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Father's Day Gifts: The Best Barbecue and Food Books for Dad

Posted: 06/ 9/10 04:03 PM ET

2010-06-09-disaster_chicken.jpg"Give a man a chicken and he will turn it into a black lump. Teach a man to grill a chicken and he will gloat all night." Meathead

Dad's chicken look like this? Doesn't have to. Cooking outdoors is different than cooking indoors. But there is help. There are a number of good books that can rescue him (and you).

Below are some of my favorite books about barbecue, grilling, and cooking. Click the title to see the current price on Amazon. Click here for a complete list of all of the barbecue books on Amazon. Click here for more of my favorite food and cooking books.

What's your favorite book for dad?
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Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint by Chris Lilly
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Chris Lilly is the Executive Chef of one of the nation's classic old BBQ joints, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, in Decatur, AL. He is also the head of the restaurant's much decorated competition team. Surprisingly thin with a pointy chin and piercing eyes, his angularity is significantly softened by his drawl.

Most barbecue chefs have a pretty small repertoire, limited to the classic Southern barbecue canon, ribs, pulled pork, brisket, chicken, sausage, and sides like beans, cornbread, and slaw. Yes, they're all there in this superb book, but Lilly also includes fun riffs on Caribbean Jerk Pork and Bacon Wrapped Shrimp. There is also a version of Big Bob's famous white chicken sauce, but I he clearly felt restrained from giving away the restaurant's secret recipe, and frankly, I think my reverse engineering of the ingredients comes closer to the real deal.

Lilly is a fine story teller, and he shares with us what it is like to work at a small town barbecue joint, as well as the fascinating legend of Big Bob and his family all the way back to 1925.

The photos by Ben Fink are rich and rustic, and it's a shame he is only mentioned in small type in the back of the book. He deserves cover credit. The images really make the recipes look worth cooking and make Big Bob's look like a destination. Likewise the historic images give the reader a real sense of the heritage of the recipes.

I have one other nit to pick, and that's the table of contents, which contains only chapter titles and not a listing of the stories and recipes. If classic Southern Barbecue is your goal, this is the one book you need.

On Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint by Chris Lilly
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Full Disclosure. If you click a link to Amazon in this article and make a purchase, the author gets a small referral fee. It has zero impact on the price you pay or on his product recommendations.

Copyright (c) 2010 By Meathead, and all rights are reserved. For more of Meathead's writing, photos, and recipes, please visit his website, friend him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.


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