Barbecue Bros Book Club: “Barbecue: The History of an American Institution, Revised and Expanded Second Edition” by Robert Moss

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: If you have an interest in barbecue outside of recipes, personal memoirs, and restaurant guides, Robert Moss is one of the best barbecue writers working these days and a must-read. Sure, Moss does some of that other stuff too, but what I love is how he really digs into the history of barbecue in great detail, scouring archives going back several centuries for mentions of barbecue or barbecued meats to help him truly understand the history of the food in the US.

In this “Revised and Expanded Second Edition” of his 2010 book Barbecue: The History of an American Institution, Moss further expands on the history of barbecue after his years of research as part of his role as the contributing barbecue editor for Southern Living magazine, where he periodically files blog posts on his findings in addition to contributing his best barbecue joints lists.

Research from other barbecue writers such as Daniel Vaughn, Barbecue Editor of Texas Monthly, J.C. Reid of the Houston Chronicle, and Joe Haynes, author of several books on the history of barbecue in Virginia, has been added to round out Moss’s historical breakdown. Particularly, he beefs up the pre-colonial and colonial origins as well as provide more color on the beginnings of barbecue stands and ultimately restaurants starting in the late 19th century.

Moss also includes the barbecue traditions of Kentucky and the south side of Chicago, which were not included in the original book.

Additionally, whereas Moss’s original edition left off with barbecue in an uncertain place with the move to gas and electric smokers, by this point we are all aware of the big explosion in barbecue; or as Moss refers to it in his Afterword, the “second golden age of barbecue.”

Since the original publication date of the first edition of the book, barbecue in the US has seen a move to more of a craft-sensibility, bringing back all-wood smokers that require constant attention and rejecting the “set it and forget it” nature of the gas and electric smokers that had become favored by national and regional chains as well as the smeller joints who were looking to cut corners.

Moss points to Aaron Franklin as the turning point in the second golden age of barbecue not only in regards to the return to all-wood fired pits but also the prominence of Texas barbecue and platters in the meat market style of central Texas. That was the dominant trend until roughly 2015 where whole hog barbecue has come back into prominence thanks to Rodney Scott, Sam Jones, Dr. Howard Conyers, Bryan Furman of B’s Crackling Barbeque, Elliott Moss of Buxton Hall Barbecue, Tyson Ho of Arrogant Swine, and others.

Conveniently, Moss is also able to speak to the assertion by Washington Post writer Jim Shahin in that to see the future of barbecue, you can look to Charleston, where he just so happens to reside. The Lowcountry town that had been more known for fine dining now seemingly has all of the barbecue trends within its city limits, and sometimes all within a few blocks radius. Texas barbecue from John Lewis, whole hog from Rodney Scott and Swig & Swine’s Summerville location, the move back to all wood smoked barbecue from Melvin’s Barbecue, plus independently owned barbecue operations instead of chains.

In this revised and expanded second edition, Moss ends the book certain in the knowledge that American barbecue, the food intertwined with the very history of our great nation, is in a very solid place with its future secure.

Linkdown: 2/24/21

Featured

After a few weeks in soft open mode, Sam Jones BBQ’s downtown Raleigh location has finally opened; the latest opening towards Raleigh staking its claim as a modern barbecue capital. Next up in some order is Ed Mitchell’s The Preserve, Wyatt’s Barbecue (from the team behind Picnic in Durham), Lawrence Barbecue, and Longleaf Swine. More coverage on Sam Jones BBQ can be found in this article from industry trade publication QSR Magazine.

In the next few months, a visit to Raleigh will certainly be called for, as our Capital brethren continue to beat out the Queen City in barbecue openings. Step up your game, Charlotte!

Native News

Robert Moss explores the origin stories of 5 southern sauces, including Scott’s Barbecue Sauce from Goldsboro which is available across the US thanks to its distribution via Wal-Mart

Moss went into even more detail in his weekly Cue Sheet newsletter

Jon G’s has your St. Patty’s Day dinner plans solved as they will be slinging cue from their food truck at Waxhaw Taphouse

Non-Native News

Sad news out of Memphis’s Rendezvous

“Black Smoke” author Adrian Miller will be on an online Zoom interview this Friday (2/26) with Delaware Libraries that is free to the public

La Barbecue is moving, and will have a lot more space to work with at their new location

Goldee’s Barbecue in Forth Worth gets some love from the Dallas Morning News

RIP to a Kansas City barbecue legend, L.C. Richardson

Robert Sietsema’s top pastrami in NYC may surprise you, as it comes from a barbecue joint and beats out the world famous Katz’s Deli

Just gonna leave this here

Friday Find: Robert Moss Joins the Kevin’s BBQ Joints Podcast

Monk: Robert Moss, Barbecue Editor for Southern Living and founder of The Cue Sheet newsletter, joins the Kevin’s BBQ Joints Podcast to promote his recently-released book “The Revised and Expanded Second Edition of Barbecue: The History of An American Institution.” It’s a good conversation with Moss peppering in interesting tidbits he’s collected from his research in revising the book.

For more from Kevin’s BBQ Joints, click here.

Description: In this episode I chat with Robert F. Moss, contributing barbecue editor for Southern Living Magazine about his new book, The Revised and Expanded Second Edition of Barbecue: The History of An American Institution.

See all things Robert F. Moss here: http://www.robertfmoss.com/
Purchase Barbecue: The History of An American Institution here: https://amzn.to/3pxzOOg
Sign up for his fantastic newsletter The ‘Cue Sheet at the top right of this page here: http://www.robertfmoss.com
Here’s a link to all of his work at Southern Living: https://www.southernliving.com/author…
See Robert on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/robertfmoss/
Check Robert out of Twitter here: https://twitter.com/mossr

We start off with how he’s been holding up so far and get into some detailed burger talk.

It’s been 10 Years since the original book came out so a lot has changed in the barbecue world since 2009. The first edition focus primarily on the first golden age of barbecue in the 50’s and beyond.

We talk about his first chopped pork sandwich and a bit about his history. Primarily we focus on the new book and The ‘Cue Sheet which is an amazing resource that pops into your email box every Sunday (if you sign up, which you should)

Barbecue Bros Book Club: “Southern Living Ultimate Book of BBQ” by The Editors of Southern Living and Christopher Prieto

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.

The first time I personally became aware of Christopher Prieto was when this book came out by the editor of Southern Living magazine “with Pitmaster Christopher Prieto.” Who was he, and how did he get this spotlight in a barbecue book from a national publication seemingly out of nowhere (at least to me)? Of course, I now know that he is pitmaster and owner of Prime BBQ in Knightdale, but in 2015 Prime BBQ was a cooking school and catering operation and Prieto was known on the competition barbecue circuit as well as from TV appearances on Food Network’s Chopped: Grill Masters, the Cooking Channel’s Man Fire Food, and Destination America’s BBQ Pitmasters. His star certainly continues to rise.

In addition to Prieto’s input, there is also tips and short Q&A’s from noted barbecue personality’s such as Carolina Cue to Go’s Elizabeth Karmel, Tim Byres of Smoke (Dallas), Justin and Jonathan Fox of Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q (Atlanta), Carey Bringle of Peg Leg Porker (Nashville), Skip Steele of Pappy’s Smokehouse (St. Louis), Harrison Sapp of Southern Soul Barbeque (St. Simon’s Island, GA), among others. So, Prieto was in nice company.

As for the book, Southern Living contributor Robert Moss wrote the foreword and refers to the book as “a comprehensive survey of the technique and styles of contemporary Southern barbecue,” and that hits the nail on the head. Officially titled “Southern Living Ultimate Book of BBQ: The Complete Year-Round Guide to Grilling and Smoking,” this book heavily focuses on recipes for the backyard and home cook, with a little barbecue 101 sprinkled in here and there.

After spending some time on a brief history of barbecue in North America, there is a section on the different cuts of meat as well as fuels for the fire, the recipes for beef, pork, and poultry come fast and furious. Starting with “Low & Slow” (smoking) before moving onto “Hot & Fast” (grilling) and then “Rainy Day BBQ” (ovens and crockpots) before wrapping up with sides, rubs, and a pretty extensive section on pickling(!!). The book comes in at over 200 recipes across 350 pages and is quite the tome, complete with beautiful food photography from Greg DuPree.

I personally used their recipe for pork spareribs recently and was extremely pleased with how the ribs turned out – perhaps the best ribs I’ve ever done. I didn’t follow the recipe to a tee in terms of rubs or sauces, but the guidelines on prep and timing served me well. Take a look for yourself:

There are a lot of seemingly great recipes in “The Ultimate Book of BBQ” that would be perfect to try out at a time when you are mostly home and have a lot of time on your hands. If that happens to apply to you, consider buying or even renting from your local library.

Available at Amazon or wherever you buy books