This is a lick-the-pages, straight-from-the-test-kitchen sort of barbecue book that, despite its slickness nevertheless manages to deliver iron-clad recipes and techniques with a certain homespun charm.
In fact, the photography is so lush that I absentmindedly found myself trying to wipe flecks and splatters of sweet Kansas City-style sauce off the page.
Curated by Troy Black, a competitive barbecuer, the book mostly concentrates on archetypal recipes from the South, however Black does make a pit stop at the original Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City, Kan.
“This is my favorite barbecue joint in the country!” Black writes before singing the praises of the Z-Man sandwich, smoked beef brisket topped with smoked provolone and two crispy onion rings served on a kaiser roll.
Beyond fantastic food photography, occasional portraits of a barbecue pitmaster or joint interior help set the scene. The addition of how-to photos and “Troy’s Tips,” tips from Troy Black, an award-winning pitmaster, cover all the bases. Recipes include Rosemary Flank Steak With Fig Salsa, Peach Pulled Pork, Texas Smoked Brisket, Curried Chicken Kabobs, Asian-Grilled Quail, Muffaletta Burgers and Grilled Rosemary Lemonade.
You simply can’t mess up when equipped with a well-organized tome, but you won’t tap into the natural quirkiness of the competitive barbecue scene, either.Peach-Glazed Pork Chops Makes 4 servings 1 (18-ounce) jar peach preserves 1/4 cup soy sauce 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger 2 teaspoons olive oil 4 (8-ounce) bone-in pork loin chops (1 1/2 inches thick) 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper 4 large peaches, halved
Preheat grill to 350 to 400 degrees (medium-high) heat. Bring preserves, soy sauce and ginger to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat; reserve 1/2 cup to baste peaches.
Rub oil over pork chops; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill pork chops, covered with grill lid, 5 to 7 minutes on each side until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion registers 145 degrees, basting often with 1 cup peach preserves mixture.
At the same time, grill peaches, covered with grill lid, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until tender, basting often with the reserved peach preserves mixture. Let pork chops stand 5 minutes before serving.
Jill Silva is The Star’s James Beard Award-winning food editor and restaurant critic. She has won more than 25 national writing awards and been included in the “Best Food Writing” anthologies of 2008 and 2011. She is the author of The Star’s “Eating for Life” cookbook and the past president of The Association of Food Journalists. She also makes a mean flan.