Barbecue Bros Book Club: “Southern Smoke” by Matthew Register

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.

Matthew Register’s first cookbook “Southern Smoke: Barbecue, Traditions, and Treasured Recipes Reimagined for Today” came out in May 2019 on the same day as books from both Sam Jones and Ed Randolph. While Sam Jones’ told the story of his family’s barbecue legacy (with some recipes) and Randolph’s book featured profiles on various pitmasters and barbecue personalities (with recipes), Southern Smoke is more of a traditional cookbook heavy on the recipes from a few specific regions of the South. And its not all about just barbecue.

Matthew Register’s barbecue star has been on the rise since this book was published last year, between features in Southern Living and Garden & Gun magazines as well as stops on the food festival circuit at Charleston Wine + Food as well as Atlanta Food & Wine. As for the Southern Smoke barbecue restaurant itself, it has been on my list for years to visit but between the fact that Garland is 3.5 hours away and the store is only open on Thursdays and Fridays (due to their catering business), so far a visit there has yet to come to fruition.

The first quarter of the book is dedicated to barbecue, starting off with the basics of smoking as well as traditional North Carolina barbecue and slaws (both eastern and Lexington). Nothing earth shattering there if you’ve read other barbecue books or have done any smoking yourself. From there, Register continues with non-barbecue North Carolina dishes such as collard chowder as well as several seafood dishes like Lenoir County fish stew and fried Spanish mackerel harp, reflecting his hometown of Garland’s position not far from the Atlantic Ocean beaches of NC. Register introduces each dish and his personal history with it and in many cases is able to provide some history on it.

Then, what really sets the book apart from the usual barbecue cookbook is the subsequent chapters featuring recipes from the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia as well as from Memphis and the Mississippi Delta. I don’t expect you would find recipes in other barbecue books for dishes such as Country Captain Chicken, James Island shrimp pie, delta tamales, or Kool Aid pickles.

Register finishes the book with a chapter on baking, as well as some supper menus (like “Low Country Boil” or “Surf and Turf Carolina Style”), a list of recommended pantry items, and a list of barbecue and southern cookbooks that Register recommends.

I’ll likely never attempt most of the recipes in “Southern Smoke” but its a wonderfully put together reference book that I’m happy to have sit on my shelf alongside some of my favorite barbecue history and recipe books.

Available at Amazon or wherever you buy books

Friday Find: Southern Smoke’s Matthew Register on The Manual Podcast

Matthew Register of Southern Smoke BBQ made another podcast stop last year to promote his book as well as his restaurant.

Description: “For this week’s episode of The Manual Podcast, the gang’s all here as Nicole, Sam, and Greg sit down with Matthew Register, founder of Garland, North Carolina barbecue joint Southern Smoke BBQ.

Not formally trained as a chef, Register first started cooking in his backyard and one day set out a goal for himself: if he could sell a certain number of sandwiches, he would open a restaurant. If you couldn’t guess, he did (in fact he ended up selling three times his goal), and the idea for Southern Smoke was born. Since then, Register’s business has grown to include catering and more. In this episode, he talks about what it was like to get there, and what it means for him to now be considered one of the guys when it comes to Carolina barbecue pitmasters.

During the discussion, too, the crew talks with Register about barbecue sides and why it doesn’t always have to be the same ol’ things. Thai chiles? Sure. Squash and rice pudding? Yes, please.

Finally, Register talks about why fall is the perfect time for grilling — the fatty meat helps fortify when the weather drops (in addition to it finally being bearable outside, especially in the South).

If you didn’t eat before listening to this episode, you’re going to be starving by the end (we were).”

Friday Find: Southern Smoke BBQ’s Matthew Register on Kevin’s BBQ Joints

Monk: Southern Smoke BBQ has been on my list for a few years now, and someday I just need to bite the bullet and head out to Garland (3+ hrs from Charlotte) as part of an eastern NC barbecue road trip. I will have to be sure to get there on time since Southern Smoke is only open on Thursdays for lunch and Fridays for lunch and dinner (dinner being a recent change) and they sell out every day they open (sometimes in as little as 45 minutes).

In this interview, Matthew comes off as an easygoing and affable southern guy, which makes sense since he’s spent most of his life in eastern NC outside of a 9-month stint in Nashville. I’ve gotten through some of his book released earlier this year but plan to finish it soon after listening to this conversation. Another good interview from Kevin’s BBQ Joints.

Description: In this episode I chat with Matthew Register from Southern Smoke BBQ in Garland, North Carolina about his unique journey to opening his equally unique barbecue restaurant which is only open two days a week and on most days has an exceptional line(which they get through very expeditiously. They do a large amount of catering business, have a food truck, and in the spring of 2019 he launched a book entitled Southern Smoke: Barbecue, Traditions, and Treasured Recipes Reimagined for Today which is broken down specifically into three sections: Low Country, Memphis/Delta, & North Carolina. There is also a unique section on how through a southern dinner party. It’s an exceptionally interesting and insightful interview that I know you’ll enjoy.

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Linkdown: 8/28/19

Robert Moss’s annual top 50 barbecue list for Southern Living is always worth a read, and this year is no different because of Moss’ inclusion of “not the usual” suspects

Coverage of the list: a SC restaurant topped the list, 8 total SC restaurants (and 3 Midlands) made the list. two Houston restaurants, only one Dallas restaurant

If Moss wasn’t busy enough, he’s got 3 recent barbecue books worth checking out from Sam Jones, Matthew Register, and Jim Auchmutey

More new Charlotte barbecue incoming:

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint’s Charleston location (its 10th) has hit the ground running according to the Charleston City Paper

It’s official: Matt Horn is opening a brick and mortar in the bay area

A “Black Tie BBQ” event is a more budget-friendly barbecue event worth checking out at next year’s Charleston Wine and Food Festival with Rodney Scott, John Lewis, Aaron Siegel, Taylor Garrigan, and Anthony DiBernardo, as well as out-of-towners Amy Mills and Matthew Register

A short article on Lexington Barbecue from the local Fox affiliate

There’s a new brisket option in the lowcountry of SC in Malone Barbecue

Rodney Scott is officially coming to Atlanta