Thursday, September 3, 2009

America's Best BBQ - Book Review

coverMy family loves barbecue. We've taken road trips and lengthy detours to try new BBQ restaurants and visit old favorites. Imagine my enthusiasm when I had the chance to review America's Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants (Ardie A. Davis & Chef Paul Kirk).

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.

Hungry yet?

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
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.
You can read more about and order America's Best BBQ from or Barnes & Noble.

Disclosures: Thanks to Andrews McMeel Publishing for sending me a review copy of this book. I received no other compensation for this post.  If you click through my link and complete a purchase, I will receive a small commission.  Thank you!


  1. I checked out the book via your links. Now I have a good feel for your level of enthusiasm! Nice book review and great recipe recommendation.

  2. Great book review! The recipe you shared sounds yummy! I'll have to try it!

  3. The recipe sounds yummy! Thanks for the review.

  4. I'm heading to Ridgewood in just a little bit. I went online to find out their Saturday hours and found this recipe. Thanks so much for posting.



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