“The world does need another book on barbecue—if it is written by John Shelton Reed.”—Fred Sauceman, The Proffitts of Ridgewood: An Appalachian Family’s Life in Barbecue
John Shelton Reed’s style is accessible, conversational, acerbically funny. It tastes of vinegar and spices as surely as a plate of Carolina barbecue does.”—Jim Auchmutey, author of Smokelore: A Short History of Barbecue in America
John Shelton Reed is one of today’s most knowledgeable authors on the subject of barbecue. Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, written with his wife, Dale Volberg Reed, won the National Barbecue Association Award of Excellence in 2017 and was a finalist for the 2009 International Associate of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award. In this collection, On Barbecue, Reed compiles reviews, essays, magazine articles, op-eds, and book extracts from his many-year obsession with the history and culture of barbecue. Brought together, these pieces constitute a broad look at the cultural, culinary, historical, and social aspects of this American institution.
Reed’s original and provocative voice carries through this collection, which spans more than twenty years of barbecue lore. A lover of tradition whose study of regional distinctions has made him prize and defend them, Reed writes with conviction on what “real” barbecue looks, smells, and tastes like. He delves into the history of barbecue and even the origins of the word barbecue itself. Other topics include present-day barbecue, Carolina ’cue and other regional varieties, and recipes daring readers to master their own backyard barbecues.
Anyone with an interest in this signature American food will find themselves immersed in this book’s accessible, conversational, and frequently tart pages. From one of the wittiest and most knowledgeable authors writing on the subject, On Barbecue is essential reading.
JOHN SHELTON REED is the William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology (Emeritus) at the University of North Carolina. He is the author or editor of twenty-two books, mostly about the South and Southern culture, including most recently Mixing It Up: A South-Watcher’s Miscellany. He is co-founder and Éminence Grease of the Campaign for Real Barbecue (TrueCue.org).