Cookbook Review: Franklin Barbecue a Meat-Smoking Manifesto

Saturday, April 11, 2015



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Franklin Barbeque is one of those cookbooks I have been anxiously waiting for since I first heard about its publication.  Our friends in Texas said that Franklin BBQ opens at 11 AM but people usually line up at 9 AM and everything is sold out by noon.  They vouched that Franklin BBQ is the best so we wanted to see if it lives up to its reputation.  

Unlike other BBQ books that are broken down into the different types of meat, Franklin organized his book in a way to teach you the concepts and technicalities for making the best Texas BBQ.  Franklin started the book off with Franklin BBQ’s humble beginning or rather Franklin’s journey of enjoying BBQ as a hobby at the time he met his wife, to his first BBQ job at John Mueller chopping cabbage, onion and cutting brisket for customers, and long road to opening his own BBQ joint.  I love his stories, DYI spirit, Craigslist prowling skill, willingness to get his hands dirty, and unwavering drive to make his dream a reality.  His success is truly reflective of one’s grit and passion to make the American dream come true.

Chapter two goes into the the nitty gritty of building your own smoker should you choose to.  He teaches the readers how to build an offset smoker vs an upright drum smoker but he also included many useful tips for buying a smoker if you’re not in the DYI camp.  In chapter 3, Franklin talked about the different types of wood, getting down to a molecular level which made the nerd in me smile, to provide the readers with the tools to bring out the best flavor of meat they’re smoking.  With the remaining chapters, Franklin teaches the readers how to start and observe a fire, choosing the best meat to BBQ, as well as making the different dry rubs, sauces, and side dishes.

We have only tried the ribs and the beans, and they turned out really good.  Mind blowing ribs?  Not quite, then again we are not smoking experts.  We would love to eat at Franklin BBQ in the future just to compare the book’s recipes to the real deal.  If you’re looking for a lot of recipes, this book will disappoint you.  Only twelve recipes are included in this book which cover dry rubs, meats like brisket, pork ribs, beef ribs, turkey breast, and a few side dishes.  If you’re willing to read the book from cover to cover, take really good notes, and pay attention to all the detail when you’re prepping and cooking meat, you’ll be well on your way to making darn good BBQ right in your backyard.  

In a way, this book reminds me of Relae and chef Christian Puglisi’s philosophy to teach concepts and techniques with the hope of inspiring people to explore and to transform the ingredients rather than restricting people to the written recipes.  As Franklin quoted, "I would like somebody to take away from it the fact that they don't need recipes... It's all about the craft."  Franklin Barbeque is really a meat smoking manifesto that explains why wood, fire, smoke, and meat work together the way they do.  We still can’t believe he put all of his insight and secrets into those pages.  Many good cookbooks exist but truly exceptional ones are rare.  This is one of those exceptional ones given how much depth and attention to detail Franklin brought to this book.  Franklin Barbeque is truly a masterpiece from from the country’s most celebrated pitmaster. 

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher 

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