We've visited a few of the places in this book, and our all-time favorite-- Ridgewood Barbecue in Bluff City, TN--is included. But this book is more than just a guide for travelers looking for good BBQ: it's a scrapbook of barbecue culture, with photos and history notes. It also includes 100 recipes--some original "top secret" and some "copycat" versions--for the specialties of each restaurant. Each pair of facing pages includes details about a restaurant, photos, and a recipe or two.
The book is divided into sections as a menu is: Starters, Main Dishes, Sides and Condiments, and Desserts. The Starters chapter includes recipes for traditional and regional favorites such as onion rings, Brunswick stew, burgoo, and Rocky Mountain oysters. Main Dishes, of course, is all about the 'cue: ribs, pulled pork, barbecued pig snout, and more. The Sides and Condiments section is not only cole slaw--white, pink, red, you name it--but also baked beans, cornbread, hushpuppies, and potatoes. Dessert recipes include Lexington banana pudding, bread pudding, apple crisp, and fried peach pies.
Andrews McMeel Publishing has graciously allowed me to share with you the recipe for the Ridgewood Barbecue Blue Cheese Bowl. This is served as a starter at the Ridgewood, and it's amazingly good. I've tried to recreate this recipe on my own, but the recipe in America's Best BBQ is much closer than my version ever was! At the Ridgewood they serve this with saltine crackers, but you can dip celery or carrot sticks, if you like.
Blue Cheese Bowl Appetizer
Makes 2 cups
You can read more about America's Best BBQ here, or order it from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.
1/2 cup Danish or other blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup dairy sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated onion
1 large clove garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Black pepper, to taste
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and blend well. Cover and chill for at least an hour to allow the flavors to blend.
Disclosure: Thanks to Andrews McMeel Publishing for sending me a review copy of this book. I received no other compensation for this post.