Chow Town

Best barbecue books that make great gifts

Karen Adler of Pig Out Publications with The Gardener & The Grill and BBQ Bistro
Karen Adler of Pig Out Publications with The Gardener & The Grill and BBQ Bistro Special to The Star

During this season of gift giving, lists for the “best” this and that abound.

And here I go with a list of barbecue books for the barbecue lovers on your gift list. If you don’t know what’s already in their library or what’s on their wish list, get a gift card from The Best of Kansas City, Smoke ‘n’ Fire, The Kansas City Barbecue Store, Pryde’s, Rainy Day Books or Barnes & Noble.

The former three carry the largest selection of barbecue books in town — all can order any book your gift recipient wants. Print this list and include it with your gift card. Attach the card to a bag of smoking chips or a bottle of barbecue sauce, gift-wrapped.

About this list:

Titles were suggested by people who know barbecue: businesses, competition cooks, backyard barbecuers, or all three.

The emphasis is on books by local authors, including myself, thus remedying the absence of books from Kansas City in national “best cookbook” lists. Titles of merit by out-of-Chow Town authors are also listed.

I prefer hard copy books. However, the books on this list are available in e-book formats.

I like books with good recipes, stories, anecdotes, tips and photos, and that was a factor in this selection. That said, here’s a selection that will serve you well.

Books by Local Authors:

▪ “Championship BBQ Secrets for Real Smoked Food” (2006), Karen Putnam

▪ “Fish & Shellfish Grilled & Smoked” (2002), Karen Adler & Judith M. Fertig

▪ “The Gardener & the Grill” (2011), Karen Adler & Judith Fertig

“Patio Pizzeria — Artisan Pizza & Flatbreads on the Grill” (2014), Karen Adler & Judith Fertig

▪ “The Kansas City Barbeque Society Cookbook — 25th Anniversary” (2010), Ardie A. Davis, Chef Paul Kirk, Carolyn Wells

▪ “Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue Sauces” (1998), Paul Kirk, The Baron of Barbecue

▪ “Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue” (2004), Chef Paul Kirk & Bob Lyon

▪ “America’s Best BBQ, Revised — 100 Recipes from America’s Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses and Restaurants” (2015), Ardie A. Davis and Chef Paul Kirk

▪ “America’s Best Ribs” (2012), Ardie A. Davis and Chef Paul Kirk

▪ “America’s Best BBQ, Homestyle — What the Champions Cook in Their Own Backyards” (2013), Ardie A. Davis and Chef Paul Kirk

▪ “Barbecue Lover’s Kansas City Style — Restaurants, Markets, Recipes & Traditions” (2015), Ardie A. Davis

▪ “25 Essentials — Techniques for Planking” (2010), Karen Adler & Judith Fertig

▪ “25 Essentials — Techniques for Grilling Fish” (2010), Karen Adler & Judith Fertig

▪ “25 Essentials — Smoking” (2009), Ardie A. Davis

▪ “25 Essentials — Grilling” (2009), Ardie A. Davis

▪ “Lunchmeat & Life Lessons — Sharing A Butcher’s Wisdom” (2013), Mary B. Lucas

▪ “BBQ Makes Everything Better” (2010), Aaron Chronister & Jason Day

▪ “Simply Backyard Barbecuing — from Grilling to Smoking” (2010), Chef Richard McPeake

Books by out-of-Chow Towners:

▪ “The Kamado Grill Cookbook” (2014), Fred Thompson

▪ “Smoke It Like A Pro on The Big Green Egg & Other Ceramic Cookers: Independent Guide with Master Recipes from a Competition Barbecue Team—Includes Smoking, Grilling and Roasting Techniques” (2015), Eric Mitchell

▪ “The Kamado Smoker and Grill” (2014), Chris Grove

▪ “Complete Wood Pellet Barbeque Cookbook: The Ultimate Guide and Recipe Book for Wood Pellet Grills” (2012), Bob Devon

▪ “Smokin’ with Myron Mixon: Recipes Made Simple from the Winningest Man in Barbecue” (2011), Myron Mixon with Kelly Alexander

▪ “The Barbecue Bible” (2008), Steven Raichlen

▪ “Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto” (2015), Aaron Franklin

▪ “Smoke & Spice: Cooking with Smoke, The Real Way to Barbecue” (2014 3rd Revised Updated Edition; originally published in 1994), Cheryl Alters Jamison and her late husband Bill Jamison

▪ “The Prophets of Smoked Meat — A Journey Through Texas Barbecue” (2013), Daniel Vaughn

▪ “Dinosaur Bar B Que — An American Roadhouse,” John Stage and Nancy Radke

▪ “Smokin in the Boys Room,” Melissa Cookston

▪ “Johnny Harris Restaurant Cookbook,” Julie Donaldson Lowenthal

▪ “Wiley’s Championship BBQ — Secrets that Old Men Take to the Grave,” Wiley McCrary, Janet McCrary, Amy Paige Condon

▪ “Smoke — New Firewood Cooking” (2013), Tim Byres

▪ “Lunchmeat & Life Lessons” (2013), Mary B. Lucas, B.D.

Thanks to Karen Adler, Gary Bronkema and Montica Alexander for help with this list. Go forth and shop.

Ardie Davis founded a sauce contest on his backyard patio in 1984 that became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub & Baste contest. He is a charter member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and an inductee into the KCBS Hall of Flame. He has been interviewed on food shows and writes for barbecue-related publications. His most recent releases are America’s Best BBQ (Revised Edition), with chef Paul Kirk, and Barbecue Lover’s Kansas City Style .