Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto [A Cookbook]
Absolutely fantastic book. I bought 1 for myself...and then bought 1 for my Dad and one for my Father in Law...Probably get one for my Stepdad Soon as well. I laughed when I read the 1 star reviews. This is NOT a cookbook. This book is about how Aaron Franklin ascended to his position as being one of the best BBQ Cooks in the Nation. He talks about what he did, why he did it, and what he learned along the way. He talks about his victories and defeats and how he gained just a little bit of knowledge during each cook. What he could use he kept, what didn't work, he noted it, and tossed it aside. This is a great book on the science and theory of what is actually happening when you smoke something. The different kinds of wood that is used, the kind of smoker he likes, what temperature he prefers (275'), what he spritz's his meats with while they cook, when to pull the meat off, when to wrap it, what to wrap it with, how and why to rest it..etc. etc...I have been grilling for 20+ years, and been smoking meat for about 10, and this book really really taught me a lot of things, and cleared up some things that I have noticed, but hadn't really figured it out. He explains how to smoke meat in very simple terms. It IS simple to smoke meat...but you can totally screw it up if you don't do it right. A perfect example that he talks about, and I did this when I first started, but luckily figured it out years ago is the fact that rookies see that Beef is done at 160-165 degrees and they think, welp, its done, might as well pull it off. They pull it off and let it sit, and when they slice into it, its tough or if its pork, it doesn't pull or shred at all, and none of the fat has rendered and they think "What happened?? Well what happened is that yes, the meat reached a safe temp to eat, but not the OPTIMAL temp for BBQ. You want the internal temp at 203 degrees instead so the fat can liquefy and give the meat its juiciness and tenderness.
That is just one example. He lays it all out there for you, and doesn't hold anything back. This is a simple process, but the devil is in those details, and he is adamant about them. There are a few recipes in the book, but this isn't a cook book per se. I did like the recipes on the BBQ sauces though and Ive made them all. Aaron keeps it straightforward and simple. If you don't learn anything from this book then you aren't paying attention. I read a 1 star review and the guy goes, "Yeah, I learned to use salt and pepper and post oak....lame"
If you have that sort of mentality, then this book is definitely not for you, but if you want to reach in to what BBQ is, and how it is done right, and then you actually DO what he talks about, you will never screw up a piece of meat again.