cover image Bludso’s BBQ Cookbook: A Family Affair in Smoke and Soul

Bludso’s BBQ Cookbook: A Family Affair in Smoke and Soul

Kevin Bludso with Noah Galuten. Ten Speed, $29.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-984859-55-6

The flavors of California and Texas are fired up and served with Southern pride in this top-notch debut from chef and restaurateur Bludso. Drawing from the stories and meals of his childhood in Compton, summers in Corsicana—where, growing up, he worked at his great-aunt Granny’s “bootleg BBQ stand”—and his L.A. barbecue joint, Bludso’s book is free of artifice, and so is his food. A brisket rub consists only of garlic salt and pepper (with an admonition to “do what the fuck you wanna do”), while other offerings go bold: rib tips are smoked, fried, and doused in Buffalo sauce; gravy is enriched with brisket drippings; and mac and cheese incorporates more than five cups of shredded cheese and two sticks of butter. Though Bludso knows his way around a smoker (and offers clear instructions for using a grill in its stead), his recipes reach beyond barbecue in a hearty breakfast chapter that includes fluffy buttermilk pancakes, and a section of holiday fare that features his restaurant’s famed fried turkey. Sweets like bread pudding and cobbler, meanwhile, feel more nostalgic than they do innovative (and, like most of Bludso’s recipes, aren’t for the cholesterol cautious), but they’re delicious, nevertheless. Barbecue lovers are in for a treat—make no bones about it. (Mar.)