In 2015, Franklin Barbecue by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay (Ten Speed) helped introduce a national readership to Franklin’s Austin, Tex., barbecue joint, which commands hours-long lines for its legendary brisket. It’s sold more than 104,000 print copies according to Nielsen BookScan and was the 10th highest-selling cookbook of 2015.
With an entire chapter, for example, devoted to sourcing, choosing, seasoning, and splitting wood, Franklin’s so-called meat-smoking manifesto heralds a coming-of-age for a new generation of barbecue books.
“In the last five years a bunch of young experts have become prominent, and restaurants offering real barbecue have opened up everywhere,” says Amy Treadwell, senior editor at Chronicle. “Barbecue has become cool.”
Suzanne Rafer, Workman’s executive editor and director of cookbook publishing, says that demand for smoked foods in particular is on rise. “Home barbecue enthusiasts are more sophisticated now,” she says, “and readers are looking for more modern recipes.”
If barbecue culture is having a moment, then publishers are responding with a new breed of book: titles that “focus on process rather than 40 new sauce recipes or 10 variations on funky coleslaw,” says Camaren Subhiyah, editor at Abrams. “Any solid cookbook should give you a foundation in method—lighting a pit or smoker, maintaining temperature, gauging proper cook time—because barbecue is all about mastering the fire.”
Here are some of the titles that will be vying for space on the barbecue bookshelf.
John Shelton Reed
Univ. of North Carolina, Mar.
This entry in the publisher’s extensive Savor the South cookbooks series traces barbecue’s roots from the 16th-century Caribbean to modern-day traditions, including Texas ribs and Memphis rubs.
The Smoking Bacon & Hog Cookbook
Bill Gillespie with Tim O’Keefe
Page Street, Mar.
Gillespie, of the Smokin’ Hoggz BBQ team, zeroes in on pork, from his St. Louis–style ribs—for which the Hoggz won the New England Barbecue Society Ribs Team of the Year three times—to a belly-up, butterflied whole hog.
Myron Mixon’s BBQ Rules
Myron Mixon, with Kelly Alexander
TV personality and BBQ champ Mixon provides old-school coal-fired barbecue techniques as well as classic recipes for dishes such as pulled pork and smoked baby back ribs.
Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook
Doubling as a trove of cultural lore, this cookbook updates the 2002 edition with 32 new recipes; the first edition has sold more than 43,000 copies, per BookScan.
Weber’s New American Barbecue
Through technique guides, essays, and recipes, Purviance aims to show readers that barbecue is a global concept transcending brisket and pulled pork.
Fleischman, pitmaster at famed Lockhart Smokehouse in Plano, Texas, coaches readers on ’cue fundamentals, including how to choose a smoker.
The bbq evangelist behind the recipe and review site Amazing Ribs demystifies barbecue by delving into the science behind live-fire cooking.
Be the BBQ Pitmaster
From ribs to brisket, this compilation of 125 recipes is bolstered by tips from award-winning pitmasters.
Smokin’ Hot in the South
Andrews McMeel, May
The Memphis Barbecue Company pitmaster showcases her Southwestern, Asian, and French spins on Southern flavors.
Barbecue and grilling expert Raichlen offers readers a step-by-step guide to smoking all manner of foods, from cherry-glazed baby back ribs to chocolate bread pudding.
America’s Best Ribs
Aguirre, whose Major League Grilling barbecue team has won multiple awards, gathers recipes from bbq competitions across the country.