Not that we’re anywhere close to being qualified enough to evaluate books but more so as a public service announcement we will periodically discuss barbecue and barbecue-related books.
Monk: Maybe its just since I’ve been paying attention more, but the past few years has seen an explosion of barbecue books in conjunction with the barbecue boom. “Praise The Lard: Recipes and Revelations from a Legendary Life in Barbecue” by the late Mike Mills and his daughter and business partner Amy came out in 2017 and is their second book after 2005’s “Peace, Love, & Barbecue” and was on the front edge of the recent barbecue book trend.
Mike and Amy are able to set their book apart from some of those other books by managing to infuse their voice throughout the book instead of just in an introductory chapter or two. Of course there is that chapter that explains how the barbecue restaurant got started after finding success on the competition circuit. But unlike some other books I’ve read recently, they return throughout the rest of the book.
They connect their recipes to their family history and speaking of history, they sprinkle a little bit of the history of their town Murphysboro, IL throughout the book.
They also aren’t shy about shouting out brands they use, which I actually think is one of the best parts of the book. From seasonings and spices to specialty sodas to cookware to barbecue gear and gadgets, they’ve got a multiple page list in the back that shows you where to get that they prefer. Of course they also have that list on their website so you don’t need the physical book for that.
Another standout is the photography by the always-excellent Ken Goodman, who also did Ed Randolph’s “Smoked” book in 2019.
Sadly, Mike Mills passed away in December 2020 but he was truly a towering figure in the world of barbecue. “Praise the Lard” is a small but worthy part of his legacy.
Would I add this to my bookshelf?
More than most recent books, the answer is possibly yes. Actually, I might want to check out “Peace, Love, and Barbecue” first and then make a decision.
Kingsford Charcoal has announced the “Preserve the Pit” Fellowship to celebrate the Black contribution to barbecue and help aspiring pitmasters through a monetary grant and a hands-on mentorship. That mentorship will be provided by several notable barbecue personalities and pitmasters: Kevin Bludso of Bludso’s BBQ in Compton as well as Netflix’s American Barbecue Showdown, Rashad Jones of Big Lee’s BBQ, Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque, Devita Davison of the non-profit FoodLab, Amy Mills of 17th Street Barbecue, and Dr. Howard Conyers of PBS’s Nourish.
It’s fantastic to see Kingsford celebrate Black barbecue and put their money where their mouth is with this fellowship investing in the future of it. I look forward to seeing who makes the class of 2021 and what they do with this great opportunity. Applications are due by March 1 and the inaugural class of fellows will be announced in April.
A sneak peak of Lawrence Barbecue’s setup in Boxyard RTP
Ed Mitchell will be appearing on this panel alongside Dr. Howard Conyers and “Black Smoke” Adrian Miller on February 10
Stay with me here: Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall will offer “Chucktown-style” barbecue in South Jersey; the owner Charles Soreth was inspired by his trip to Charleston for his Chucktown BBQ pop-up, but no word on what exactly “Chucktown” style is
Brooklyn barbecue restaurants taking part in NYC’s Restaurant Week To Go
How craft barbecue and craft chocolate intersect at Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue
Lewis Donald’s goal for Sweet Lew’s BBQ has always been more than just crafting great barbecue. He is wanting to give back to the community, whether that’s hiring workers from the Belmont neighborhood where his restaurant is located, hosting back-to-school carnivals with free haircuts at the restaurant, and now hiring a barbecue apprentice from the local culinary school at Central Piedmont Community College. Watch the video at the link below to learn more about Keywon and how he was introduced to Lewis. I’m looking forward to seeing big things from Keywon in the future.
While the Ed Mitchell’s The Preserve restaurant is still delayed, starting this Friday they will be offering a takeout/pickup service running out of the Carolina Ale House off Falls of Neuse
Steven Raichlen of Barbecue Bible links to his piece from last summer on the contributions of Black pitmasters to the world of barbecue
A couple of big barbecue books are now available for pre-order. “Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ” by Rodney Scott and Lolis Eric Elie will be released on March 16 and Adrian Miller’s “Black Smoke” from UNC Press will be out on April 27. Both are available for preorder now here and here, and I can’t wait to read both of them to get different perspectives on barbecue. I strongly encourage you to do the same. -Monk
Congrats to RayNathan’s in Gastonia on celebrating 2 years open as of this past Sunday
Wyatt’s Barbecue is one of Eater Carolinas’ 17 most anticipated restaurants in 2021
More on the passing of the legendary Mike Mills
CM Smokehouse from Cade Mercer gives South Austin a new and promising food truck option
Texas Monthly makes the case for a barbecue tour of the Texoma region north of Dallas
Robert Sietsema recently posted this photo of Billy Durney of Hometown BBQ from happier times
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