Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue

Overview

North Carolina is home to the longest continuous barbecue tradition on the North American mainland. Authoritative, spirited, and opinionated (in the best way), Holy Smoke is a passionate exploration of the lore, recipes, traditions, and people who have helped shape North Carolina's signature slow-food dish.

Three barbecue devotees, John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and William McKinney, trace the origins of North Carolina 'cue and the emergence of the heated rivalry between ...

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Overview

North Carolina is home to the longest continuous barbecue tradition on the North American mainland. Authoritative, spirited, and opinionated (in the best way), Holy Smoke is a passionate exploration of the lore, recipes, traditions, and people who have helped shape North Carolina's signature slow-food dish.

Three barbecue devotees, John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and William McKinney, trace the origins of North Carolina 'cue and the emergence of the heated rivalry between Eastern and Piedmont styles. They provide detailed instructions for cooking barbecue at home, along with recipes for the traditional array of side dishes that should accompany it. The final section of the book presents some of the people who cook barbecue for a living, recording firsthand what experts say about the past and future of North Carolina barbecue.

Filled with historic and contemporary photographs showing centuries of North Carolina's "barbeculture," as the authors call it, Holy Smoke is one of a kind, offering a comprehensive exploration of the Tar Heel barbecue tradition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Maybe . . . you're wondering where the difference in barbecue styles comes from and why this difference is so fiercely contested. Or maybe you're interested in history or cultural history or North Carolina history. I've got just the book for you. . . . True Tar Heels will have a hard time giving this one away, so buy two."--Moreton Neal, MetroMagazine

"It's here. Not another guide to North Carolina barbecue restaurants . . . [but] 'an exploration of the Tar Heel barbecue tradition.' While Holy Smoke is assuredly about food, it is more, in my mind, about 'foodways'--the roots and evolution of the food, which more than any other, is identified with the people of this state and its history and traditions."--Carroll Leggett, MetroMagazine

"Sure to be a favorite with folks who love the Tar Heel state and its history and foodways."--Metro Magazine

"Should bring readers to a deeper respect for an American art form."--Southern Cultures

"The book leaves no glowing coal unturned in its examination of our state's barbecue history, cooking techniques, recipes, and characters who have honed the fine art of turning hogs into something heavenly."--Our State

"Part cookbook, part how-to manual for the backyard barbecuer and part historical treatise. . . . This well-researched book is a hymn of praise to those pitmasters who have long labored over fires fueled by hickory and smoke."--Blue Ridge Country

"A definitive guide."--Appetite for Books

"A fascinating book presented in an interesting fashion. It's not wide, but man is it deep."--BBQ Links

"It is a treasure trove, a testament (in the Holy Roller sense), an exuberant celebration of the one thing served in the South that is better than fried chicken."--Nicki Leone, BiblioBuffet.com

"One thing guaranteed to start an argument in North Carolina is barbecue. Thus, it takes a little courage to write a book on the subject. The Reeds . . . try hard to be scrupulously fair to both the Eastern and Piedmont barbecue camps."--StarNewsOnline.com

"What every book on barbecue should aim to be: well-researched, wide-ranging, funny, lavishly illustrated, and just downright enjoyable."--alforno.blogspot.com

"'Does the world really need another barbecue book?' The answer is yes, thanks to the book's dozens of useful recipes (some lending credence to the claim that three pillars of Southern cooking are sugar, salt and fat), hundreds of evocative illustrations and photos, and a narrative spiced with historical anecdotes."--The Wall Street Journal

From the Publisher
"Even if it didn't taste so good, we would like North Carolina barbecue for its inspirational nature. Like chile in New Mexico and cheese curds in Wisconsin, its rituals and lore stir passionate symposia, infusing Holy Smoke with a sense of purpose that is biblical."
-Jane and Michael Stern, Roadfood.com

"[A] most worthy book about Tar Heel Barbecue. . . . An indispensable reference work. . . . The authors have carefully recorded first-person accounts of how these restaurateurs go about their business. It is as if they turned on the mike, asked the right question and got out of the way. . . . A fascinating account."
-Jack Betts, CharlotteObserver.com

"A cultural and culinary history of barbecue . . . the book includes directions on shaping cornmeal into perfect hush puppies, a who's who of the region's pit masters, and mouthwatering photographs of sizzling pigs."
-The Chronicle of Higher Education

"'Does the world really need another barbecue book?' The answer is yes, thanks to the book's dozens of useful recipes (some lending credence to the claim that three pillars of Southern cooking are sugar, salt and fat), hundreds of evocative illustrations and photos, and a narrative spiced with historical anecdotes."
-Wall Street Journal

"Jam-packed with entertaining and authoritative history, culture, personality sketches, and thoughtful opinion."
-D.G. Martin, syndicated columnist

"The most definitive book . . . on the food that ties sons and daughters of The Old North State together by the taste buds."
-Burlington, NC Times-News

"[A] funny, fantastically southern memoir of the infamous East-West brawl over North Carolina barbecue. . . . Everything we ever wanted to know about the history of the 'cue, the sauce, and the people behind this Tar Heel tradition."
-Southern Living

"Filled with history, interviews and all kinds of kooky heirloom Southern recipes, this is a lovingly curated book on the 'barbaculture' of the Tar Heel state."
-Chile Pepper

"A dance through the legends, history, fables and reality of North Carolina barbecue. . . . While laughing along with the fun stories, don't forget to take the recipes seriously."
-Edible Piedmont

"An apogee on all things barbecue. . . . Much more than a simple collection of recipes, the book supplements its exploration of this regional favorite by delving into the history of North Carolina barbecue. . . . And of course, there's no shortage of recipes and cooking techniques presented here, covering not only the meat, but a variety of side dishes, deserts, and even that signature Southern beverage, iced tea."
-WNC Magazine

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

North Carolina barbecue may be the most complex of a decidedly complicated American tradition, with perennial battles over sauce, meat, wood and countless other factors. Married collaborators the Reeds (1001 Things Everyone Should Know About the South), along with Carolina BBQ Society founder McKinney, help 'cue fans navigate the smoky waters of North Carolina cuisine-its history, practice and players-in this expert guide, tempered with a smart sense of humor and true love for the food (Carolina transplants, the Reeds don't take the region's legacy lightly). The Reeds trace the evolution of the cooking style from its first appearance in the late 1600s, revealing the 19th century origins of the vinegar-based sauce synonymous with the state. Though the focus in on pork, the Reeds delve deep into all facets of the cuisine, including its social and political significance, and offer tips on picking one's restaurants wisely, a blueprint for building your own pit, and recipes. Would-be Carolinian pit-masters will learn all they need about smoking butts as well as whole hogs, whipping up crucial sauces and sides, and preparing dessert (from homemade Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding to Moon Pies and wine jelly). Even if readers never attempt to recreate the region's trademark delicacies, they'll certainly gain a deeper appreciation and understanding for this remarkably complex regional style and the characters who keep it alive. 260 illus.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807832431
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 421,744
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

John Shelton Reed and his wife, Dale Volberg Reed, live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Both are members of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the North Carolina Barbecue Society. They have collaborated on other books, including 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about the South and Cornbread Nation 4: The Best of Southern Food Writing.

Dale Volberg Reed and her husband, John Shelton Reed, live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Both are members of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the North Carolina Barbecue Society. They have collaborated on other books, including 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about the South and Cornbread Nation 4: The Best of Southern Food Writing.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Holy Smoke

    Being from eastern NC and growing up watching my dad and his brothers cooking pigs by putting them over a hole dug beneath the tobacco barn shelter this book was very good and full of memories. The illustrations could have been better but still this book rates as very good reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    Good Review of NC BBQ

    Purchased this as a gift for a NC-BBQ-lover with a brand-new smoker. It was very well received!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    If you love North Carolina barbecue, you must read this.

    I grew up in eastern North Carolina in the 1950s and 60s, and like many others around me, ate my weight several times over with pork barbecue. To me, Parkers Barbecue in Wilson, NC, has always been the holy shrine, but I'll concede that King's BBQ Restaurant in Kinston, Bill's Barbecue (also in Wilson), and many other local eateries have their own religious fanatics. This book discusses the history of barbecue and its early practitioners (I thought it just always was) and points out the differences between Lexington-style BBQ and eastern NC barbecue. Some folks want to fight over defending their favorite style, but in the end, the real difference is only the use of tomato sauce (Lexington does, eastern NC does not). The real fun of this book (and it will bring many smiles to your face) is discovering about the myriad of BBQ places (trailers, tents, and finally restaurants) that did and do exist. A worthy goal in life would be to eat at as many of these places as possible. Finally, if you love North Carolina barbecue, or want to discover why God favored humans with this delicacy, read the book. It's really a lot of fun. Then hit the road!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 2, 2009

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    Posted November 8, 2009

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