Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country
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Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country

by Eric Lolis Elie
     
 

It was while eating a big ol’ plate of steaming ribs that journalist Lolis Eric Elie and photographer Frank Stewart decided to traverse the country to investigate America’s obsession with smoked meat. Their quest took them from all-night barbecue binges on Chicago’s south side to barbecue competition circuit events like Memphis in May and Big Pig

Overview

It was while eating a big ol’ plate of steaming ribs that journalist Lolis Eric Elie and photographer Frank Stewart decided to traverse the country to investigate America’s obsession with smoked meat. Their quest took them from all-night barbecue binges on Chicago’s south side to barbecue competition circuit events like Memphis in May and Big Pig Jig in Vienna, Georgia, where people drop thousands of dollars to spend a sleepless night smoking meat. In SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING, Elie and Stewart profile the down-home devotees of the barbecue world, painting an anthropological portrait of one of our nation’s favorite pastimes. Featuring 50 mouthwatering recipes for such meats, sauces, and side dishes as Oklahoma Joe’s Brew-B-Q Ribs, Moonlight Mutton Dip, and Lady Causey’s Overnight Cabbage Slaw, SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING is a unique culinary chronicle that’ll make your stomach rumble.This new edition of what many consider to be the anthropological bible on the history and soul of barbecue features a new introduction, over 50 recipes, and 80 black-and-white photographs.A documentary inspired by the book is airing on public television stations nationwide.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“If you can afford only one barbecue guide book this season, pick this one up.”—Paul Jennings, Texas Observer“Lolis Elie and Frank Stewart introduce us to the people and places that have immortalized Southern barbecue. This wonderful book evokes the familiar smell of hickory smoke and the mouthwatering taste every southerner has known and loved since childhood.”—William Ferris, director of the Center for Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi“SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING is a treasure.”—Nicolas Lemann
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
While traveling with the Wynton Marsalis Band, Elie as road manager, Stewart as the photographer for Marsalis's book, Sweet Swing Blues on the Road, the authors consumed so much barbecue, they decided to go off on their own and write a historical, cultural and culinary study of this type of cooking. Driving through the Midwest and the South in their 1981 Volvo, with a tape of Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lighting" for company, they visited nearly 50 barbecue restaurants, talking to cooks, taking pictures and evaluating the food, most of which was undistinguished. The book abounds in local color and graphic details of barbecue preparations; the description of how cows' heads are cleaned at one place in Brownsville, Texas, is particularly grisly. Stewart's photographs include shots of many of the people they interviewed as well as studies of severed hogs' heads and intestines. Some of this is interesting, but a little barbecue research, like barbecue itself, goes a long way. Recipes, a barbecue bibliography and the addresses and phone numbers of the restaurants they visited are included. (May) FYI: Elie is now a columnist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans.
Library Journal
Can a country controlled by convenience foods still care about real food? This is one of the questions the author and photographer of this work ponder as they set off in search of the best barbecue in America. Traveling from Texas to the Carolinas and points in between, the authors present such passionate and vivid profiles of individual restaurants and barbecue joints that, after reading the descriptions of barbecuing cows' faces and pigs' snouts, some readers may consider becoming vegetarians. While other recent barbecue books such as John Willingham's Real Bar-B-Q (LJ 5/15/96) focus more on recipes and cooking techniques, Smokestack Lightning includes bits and pieces of barbecue history, legends, and lore as Elie attempts to determine barbecue's role in American culture. Libraries with large cooking collections or a special interest in this subject, or those in the barbecue belt, should consider this title.John Charles, Scottsdale P.L., Ariz.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580086608
Publisher:
Ten Speed Press
Publication date:
04/15/2005
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
8.88(w) x 9.63(h) x 0.63(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

LOLIS ERIC ELIE is a columnist for the Times-Picayune. He lives in New Orleans.
FRANK STEWART is the photographer of Wynton Marsalis’s Sweet Swing: Blues on the Road. He lives in New York City.

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