I have LOTS of cookbooks. Some are pretty to look at. Some are merely informative. Few are both. This is one of them. Smoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue is the culmination of years of work by the author, Jeff Phillips, along with the 38,000 or so members of Jeff’s Smoking Meat Forums website. I’ve been a member since 2006, I think.
Jeff Phillips, known as Tulsa Jeff, first received a bullet-style smoker as a gift a few years after he got married. He went to the local library and read every book they had about barbecue. He was determined to figure out how to get high quality results from a low end smoker. He studied and practiced, looking for any excuse to fire it up.
He was asked to cook for anniversaries, parties, church events and holiday gatherings. After some prodding from his wife Abi and others, he began putting all that he had learned into a website that now has over 300 pages of barbecue content. And out of that grew the forums.
The next logical step after you’ve built a nearly 40,000 member website about barbecue and have a newsletter with 140,000 subscribers is to write a cookbook, right? Here it is. It is full of great short tutorials about different types of smokers, building a fire, tools, techniques, food safety, and some more advanced topics.
It has a general guide for smoking temperatures, finished temperatures, estimated cook times and other notes for many different types of foods, some of which you’d never think of smoking until now.
The fun part of this book for me is that many of the recipes featured in the book came from forum members. These recipes have been tried by dozens, maybe hundreds or even thousands of people before making it into this book. You know they are good. Well, I know they are good — because I made them.
My favorite part of this cookbook are the pictures. I’m not going to take the time to verify, but I’m pretty sure I ate a few pages straight out of the book because they looked so good.
So now that you’ve bought the book (and if you haven’t, you can do it right here), here are some of the must-make recipes:
- Bacon-wrapped Stuffed Sausage Fatty
- Smoking Gun’s Pulled Pork Shepherd’s Pie
- Bacon-wrapped Cheese Stuffed jalapeño’s
- Dutch’s Wicked Baked Beans
- I’d keep going, but I’d just be giving you an unabridged list of recipes.
This book has earned its spot on my cookbook shelf. It’s a great cookbook first and foremost. It also might be our little guy‘s favorite picture book — if I have anything to say about it.