The Kentucky Barbecue Book
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Kentucky’s culinary fame may have been built on bourbon and fried chicken, but the Commonwealth has much to offer the barbecue thrill-seeker.
The Kentucky Barbecue Book is a feast for readers who are eager to sample the finest fare in the state. From the banks of the Mississippi to the hidden hollows of the Appalachian Mountains, author and barbecue enthusiast Wes Berry hit the trail in search of the best smoke, the best flavor, and the best pitmasters he could find. This handy guide presents the most succulent menus and colorful personalities in Kentucky.
While other states are better known for their ’cue, the Kentucky style is distinct because of its use of mutton and traditional cooking methods. Many of the establishments featured in this book are dedicated to the time-honored craft of cooking over hot hardwood coals inside cinderblock pits. Time intensive and dangerous, these traditions are disappearing as methods requiring less manpower, less wood, and less skill gain ground. Pick up a copy of this book and hit the road before these great places are gone.
Barbecue aficionado Wes Berry is associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University.
“This book is an education in all things Kentucky barbecue—smoke, time, pork, burgoo, and the ever-whangy, sometimes misunderstood mutton. With Wes Berry’s Kentucky Barbecue Book in hand, readers are sure to embark on a lip-smacking trip through the best BBQ in the Bluegrass State.”—Maggie Green, author of The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook
“This is a love letter to the old Kentucky. It’s written from the heart, and Berry used his barbecue quest as an excuse to get off the interstates and savor the landscapes and people found along the blue highways and country roads of your state. Next time I come to Kentucky, I hope to have a copy in my glove compartment.”—John Shelton Reed, coauthor of Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue
“Berry has given us a first-person tour through a state he loves, through foods prepared with care, humor, and devotion. He and the people he meets can turn a phrase, sniff out a story, and dig into history on the plate. The Kentucky Barbecue Book is the cure for all your Upper South barbecue blues.”—Elizabeth Engelhardt, author of Republic of Barbecue: Stories beyond the Brisket
"Read Wes Berry's book and you'll recognize: 1) He's a cantankerous thinker, with a pleasantly skewed sense of humor. 2) He's an able observer and compiler of culinary culture, whose time in Kentucky barbecue pits is unmatched."
-John T Edge, author of Southern Belly: The Ultimate Food Lover's Companion to the South.
"In The Kentucky Barbecue Book, Wes Berry does all the hard work for you. He’s been to the places, good and bad, so you can stop only at the best ones. He’s dug up the ancient history of the state’s smoked art, so you don’t have to get sauce prints on the library’s rare volumes. He’s traveled to other states and sampled their smoked meat so you can understand Kentucky barbecue in context. If your curiosity extends beyond the plate, give Wes Berry and his book your attention. He will tell you more about Kentucky barbecue than any one else has ever committed to print." - Lolis Eric Elie, author of Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country
"Forget about Texas, Tennessee, Kansas, and the Carolinas. Kentucky has some of the best American barbecue you've never heard of. Wes Berry may suffer from HEBD (Hyper Enthusiastic Barbecue Disorder), but he's determined get the word out about the wood-burning pits, lip-stinging sauces, and belt-loosening barbecue pork, beef, turkey, and yes, mutton of his beloved Kentucky. In this lively, authoritative, irreverent, and meticulously researched book, you'll experience everything from Monroe Country dip (made with vinegar and lard) to Owensboro-style barbecued mutton, from burgoo (Kentucky's iconic stew) to banana pudding. " - Steven Raichlen, author of The Barbecue! Bible