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About the Book

Beyond the Book

328 pp., 7 x 9.5, 260 illus., 61 sidebars, 2-color throughout, index

Holy Smoke

The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue


North Carolina is home to the longest continuous barbecue tradition on the North American mainland. Authoritative, spirited, and opinionated (in the best way), Holy Smoke is a passionate exploration of the lore, recipes, traditions, and people who have helped shape North Carolina's signature slow-food dish.

Three barbecue devotees, John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and William McKinney, trace the origins of North Carolina 'cue and the emergence of the heated rivalry between Eastern and Piedmont styles. They provide detailed instructions for cooking barbecue at home, along with recipes for the traditional array of side dishes that should accompany it. The final section of the book presents some of the people who cook barbecue for a living, recording firsthand what experts say about the past and future of North Carolina barbecue.

Filled with historic and contemporary photographs showing centuries of North Carolina's "barbeculture," as the authors call it, Holy Smoke is one of a kind, offering a comprehensive exploration of the Tar Heel barbecue tradition.

About the Author

John Shelton Reed and Dale Volberg Reed live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Both are members of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the North Carolina Barbecue Society. They have collaborated on other books, including 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about the South and Cornbread Nation 4: The Best of Southern Food Writing. William McKinney founded the Carolina BBQ Society while a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He now lives in Virginia.


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