The HuffPost’s “Between the Lines” series explores the origin of barbecue in America and specifically Black pitmaster contributions through interviews with “Soul Food Scholar” Adrian Miller, Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque in Savannah, and Terrence “Big Perm” Nicholson of Zilla’s Pit BBQ in Nashville. Of note, Furman discusses his goal to host pop-ups around the country with other Black pitmasters to use his platform to help spotlight them. Which sounds awesome.
Description: Barbecue is a staple of American culture. But where does it come from? It turns out, this cooking style predates the country itself. But BBQ isn’t just about food. It’s also about honoring the cuisine’s history and preserving its future.
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: For some reason, it’s taken me years to finally read “Franklin Barbecue: A Meat Smoking Manifesto” as I assumed it was just yet another barbecue recipe book, albeit one from the man behind the most renowned barbecue restaurant in America. But I’m happy to report that it’s so much more than than – more textbook than cookbook – and is a valuable reference for any backyard smoker.
Aaron Franklin and co-author Jordan Mackay, a California based wine writer, take their time before they get to the meat of the matter. The first chapter covers Franklin’s humble beginnings with barbecue and how he leveled up from backyard smoking on a cheap offset to the restaurant he has today (his wife Stacey partnering with him the whole way). It’s a story that has been well-covered before but perhaps not to the depth Franklin writes about in this first chapter.
Franklin (the writing is primarily in his voice) then goes hardcore textbook on the reader, discussing different types of smokers (including the thermodynamics behind how they work) and even how to construct your own offset or modify an existing one if you’ve got one already.
The next chapters cover the wood, fire management for smoking, and finally the meat. Franklin goes in depth into the different types of wood used for barbecue, how to start and maintain the fire during a smoke, and the different meats he smokes (with a particular focus on brisket, naturally).
Finally, he gets to the main event in Chapter 6 (“The Cook”), which builds on the previous three chapters. From the prep work needed to being the smoke to the basics of smoking meat to different spices commonly found in barbecue rubs to the dreaded stall and finally the myth behind the smoke ring. Any aspiring pitmaster will surely pore over every page of this section, dog-earing along the way.
The last quarter of the book is where you will find recipes on how to smoke each meat as well as what sides and sauces to make and even what to drink with barbecue. Franklin is clearly a beer guy, and he gives in-depth thoughts about which beers pair the best with barbecue (avoid IPAs and higher ABV beers, for instance).
I will surely be returning to “Franklin Barbecue: A Meat Smoking Manifesto” as I continue my backyard smoking experiments during the pandemic, and as you will read next week this and the “Franklin Steak” book will soon be occupying permanent space on my bookshelf.
Barbecue man Wyatt Dickson and farmer Ryan Butler join the NC F&B Podcast to learn hosts Max and Matthew a little something about barbecue and discuss their upcoming Wyatt’s Barbecue restaurant in downtown Raleigh, which will have freshly baked buns from their neighbor and abundant parking.
Description: According to Wyatt Dickson, pitmaster of Picnic and the soon-to-be-opening Wyatt’s Barbecue, almost every noteworthy barbecue restaurant in Eastern NC has great fried chicken. But what is “barbecue” exactly? Wyatt has some thoughts on the term.On today’s episode, we talk with Wyatt and his partner in crime Ryan Butler about how the pair met after leaving their white collar jobs to barbecue, what makes NC so special in terms of food and agriculture, and what to expect from Wyatt’s Barbecue in Raleigh (P.S. you can pick up Wyatt’s every Thursday in Gateway Plaza!). Tune into the episode now with the link in the comments!