|JOHN SHELTON REED||
Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue
"Even if it didn't taste so good, we would like North Carolina barbecue for its inspirational nature. Like chile in New Mexico and cheese curds in Wisconsin, its rituals and lore stir passionate symposia, infusing Holy Smoke with a sense of purpose that is biblical."
(Jane and Michael Stern, Roadfood.com)
"Informative, fast-paced, thorough, and filled with facts. I was reading through it the other evening and could have sworn I smelled the sharp, smoky aroma of pork slowly cooking over hickory coals. . . . A most worthy book about Tar Heel Barbecue [and] an indispensable reference work.”
(Jack Betts, The Charlotte Observer)
"Brimming with factoids, field intelligence, received wisdom, and fine art. . . . A harmonic convergence that resonates with good-natured humor."
"It's smart. And it's oftentimes funny. For the faithful who seek the smoky grail, this is it, the gospel truth."
(John T. Edge)
"A cultural and culinary history of barbecue [that] includes directions on shaping cornmeal into perfect hush puppies, a who's who of the region's pit masters, and mouthwatering photographs of sizzling pigs."
(Chronicle of Higher Education)
“A monumental survey of a topic central to any accurate social, cultural, or gustatory profile of the Tar Heel state. . . . Impossible to read in a hurry. Like its subject, it demands slow savoring, preferably with somebody else at hand to read portions aloud to, sharing the feast.”
(Jerry Leath Mills, North Carolina Literary Review)
“[The authors] help 'cue fans navigate the smoky waters of North Carolina cuisine -- its history, practice and players -- in this expert guide, tempered with a smart sense of humor and true love for the food . . . . [They] delve deep into all facets of the cuisine, including its social and political significance, and offer tips on picking one's restaurants wisely, a blueprint for building your own pit, and recipes. [Readers will] certainly gain a deeper appreciation and understanding for this remarkably complex regional style and the characters who keep it alive.”
“A new BBQ testament. . . . the kind of book that anyone who appreciates good barbecue can sink their teeth into. . . . kind of a history and scrapbook combined. . . .well researched, well written, lively, fun, and . . . packed with regional flavor. . . . Two thumbs up and big shake of barbecue sauce!”
(Cyndi “Grill Girl” Allison)
“Colorful anecdotes, poetry, quotes, songs, and mouth-watering illustrations. . . . an enjoyable read, interwoven with religious, political, and military history that puts the fine swine in its proper place in the Old North State’s story.”
(Eric Groce, H-Net Reviews)
"'Does the world really need another barbecue book?' The answer is yes, thanks to the book's dozens of useful recipes (some lending credence to the claim that three pillars of Southern cooking are sugar, salt and fat), hundreds of evocative illustrations and photos, and a narrative spiced with historical anecdotes."
(Aram Bakshian, Wall Street Journal)
"Savory regionalism, localist patriotism in service of the palate. The Reeds and McKinney are poets of pork North Carolina style, whose superiority to the barbecue of the Outside World they assert with conviction, wit, and a comfortable erudition—but then it is hard to be pedantic when discussing the etymology of 'pig-picking.' Holy smoke indeed."
(Bill Kauffman, Front Porch Republic)
“Thorough research and entertaining narrative. . . . Could easily serve as a textbook on the history of North Carolina and/or the history of barbecue.”
(North Carolina Libraries)
“Distinct, thorough, and entertaining. . . . The research is astounding . . . . A refreshing, informative, and focused portrait of one of the region’s iconic food traditions.”
(Amy C. Evans, Journal of Southern History)
“Ranges from the roasted meats of Homer’s Iliad to yellow page ads in the restaurant sections of North Carolina telephone directories . . . . Should bring readers to a deeper respect for an American art form.”
(Fred Sauceman, Southern Cultures)
“A definitive guide.” (Appetite for Books)
"One of a kind, offering a comprehensive exploration of the Tar Heel barbecue tradition."
"A fine book, one that every Tar Heel, whether born and bred or merely welcomed and fed, needs to read carefully."
(Tim Tyson, Raleigh News & Observer)
"In a state where barbecue rules, this is the constitution. It's also a field guide and a backyard manual for how to prepare barbecue and the proper sides properly. Brightly written and profusely illustrated, it's often funny, too. Good food writing is always fun. This rates as a treat."
(Greensboro News and Record)
"This heartfelt, thorough, witty compendium of the state's barbecue places, pitmasters, pig pickins, history lessons, tall tales and basic recipes makes me bone-deep homesick in a way I haven't felt in years."
(Rachel Wharton, The Art of Eating)
"An excellent guide to the Tar Heel state's distinctive interpretation of a great American cooking style."
(Christian Science Monitor)
"The authors show that barbecue is more than just a meal. . . . All visitors to North Carolina should keep this relevant guide at their fingertips."
"Captures the near-religious fervor that devotees have for this succulent sustenance."
"What every book on barbecue should aim to be: well-researched, wide-ranging, funny, lavishly illustrated, and just downright enjoyable."
"Part cookbook, part how-to manual for the backyard barbecuer and part historical treatise. . . . This well-researched book is a hymn of praise to those pitmasters who have long labored over fires fueled by hickory and smoke."
(Blue Ridge Country)
"A fascinating book. . . . It's not wide, but man is it deep."
"A comprehensive and entertaining exploration of the Tar Heel barbecue tradition. . . . Holy Smoke is full of everything you might want to know about Tar Heel 'cue, and probably more."
(Terry Eastland, The Weekly Standard)
"Holy Smoke embraces the subtleties and complexities of our exquisite state dish and all the lore that surrounds it. . . . As enticing as a tray of outside coarse-chopped with hushpuppies and a Cheerwine at Lexington.”
"The first definitive guide to the people, places and culinary secrets behind the world's best barbecue."
(Carolina Arts & Sciences News)
"Sure to be a favorite with folks who love the Tar Heel state and its history and foodways. . . . True Tar Heels will have a hard time giving this one away, so buy two."
(Moreton Neal, Metro Magazine)
"Jam-packed with entertaining and authoritative history, culture, personality sketches, and thoughtful opinion."
(D. G. Martin)
"Leaves no glowing coal unturned in its examination of our state's barbecue history, cooking techniques, recipes, and characters who have honed the fine art of turning hogs into something heavenly.
"The most definitive book . . . on the food that ties sons and daughters of The Old North State together by the taste buds."
"[A] funny, fantastically southern memoir of the infamous East-West brawl over North Carolina barbecue. . . . Everything we ever wanted to know about the history of the 'cue, the sauce, and the people behind this Tar Heel tradition."
"Filled with history, interviews and all kinds of kooky heirloom Southern recipes, this is a lovingly curated book on the 'barbeculture' of the Tar Heel state."
"A dance through the legends, history, fables and reality of North Carolina barbecue. . . . While laughing along with the fun stories, don't forget to take the recipes seriously."
"Much more than a simple collection of recipes, the book supplements its exploration of this regional favorite by delving into the history of North Carolina barbecue. . . . And of course, there's no shortage of recipes and cooking techniques presented here, covering not only the meat, but a variety of side dishes, deserts, and even that signature Southern beverage, iced tea."
“May be the best tome ever written about pulled pork.”
(Jim Auchmutey, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
“Like a pitmaster’s barbecue pit: unhurried, warm and wrapped in delicate, tasty flavors.”
(Chattanooga Times-Free Press)
"If you crossed M. F. K. Fisher with Charles Kuralt, you'd end up with something close to the authors Reed. . . . This is regional gastronomy at its finest, copiously illustrated and written with wit. The aroma of Carolina 'cue almost wafts from its pages."
(C. C. Black)
"Holy Smoke gets an A+ for design. It's crisply graphic, a stroll down memory lane with reproductions of old-timey menus, barbecue signs, cartoons, and package labels . . . along with vintage black and white photographs. Few books are such fun to read and precious few as well written."