I love BBQ competitions. So much so that I try to make it to every Florida Bar-B-Que Association event I can. Though I don’t compete myself, I am a world class professional spectator and BBQ eater. While attending BBQ competitions, I talk to as many teams as I can, trying to catch them during down time rather than interrupting them during turn ins and such. I’ve had to learn some of the lingo they use, the schedules they keep, and other particulars by going through the motions first hand. As such, I’m sure that I have stepped on a few toes or inconvenienced a few teams in the process. This is where a book like Startin’ the Fire by George Hensler comes in so very handy. George sent me a copy to read the other day, and I feel that I am now a better BBQ spectator for having done so.
See, like professional football, it really helps to know the whys and wherefores when it comes to truly enjoying what happens at a professional barbecue competition. What schedule do the cook teams have to follow? How much time do they get to prep and cook their meats? What’s the turn in order, and when is the best time to talk with them and not get in their way? Startin’ the Fire has all of these answers as more!
George’s book also does something that I think deserves special mention here. It gives us a window into the somewhat obsessive mind of a professional competitive BBQ cook. In particular, I am speaking to George’s chapter dealing with his battle with “Chikenholism.” Like it’s somewhat better known cousin, alcoholism, chickenholism is the insatiable addiction to buying, prepping, cooking, tasting, revamping, and repeating the entire BBQ chicken cooking process. Another of my BBQ blogger colleagues did not like the chicken chapter nearly as much as I did. You can see that review here.
I have to say that I have never been a huge BBQ chicken fan, but I can relate to the desire to develop patterns and routines that result in predictable outcomes. For me, being a bit OCD anyway, it’s just best that I stick to visiting and appreciating – from a far – the adventures of the rest of you chickenholics, brisketholics, ribaholics, and porkaholics. I’d be a mess otherwise.
I appreciate Startin’ the Fire for the concentrated and yet easy going manner in which it relays what it takes to get a BBQ team up and running. George has written a nice primer on the subject, and if you have any inclination of starting up a competitive BBQ team – or if you just want to become a better BBQ competition spectator – then buy this book.
I give it two tongs up!
If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book, please visit the Startin’ the Fire website. The Startin’ the Fire Facebook Page is worthy of checking out as well. You should also read up on the exploits of the Street, MD based Who Are Those Guys? BBQ Team and visit them on the Who Are Those Guys BBQ Team Facebook Page.
There’s no shortage of Books on barbecue available today, which is what often makes it tough to decide which ones may be of most use. Of course varying factors go into making this kind of decision. Are you a backyard barbecue enthusiast looking to improve your basic BBQ technique? Maybe you’re in search of a good set of plans for building your own BBQ smoker? Or perhaps you’re on a BBQ cook team and you just want some insight into how you can perfect your BBQ chicken, pork, ribs, or brisket’s flavor profile.
Whatever your reasons for browsing your local bookstore shelves or sites like Amazon.com’s BBQ book section, you’ll likely take a gander at the reviews a given book has received prior to making your purchase. Why? Because knowing that others in our BBQ community find a book worthing of purchasing is a good sign that we might like it ourselves. To that end, I’ve listed the top 1o BBQ books readers of this blog have found worthing of buying from Amazon.com.
Give them a look see. You’re bound to find something to complete your collection of books on barbecue!
10 BBQ Books Our Readers Like the Most
America’s Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America’s Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurantsby Ardie A. Davis and Chef Paul Kirk took the #1 spot (no surprise, there from these two Kansas City BBQ guys) with Real Barbecue: The Classic Barbecue Guide to the Best Joints Across the USA — with Recipes, Porklore, and More! by Vince Staten and Greg Johnson finishing at the #2 position. The Staten/Johnson book has always been a favorite among readers of The BBQ Smoker Site blog – especially those who are of the “build your own barbecue smoker” variety. Backyard BBQ: The Art of Smokology by Rich McPeake took the #3 spot and is a solid pick for backyard BBQ folks interested in learning some of the more intricate aspects of the art of barbecue. This is a great list for anyone looking to start up any sort of solid BBQ reference library.
- America’s Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America’s Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants
- Real Barbecue: The Classic Barbecue Guide to the Best Joints Across the USA — with Recipes, Porklore, and More!
- BBQ Joints: Stories and Secret Recipes from the Barbeque Belt
- Smoke & Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue
- Big Green Egg Cookbook: Celebrating the World’s Best Smoker & Grill
- Serious Barbecue: Smoke, Char, Baste, and Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking
- The Cook’s Illustrated Guide To Grilling And Barbecue
- The Big Book of BBQ: Recipes and Revelations from the Barbecue Belt
- Barbecue! Bible : Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades, Bastes, Butters, and Glazes
- BBQ 25