Barbecue Bros Book Club: “Praise the Lard” by Mike Mills and Amy Mills

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.

Linkdown: 12/1/21

In a collaboration you simply love to see: Jon G’s is collaborating with Salud Beer Shop to create a series of barbecue-inspired pizzas available until all month until December 24. The Monk clan used to live down the street from Salud when we lived in NoDa and I am a huge supporter of what Jason and his wife Dairelyn have built; what started out as a kickass bottle shop soon expanded to a small brewery and coffee shop upstairs before offering creative pizzas more recently. Its long been my favorite beer bar in Charlotte and all of North Carolina. And you don’t have to take just my word for it; they’ve been voted “Best Beer Bar” in the U.S. three years running.

Put together by mutual friend Stephen Philpott, these pizzas look simply delicious:

🍕The Jon: Brisket, Jalapenos, Pickled Red Onions, Jon G’s Barbecue Sauce, Salt and Vinegar chips, Chives, Smoked Sea Salt, Black Pepper.

🍕The Kelly: Cheesey Tex Sausage Link, Mozzarella, Bacon, Chopped Calabrian Chilies, Ham, Crispy Cajun Onions, House Honey Mustard, Chives.

🍕The Philpott: Cheerwine Sausage, House Chimichurri, Salud Kutless Lager Braised Sweet Onions, Bianco Dinapoli Tomatoes, Mozzarella.

The pizzas are available at Salud and I hope to try at least one but hopefully all three this month.

Native News

Jon G’s will finally be at Rhino Market in Wesley Heights tomorrow

Carolina Smoke, a food truck in Morganton, has opened its brick and mortar dubbed Carolina Smoke Barbeque Grill and Copper Still

Barbecue books from Asheville-area Buxton Hall and 12 Bones make great gifts

The First Pickles, Pigs, & Swigs Festival in Mount Olive looked to be a success

Non-Native News

More on the reopening of Franklin Barbecue indoor dining

Marie, Let’s Eat! makes a stop at the 75-year old Carlile’s BBQ in Birmingham

Dr. BBQ is a spokesman for the National Turkey Federation and recently stopped by WGN Radio

Bringles Smoking Oasis opens this Saturday in Nashville

Zavala’s Barbecue is in expansion mode

Linkdown: 1/20/21

Featured

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.

Native News

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

Non-Native News

Steven Raichlen of Barbecue Bible links to his piece from last summer on the contributions of Black pitmasters to the world of barbecue

Evan LeRoy of LeRoy & Lewis reflects on questions you should ask yourself before you open a food truck

The story behind Estrada’s Texas Barbeque

Ruthie’s All Day is a True ‘Cue certified joint in Arlington that John Tanner recently tried for brunch but vows to return for a regular visit

Burnt BBQ & Tacos in Plano is the latest example of a pivot to barbecue

One more tribute to Mike Mills