Barbecue Bros Book Club: “Smoked” by Ed Randolph

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.

On May 7th of last year, Smoked was released as well as several other notable barbecue books: Whole Hog BBQ: The Gospel of Carolina Barbecue with Recipes from Skylight Inn and Sam Jones BBQ by Sam Jones, Southern Smoke by Matthew Register’, and Myron Mixon’s BBQ&A with Myron Mixon. Of those authors, I knew the least about Ed Randolph, who is a Hudson Valley, NY-based competition cook and caterer who has announced his intentions to open his restaurant Handsome Devil BBQ in the town of Newburgh this summer.

As for this book Smoked is equal parts travelogue, recipes, and barbecue 101. He has chapters with recipes from the notable pitmasters you might expect – Sam Jones, Elliot Moss, Billy Durney, Carey Bringle, Pat Martin to name a few – but to me the best part of the book are the chapters on the less heralded or more up-and-coming pitmasters. Being a northeastern-based pitmaster, Randolph spotlights several pitmasters from states not normally known as barbecue hot beds. States such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. While it may be due to a function of Ed being able to travel to those restaurants more easily, it is nice to see some variety in pitmasters and restaurants in a barbecue book.

That’s not to say that Randolph only focused on the part of the country where he’s from, as he traveled from California to Texas and throughout the southeast to meet with pitmasters and get recipes, as noted by the map at the front of the book.

As for the recipes, there’s good variety in the types of meats that are represented – not just your typical brisket or pork butt – in addition to recipes for sides, sauces, and desserts. The book might be worth its price alone just for the chicken bog recipe from Elliott Moss of Buxton Hall.

Smoked is an easy read from an up and coming name in the barbecue world who followed up this book last year with a Traeger recipe book in April. Also of note is the beautiful photography from Ken Goodman and the foreword by Sean Ludwig of NYC BBQ and The Smoke Sheet.

Available at Amazon or wherever you buy books

Linkdown: 3/6/19

Congrats to Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque for his James Beard Award semifinal nomination!

Veteran Charlotte restaurateur Pierre Bader closes City Smoke, cites that he doesn’t “see any growth in the barbecue business in Charlotte.” I would argue that he might have seen growth had his restaurant’s barbecue been better (they were 40 out of 42 on our list before their close)

Local Charlotte barbecue guy Jack Arnold recently had his Instagram hacked but thankfully has since recovered it

A new barbecue cookbook is coming from photographer Ken Goodman:

Wilson gets a new barbecue restaurant in New South BBQ, which takes an “international house of barbecue” approach

Longleaf Swine (nice name), a food truck caterer in Raleigh, is going brick and mortar in the Transfer Co. Food Hall

The Free Times in Columbia breaks down barbecue restaurants both local and within a few hours drive

Food and Wine is loving Columbia, SC and thinks you should try to the hash: “Don’t fill up on grits, because you must also try the barbecue, which will be pork, served along with that could-stop-traffic yellow sauce, and a side of that curiously delicious regional specialty, hash, which is nearly always served over rice. Essentially a stew of all the animal parts you probably wouldn’t eat separately, hash might come off a tad musky for some, but this is nose-to-tail cooking at its finest.”

I wonder how the folks in Texas are reacting to this:

For Kathleen Purvis’s last story as Charlotte Observer food writer, she takes a look at the fried pork skins at Sweet Lew’s BBQ as well as the fried chicken skin from Yolk. I love her writing and look forward to seeing what she does next.