Ardie A. Davis and Chef Paul Kirk have made it easy for barbecue fans. They crisscrossed America in search of the best barbecue joints, and now—8,000 restaurants later—they have compiled not only their top 100 picks but also lip-smacking recipes for the best starters, main dishes, sides, and desserts to be had. Welcome to America’s Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America’s Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $19.99, May 2009). You might want to put on a bib.
Ardie, a barbecue historian and ambassador, and Paul, a champion pitmaster and certified working chef, are the guys with the chops to introduce you to America’s best barbecue and the people and stories behind the recipes. They’ve been involved in the business, sport, and art of barbecue for more than 50 years each, and they hail from a barbecue mecca—Kansas City, MO.
People everywhere love and appreciate good barbecue, and the menu is similar across America’s barbecue joints, with regional variations. From the standards including chicken, beef brisket, sausage, and pork ribs to the more unusual mutton of Kentucky and the goat at many spots in Texas, Ardie and Paul have tried it all. In the end, most of the recipes in the book come from the “barbecue belt” that ranges from North Carolina to Texas, with a few from places like Vermont, New Mexico, Washington, New York, and California. (A list is included on this site.)
Now you can judge for yourself and join the great debate as you dig into America’s Best BBQ and sample Ardie and Paul’s selections. They used no formal rating system and consider each joint in the book to be one of the best in the country, all on the same playing field, with varying strengths and weaknesses. They did have two main standards in making their picks:
• Barbecue joints should specialize in barbecue, not just an item or two as part of a larger menu
• The cooking fuel should be wood or charcoal (with the exception of eastern North Carolina whole-hog cooking—an entirely different animal)
Joints were judged on their foods’ appeal, taste, tenderness, and appearance. Value and service also were part of the equation. Ambience—not a synonym for fanciness in the barbecue world—also was considered; a good joint should be welcoming and comfortable, and you should want to go back.
Join Ardie and Paul in their journey into the best swine dining establishments in America. Breathe deep and savor the smoke and the flavor. Maybe you’ll be inspired to visit some of these places to sample the barbecue yourself, or to try some of the recipes at home. Remember that the pros who contributed the recipes use professional-grade equipment, and the results might not be exactly the same on a home grill. But with the tips and tricks found in America’s Best BBQ, you’ll soon be turning out your own finger-lickin’, mouthwatering ’cue!
Customers are lined up outside the door at 11:15 in the morning. Inside, the people are happy. The joint is already crowded. Be patient. You’ll get a seat. Smell the barbecue while diners dig in with gusto. Soon you’ll be chowing down on America’s best barbecue—slathered meats, crunchy fries, corn bread, coleslaw, beans, and other delectable eats. It’s worth the wait.
You’ll find Ardie & Paul’s selection methods in America’s Best BBQ, along with:
• The top barbecue joints in America
• More than 100 recipes for starters, main dishes, sides, and desserts, from ribs, beans, and coleslaw to Brunswick stew, gumbo, smoked catfish, jalapeño hushpuppies, and fried peach pie
• Ardie’s Top 10 and Paul’s Top 10
• Stories about the restaurants and owners
• Sidebars on barbecue culture and trivia
• Hundreds of full-color photographs collected through Ardie and Paul’s decades of travel to restaurants and contests
• Barbecue basics to help newbies select, maintain, and use gas and charcoal grills; basic meat cooking instructions; and tips and tricks that even seasoned barbecuers will want to check out
• An entertaining, full-color collection of postcards, memorabilia, and photos
Category: America's Best BBQ, Ardie A. Davis, Cookbooks, News, Paul Kirk
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