Barbecue Bros Book Club: “Franklin Barbecue: A Meat Smoking Manifesto” by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay

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.

Linkdown: 5/20/20

Heim Barbecue laments rising meat prices in this piece from the local Fort Worth paper: “I’m afraid these meat shortages are going to be the final nail in the coffin for a lot of independent BBQ joints” 

In NC, JD’s Smokehouse in Connelly Springs has been having issues procuring meat

Rodney Scott’s newest barbecue store won’t open in Atlanta by the end of the spring as originally planned, but they are still moving forward

For those barbecue fans looking for a new ebook

Pork prices have increased by 3%

Five spots for “quarantine barbecue” in Asheville, according to the AVL Today blog

NYC barbecue takeout options

Quite the photo here

Even the NC Museum of History is getting in on “The Last Dance” memes

Friday Find: CBS This Morning visits Franklin Barbecue

Yet another behind the scenes look at Franklin Barbecue:

“Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto” shows what Aaron Franklin has perfected since smoking beef brisket for friends in his back yard. Franklin says all good Texans barbecue, but he is special: a James Beard Award winner with eager customers who wait for hours at his restaurant. Vinita Nair takes a behind-the-scenes look at Franklin Barbeque in Austin, Texas.

Linkdown: 5/6/15

– Charlotte Agenda’s 12 things they learned from a short conversation with pitmaster Matt Barry and owner Frank Scibelli

(1) Midwood Smokehouse will open more restaurants. Frank is about to ton it with the sale of Bad Daddy’s. $21 million. He struck me as incredibly smart and he’ll use some of this cash to open more locations. Sounds like Columbia, SC is in the cards for 2016 and a Southpark location could happen soon(ish). I tried to grill him about the Bad Daddy’s sale and Southpark location, but as charming as I am, he didn’t give me anything juicy.

– Marie, Let’s Eat! visits Golden Rule Bar-B-Que, one of the oldest restaurants in the southeast, dating back to 1891

– The Smoking Ho reviews Aaron Franklin’s new book Franklin Barbecue: A Meat Smoking Manifesto

– Q 4 Fun reviews The Ultimate Book of BBQ by NC pitmaster Christopher Prieto

– Daniel Vaughn helped Sam Jones smoke a whole hog at BBQ on the Neuse this past weekend

– Robert Moss’s list of underrated SC barbecue for First We Feast

– Speaking of Robert Moss, his new book Barbecue Lover’s the Carolinas is out tomorrow