Comments: We just haven't been able to figure this book out. There are recipes from the best barbecue houses in the country, for starters, main courses, side dishes, and desserts, for every kind of meat and other ingredient you can name, but we don't really think you'll try many.
This book radiates flavor – as well as history, traditions, the many generations of owners involved in each restaurant, barbecue rituals and trivia – but a huge number of recipes call for the restaurants' own special sauce or rub. Occasionally the book will allow "your favorite rub," but if a recipe calls for Atkinson's Flowering Onion Breader or Head Country All-Purpose Championship Seasoning, are you going to know what to use in it's place?
There are also some problems with scale. The recipe for Fried Cheese-Stick Grits, for example, wants you to smoke a pound of garlic cloves and then use five of them in the recipe. Five of them! What in blazes do you do with the other 150+ smoked cloves of garlic? Oh, "use [them] in a variety of dishes" – after all they keep in the refrigerator for a whole week!
And then there were times when the restaurant cooks wouldn't share their recipes, so the writers made them up as closely as possible. Did they succeed? Who knows?
The recipes run the gamut – everything you'd expect, as well as Buffalo Bratwurst with Cheese and Jalapeños, Barbecued Baloney (requires 1 ingredient), Tamales and Beans, Rib Gumbo, Barbecued Mutton Ribs, Red's Barbecued 'Coon, Seafood Stuffed Lobster, Fried Okra, Rocky Mountain Oysters, Fried Green Tomatoes, Peach Cobbler, Root Beer Cake, Deep-Fried Oreos, and much more.
The authors give tons of practical information, but take something as contentious as barbecue (just mention grilling to serious barbecuers and see where that gets you, or aluminum foil) and then make the very milquetoast assertion that "there's no right and no wrong." For heaven's sake, even these two writers don't agree all the time!
It's a charming book, in the cards-on-the-table way of the barbecue world, but – unless you've got one foot firmly planted in that world (and are prepared to buy a lot of sauces online) – it may be more useful for reading, thinking about, and picturing food than the actual cooking.