a Savor the South® cookbook

By John Shelton Reed

128 pp., 5.5 x 8.5, index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-2670-3
    Published: March 2016
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-2671-0
    Published: January 2016

Savor the South Cookbooks

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John Shelton Reed's Barbecue celebrates a southern culinary tradition forged in coals and smoke. Since colonial times southerners have held barbecues to mark homecomings, reunions, and political campaigns; today barbecue signifies celebration as much as ever. In a lively and amusing style, Reed traces the history of southern barbecue from its roots in the sixteenth-century Caribbean, showing how this technique of cooking meat established itself in the coastal South and spread inland from there. He discusses how choices of meat, sauce, and cooking methods came to vary from one place to another, reflecting local environments, farming practices, and history.

Reed hopes to preserve the South's barbecue traditions by providing the home cook with fifty-one recipes for many classic varieties of barbecue and for the side dishes, breads, and desserts that usually go with it. Featured meats range from Pan-Southern Pork Shoulder to Barbecued Chicken Two Ways to West Texas Beef Ribs, while rubs and sauces include Memphis Pork Rub, Piedmont Dip, and Lone Star Sauce and Mop. Cornbread, hushpuppies, and slaw are featured side dishes, and Dori's Peach Cobbler and Pig-Pickin' Cake provide a sweet finish. This book will put southerners in touch with their heritage and let those who aren't southerners pretend that they are.

About the Author

John Shelton Reed lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Cofounder of the Campaign for Real Barbecue (, his many books include Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, coauthored with Dale Volberg Reed.
For more information about John Shelton Reed, visit the Author Page.


"Reed wants to preserve local barbecue traditions against the fancy-food chefs of national ambition. . . . In Barbecue, he has translated those traditions for 'home production.' Which means that he has written an actual cookbook, reckoning that its recipes will teach home cooks how to cook Southern barbecue, local traditions thus maintained.--Terry Eastland, The Weekly Standard

"Reed is unapologetically opinionated, but his confidence is as sweet a match for his subject as peach cobbler."--Hanna Raskin, Charleston Post and Courier

“A very good cookbook on Southern barbecue. . . The writing is so good, and with such good humor, you can simply read and enjoy this book without trying any of the recipes.”--San Francisco Book Review

“Reed . . . distills his knowledge, and most importantly, translates this traditionally semi-pro and large scale culinary endeavor for the home cook.”--Appetite for Books

"John's recipe for a good cookbook is a combination of cultural history and classic recipes, liberally seasoned with his characteristically wry wit. . . . A terrific gift for folks who think they know everything about 'cue as well as those who need an introduction to N.C.'s most beloved and controversial foods."--Taste 2017 Food Guide

"John Shelton Reed has distilled in this little cookbook the essence of his barbecue knowledge. If you want to cook the barbecue canon, you'll find in it excellent recipes for all barbecue's greatest hits. If you want to learn about this great American food, this book offers enough facts, history, lore--and laughs--to satisfy your soul."--Lolis Eric Elie, author of Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country

Multimedia & Links

Visit the author's website

Visit the website for the Campaign for Real Barbecue,

Keep up with the Savor the South series on Facebook at

Watch: Southern Cultures journal video feature with John Shelton Reed, "That's One Deconstructed Goat." (2013, running time 4:19)