Monk: To get you prepared for Thankgiving next week, here’s the three BBQ with Franklin videos on Thanksgiving from 2012. Aaron leads you through the brine, rub, and smoking in part 1 before his wife Stacy helps with some great sides in part 2 before Aaron brings it on home in finishing up the turkey and making a gravy.
Description: Part 1: Learn how to brine and smoke a turkey with Aaron
Part 2: Stacy Franklin shares a couple recipes that go perfectly with a smoked turkey. Learn how to make smoked garlic mashed potatoes and a grilled green bean shishito pepper side dish. Aaron also explains how to tell when the turkey is getting done and what to do in the last hour of smoking.
Part 3: How to tell when your turkey is finished plus make a beautiful gravy with smoked butter.
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: Michael Symon’s Playing with Fire: BBQ and More from the Grill, Smoker, and Fireplace: A Cookbook is part of a recent trend of cookbooks from barbecue personalities. See: Rodney Scott (2021), Aaron Franklin (2015), Matthew Register (2019), Christopher Prieto (2019), Ed Randolph (2019), Sam Jones (2019), and Elliott Moss (2016). Not that I mind, as it has clearly given me lots of content over the years.
As for Michael Symon’s contribution to the barbecue cookbook world (which came out in 2018), he starts off with a short “love letter to live-fire cooking” and that sets the tone for the rest of the book. Not strictly a barbecue book, Symon includes a lot of grilling recipes informed by his love of Cleveland.
Symon makes his case for “Cleveland-style barbecue,” which is “a style and menu that draw upon Cleveland’s rich cultural heritage, much of which is firmly rooted in eastern Europe.” He goes on “We season meats with Jewish deli-style pastrami spices, our kielbasa is made by a sixty-year-old Ukrainian butcher at the West Side Market, we smoke over locally sourced apple- and cherrywoods; we serve Hungarian-based sides like spaetzle and cabbage; our tangy mustard-based sauce is designed around the legendary local stadium-style mustard Bertman Ball Park.”
Outside of the typical barbecue recipes, that is what sets this book apart. I was disappointed that we only really get Symon’s perspective in the introductory letter and some of the short intros to the recipes. Contrasted with Rodney Scott’s recent book that bared so much of his barbecue soul and history, it seems like a missed opportunity.
All in all, Michael Symon’s “Playing with Fire” features nice food photography and a slightly different point of view, but is far from an essential barbecue book. I’d recommend checking out the books from Sam Jones, Elliott Moss, Rodney Scott, or Aaron Franklin first and then preview this book at your library to see if Cleveland-style barbecue and live-fire cooking with ingredients native to that region is of interest to you.
Monk: In this short feature from UNC TV’s NC Weekend, host Deborah Holt Noel traverses across the city, taking in all the tastes and experiences it has to offer. From wakeboarding to donuts to breweries and wineries.
But of course, there’s also barbecue. On that front, she visits the barbecue pit that was discovered during the renovation of City Hall in 2014 (1:01) which also contains all of the posters of The Barbecue Festival (2:00) which brings in 150,000 visitors each October and will continue next year.
No trip to Lexington is complete without actually eating barbecue, and she wraps up the barbecue content in this video by visiting the two most prominent restaurants in Lexington Barbecue (3:19 and Bar-B-Q Center (4:45), which started as an ice cream parlor.
Description: There’s so much to do in Lexington that you can spend an entire weekend there and that’s just what we did with visits to breweries, wineries, restaurants, donut shops, even a wake park! Lexington, NC https://visitlexingtonnc.com/