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Outline Review"Barbecue is the most American of foods; to hell with apple pie," says Dotty Griffith, author of Celebrating Barbecue. Her book serves up a mildly interesting and informative look at America's four regional styles of 'cue: Carolina, known for its shredded pork and vinegar-based sauce; Memphis, whose ribs are "the real signature of Southern barbecue"; Texas, where beef brisket rules the range; and Kansas City, whose hot, sticky, tomatoey sauce was the prototype for the bottled commercial sauces now found in supermarkets everywhere. Each regional chapter offers recipes, a complete sample menu, and, handy for travelers, a list of legendary regional barbecue joints. Notable recipes include Carolina-Style Barbecued Whole Hog, for which a 75- to 80-pound pig is cooked up to 12 hours; Kansas City-Style Sticky Ribs, a "pice de rsistance"; and, for hardcore carnivores, South Texas Cabrito: tortillas filled with shredded barbecue goat. The book also contains directions for sauces and rubs; sections on appetizers, sides, and desserts; a calendar of barbecue cook-offs and festivals; and sources for ingredients and equipment. --Andy Boynton
Like jazz, barbecue is a uniquely American original, and few subjects ignite more passion, excitement, controversy, and competition. In Celebrating Barbecue, Dotty Griffith, restaurant critic for The Dallas Morning News, gives readers the lowdown on real barbecue, identifying the four great regional styles of American 'cue (Carolina, Memphis, Texas, and Kansas City), as well as what Griffith calls "micro-styles" like Santa Maria Beef Barbecue or St. Louis Barbecued Snouts. Though reducing barbecue to a set of rules and specifications is, as Griffith says, "like teaching a cat to bark," Celebrating Barbecue attempts (and succeeds!) in doing just that, beginning with the history of barbecue, defining each region's preferences for meat, fuel, and seasonings. There are classic authentic recipes for slow-cooked meats such as Texas Brisket and North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork, with cooking temperatures, seasonings, woods, and techniques (including fail-safe techniques for bad weather or uncooperative equipment or fuels) explained in detail. Griffith includes recipes for mops, rubs, sauces, and marinades, as well as sources for ready-made flavor enhancers. A full complement of appetizers, sides, and desserts rounds out the more than 85 recipes. Menus are provided for each regional style so you can create your own barbecue feast. Travelers will find lists of barbecue restaurants, cook-offs, and festivals, and stay-at-homes will find the best places to mail-order 'cue, as well as a directory of pit masters and a section on cookers.
Opinionated and informed, Celebrating Barbecue is written with wit, passion, and verve. A pleasure to read and to cook from, it's the only book you'll need to enjoy this most American of foods.
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