we can, taking great pains with light and subject, but after seeing the food photography in this book, our pittance might as well have come from the fumbling shutter of a preschooler. My but it was good. I did rather fancy the photos.
It is well written too. And diverse. It says in the book, “if you ask 10 different southerners their thoughts on the best barbecue, you’re bound to get 10 different answers“. And it’s true. That’s BBQ alright, and the book seems to captures that essence pretty good. It looks to have it all, from BBQ basics, to expert cooking tips from pit blokes like Troy Black, Myron Mixon and Robb Walsh. But the main force behind the book, is pit master Christopher Prieto. This is his first cook book. You might have seen him on the television show, BBQ Pit Masters, which is a great show, BTW. Or if you’re really lucky, you live in North Carolina, and eat his BBQ in person. And to this end, you have our sincere envy. As the owner of Prime Barbecue, in Raleigh, NC, Christopher and his team will be happy to cater to you there, or in surrounding areas. Come to Minnesota young Christopher! We need you here!
Anyways, the Ultimate Book of BBQ is a lovely compilation of more than 200 recipes of utter BBQ succulence, that I think are Christopher’s. From ribs to chicken to brisket to salmon to soup to collard greens. No point in scratching your head, it has it all. It’s the ultimate book of BBQ after all. In point of fact, here is an excerpt recipe for some Cackalacky Sauce, as seen in the above photo, that you might want to try. No, we have no idea what a cackalacky is either. Must be a North Carolina thing. But check out this tasty sauce!
Anyways, there you go. A little review of the latest cook book to come by the pit. Pros: It’s well articulated, deliciously diverse, and beautifully photographed. Also impressively inspired from one, Christopher Prieto. This bloke can smoke! Cons: A bit pricey at $25 bucks a copy, but what isn’t these days. Other than that, we liked pert near every thing about it. So if you’re looking for inspiration for your next BBQ, or a great gift for your pit master, you’d do well to check out Southern Living Ultimate Book of BBQ. Read it. Barbecue something good. Then share it at once with some one that you love, and enjoy some of life’s fundamentals: in food and fellowship. Amen.