Practice will lead to success. Even if you are an amateur now, you can become a professional by practicing hard, of course, with the right guidance.
So, if you’re serious about your barbecue hobby, want to level up your skills or compete in a barbecue contest in the future, it’s time to buy best barbecue books to get started.
Anyway, you want to host delicious barbecue parties for family and friends at the weekend, right?
Whether you tend to buy or not, just skim through my review and decide later.
Table of Contents
Why Cookbooks Are Still Top Choice?
Nowadays, people tend to browse the Internet for everything they need, including cooking recipes. But there are many people who are still loyal to cookbooks. Here are some reasons why:
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- A cookbook could be a valuable and meaningful gift to your beloved and friends who like cooking.
- You can carry it around, even when standing next to the grill for quick reference. Of course, you don’t want any kind of electronic device near the place full of grease and heat.
- You can also easily come back to your favorite recipes by marking them with little bookmarks, and freely add your notes and comments wherever you like.
- You will have no trouble with the sleep mode of digital device anymore. Imagine you are in the middle of the recipes for barbecue sauce, your hands are covered with stuff and the screen goes off. In this case, I suggest printing it out or buy a cookbook right away.
Which Are The Best Barbecue Books To Buy?
You can scan through 15 best barbecue books in my below list. I also capture the best aspects of each book.
- Best Overall – Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling
“Contains many barbecue recipes and scientifically how to cook like that, written by an internationally renowned blogger specializing in outdoor cooking.”
- Best Budget – Weber’s Ultimate Grilling: A Step-by-Step Guide to Barbecue Genius
“Focus on the basic steps and details, features 125 recipes, 200 techniques and tips, and 750 instructive photos, affordable price.”
- Best for Smoking – Project Smoke
“Extremely easy to follow recipes on a variety of different types of smokers, offers all smoking techniques.”
- Best for Firewood Cooking – Smoke: New Firewood Cooking: How To Build Flavor with Fire on the Grill and in the Kitchen
“Helpful for firewood cooking projects in general, including barbecue, full of unique recipes with carefully prepared ingredients.”
- Best for Beginners – Diva Q’s Barbecue: 195 Recipes for Cooking with Family, Friends & Fire
“Clear instruction, covers everything you need to know from smoker types and their usages to wood options, temperatures, marinades….”
- Best for Business – Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto
“Valuable reference source for serious BBQ hobbyist, tell the story from the very first days to mastering the barbecue skills.”
- Best for Electric Smoking – The Complete Electric Smoker Cookbook: Over 100 Tasty Recipes and Step-by-Step Techniques to Smoke Just About Everything
“Suitable for brand-new pitmasters, informative and useful book, covers basic knowledge related to barbecue.”
- Best for Home Barbecue – Smoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue
“Plenty of mouthwatering recipes, a lot of good rubs and sauces for unforgettable taste for home-cooking barbecue.”
- Best for Barbecue Sauce – Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint: A Cookbook
“Full of beautiful photos, easy-to-follow instructions, and interesting stories, easy barbecue sauces recipes for your personal taste.”
- Best for Barbecue Technique – Pitmaster: Recipes, Techniques, and Barbecue Wisdom
“Knowledge and experiences from two famous pitmasters and other guest pitmasters.”
- Best for Wood Pellet Smoker – The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for the Most Flavorful and Delicious Barbecue
“Grills and smokers’ background and basic structure, great tips to level up barbecue skills.”
- Best for Brisket – The Brisket Chronicles: How to Barbecue, Braise, Smoke, and Cure the World’s Most Epic Cut of Meat
“Valuable tips, tricks about brisket, from a trusted author in the community of barbecue lovers, .”
Barbecue Books Comparison Table 2021
The comparison table below will give you a general view of 15 best barbecue books in the market. Let’s have a look at it!
My Reviews For The Best Barbecue Books in 2021
It’s time to look into the advantages and disadvantages of 15 best barbecue books products that I have found.
1. Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling
If you want to find a book that both provides delicious barbecue recipes and explains to you scientifically how to cook like that, Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling is a document you should refer to.
It was written by Meathead Goldwyn – an internationally renowned blogger who owns the AmazingRibs.com, an award-winning website specializing in outdoor cooking.
His writings have been well-received by the community and appeared in many popular papers such as the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune.
In this colorful 400-page book, together with co-author food scientist Greg Blonder, you will be introduced to the science of cooking, more specifically barbecue and grilling.
If you primarily cook based on your senses, the book will guide you in a new direction that will ensure more consistent results.
In addition, it also has many recipes that have not been posted on the website, so you can get your hands on while reading.
Two authors also provide lots of tips and tricks from basic concepts about searing and the proper use of salt, to commonly held myths and misconceptions about certain cooking topics.
- 400 pages of colorful photos and text
- Written by a famous outdoor cooking blogger and a food scientist
- Provides brand new recipes
- Explain common myths about barbecue and grilling
- Informative and interesting
- Nice design
- Compilation of the science of barbecue
- Sharing personal and hands-on experiments on barbecue
- If you’re looking for a cookbook full of recipes, then it’s not for you
- There are a lot of “why” and “how-to” in the book, so those who prefer a short, direct approach should know beforehand
|Dimension||8.2 x 1.3 x 10.1 inches|
|Title||Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling|
|Publisher||Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Publication date||May 10, 2016|
2. Weber’s Ultimate Grilling: A Step-by-Step Guide to Barbecue Genius
If you are new to barbecue, you will probably find this book extremely useful.
The author has not rushed to introduce complex grilling techniques but focuses on the basic steps and details, for example, the four T’s (temperature, time, techniques, tools).
The book features 125 recipes, 200 techniques and tips, and 750 instructive photos.
Its author, Jamie Purviance, has been working as a food writer for publications. “Weber’s Ultimate Grilling” is the knowledge accumulation of his 20 years as Weber’s master griller and teacher.
With 352 pages of colorful pictures, infographics, illustrations, and tips, this book will definitely improve your barbecue skills to the next level to treat families and guests with delicious and various dishes every weekend.
- Basic knowledge about barbecue and grilling
- Instructive and beautiful photos and illustrations
- A lot of great tips
- Written by an experienced teacher
- Provides variations of grilling recipes
- Well-known barbecue innovation brand
- Affordable price
- Easy-to-apply recipes
- Great for beginners
- It might be difficult for you to lay the book flat when cooking because of how it’s bound
|Dimension||8.5 x 10.9 inches|
|Title||Weber’s Ultimate Grilling: A Step-by-Step Guide to Barbecue Genius|
|Publisher||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Publication date||April 23, 2019|
3. Project Smoke
(Best for Smoking)
If you are looking for new barbecue recipes that are far different from traditional ones, then Steven Raichlen will fulfill your wishes in his book, namely Project Smoke.
Also, these recipes are excellent and extremely easy to follow on various types of smokers.
This book will guide you through all the techniques of smoking that you would die to know if you want to level up your barbecue game.
Moreover, you will collect a lot of information about brines, rubs, sauces and marinades, and different fuel options. This edition comes 336 pages of full color photos.
All in all, Steven Raichlen will nail everything you need to know about smoking.
- Includes 100 recipes with full color photos
- Essential techniques for all types of smoking
- Written by a bestseller author
- Comes with full color photos
- Easy-to-follow and original recipes
- Comprehensive and funny writing style for joyful reading
- Advice from a barbecue master which actually works
- You might find some a bit unfamiliar recipes with not easy to find ingredients to cook
|Dimension||7 x 1 x 9 inches|
|Format||Hardcover, Kindle, Paperback, Spiral-bound|
|Publication date||May 10, 2016|
4. Smoke: New Firewood Cooking: How To Build Flavor with Fire on the Grill and in the Kitchen
(Best for Firewood Cooking)
If you are serious about firewood cooking projects in general, including barbecue, this book will be very helpful.
The author is an extremely passionate and enthusiastic person and you will feel this clearly through the recipes shared across the pages.
It offers a lot of basic knowledge about traditional southern barbecue so you can apply it right next weekend.
Besides, it requires a real commitment to follow every step from this book because there are many unique recipes with ingredients that need a lot of time to prepare to bring satisfactory results in form and flavor.
This book comes with well-designed print and visual layouts.
- Full of unique recipes with carefully prepared ingredients
- Nice and interesting food photos
- Solid, hard-back binding
- Written by a famous chef of restaurants in Texas
- Inspiring content
- Covers all kind of foods
- Knowledge and experiences about outdoor cooking
- Well-designed cookbook
- There might be not as many recipes as you expect from a cookbook
|Dimension||8.2 x 1.2 x 10.2 inches|
|Title||Smoke: New Firewood Cooking: How To Build Flavor with Fire on the Grill and in the Kitchen|
|Publication date||April 30, 2013|
5. Diva Q’s Barbecue: 195 Recipes for Cooking with Family, Friends & Fire
(Best for Beginners)
This cookbook is packed with many full color photography and nice layouts, which make you feel hungry even just by looking at them.
Like a dedicated author and barbecue enthusiast, Danielle covers everything you need to know from smoker types and their usages to wood options, temperatures, marinades, beef, fish, pork, veggies, side dishes, even paired drinks for each recipe.
As far as I know, Diva Q is the face of BBQ Crawl show and one of Canada’s top barbecue experts.
This book will inspire and help you improve your backyard barbecue greatly. The instruction is clear and easy to follow. There will be no more bad barbecue from now on.
- Packed with many full color photography and nice layouts
- Covers everything related to grill, barbecue, and smoking
- Simple and common ingredients for easy cooking
- Written by a barbecue enthusiast and expert
- Easy to follow recipes
- Most recipes were even paired with a drink
- Offers a lot of helpful tips
- Backed by many Youtube instruction links
- For those who are advanced barbecuers might find it a bit too simple
|Dimension||8.1 x 0.8 x 10 inches|
|Title||Diva Q’s Barbecue: 195 Recipes for Cooking with Family, Friends & Fire|
|Publisher||Appetite by Random House|
|Publication date||April 26, 2016|
6. Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto
(Best for Business)
This book is a valuable reference source for serious BBQ hobbyists, especially restaurant owners who are looking for unique, hard-won insight from a professional.
As a winner of many barbecue awards out there, a top pitmaster and an owner of the most popular restaurant in the country, Aaron Franklin has got many things to share.
Throughout the book, you will see the reflection of the author’s personal journey from the very first days to mastering the barbecue skills, including smoker, wood, fire, meat, rub and time.
Under the guidance of Aaron Franklin and his coauthor Jordan Mackay, you are exposed to the philosophy behind cooking.
Additionally, the book introduces basic steps to set up a barbecue business such as building your home smoker, choosing the right wood, creating perfect fires, selecting fresh meat, and of course, cooking delicious barbecue.
- Valuable reference source
- Written by BBQ award winner and restaurant owner
- Reflection of the author’s personal journey
- More suitable for restaurants than backyard barbecue
- Hard-won insight and pro tips of a BBQ pitmaster
- Full of interesting, sharing and inspiring stories
- Great book on brisket and smoking meats
- It’s more of an inspirational book, not a “how-to” cookbook and doesn’t contain many recipes
|Dimension||8.2 x 1 x 10.2 inches|
|Title||Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto|
|Publisher||Ten Speed Press|
|Publication date||April 7, 2015|
7. The Complete Electric Smoker Cookbook: Over 100 Tasty Recipes and Step-by-Step Techniques to Smoke Just About Everything
(Best for Electric Smoking)
If you’ve just bought an electric smoker, besides learning the user manual, you also need to learn some recipes to get started. The complete electric smoker cookbook by Bill West is all you need right now.
In terms of relevance, perhaps the book is suitable for brand-new pitmasters rather than advanced barbecuers.
It features overall topics that are related to smoking, such as pick the right electric smoker, how to use it, different types of wood, cuts of meats.
It’s an informative and useful book which I definitely recommend to everyone who loves to cook with an electric smoker.
- Provide overall knowledge about electric smoker
- Specific directions for better cooking results
- Cooking charts make everything understandable
- Written by a popular blogger, author of BarbecueTricks.com
- Easy cooking directions
- Lots of great ideas and tips
- Must-have book for beginners
- I hope it has more photos and illustration for better reading experience
- There might be some blur pages in this book
|Dimension||7.5 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches|
|Title||The Complete Electric Smoker Cookbook: Over 100 Tasty Recipes and Step-by-Step Techniques to Smoke Just About Everything|
|Format||Kindle, Audiobook, Paperback|
|Publication date||September 26, 2017|
8. Smoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue
(Best for Home Barbecue)
In this book, Jeff Phillips brings you plenty of recipes that are both easy to prepare and mouthwatering.
His recipes cover all dishes including beef, pork, poultry, fish, namely smoked chicken quarters, al’s 3-2-1 asian ribs, pan-smoked brisket, cherry-smoked prime rib, smoked hot wings, smoked whole turkey…
Smoke meat guides readers through some basic knowledge about smoking, such as how to choose the right smoker model, how to operate smoothly, how to choose the right kind of wood, and how to stock smoked meat for later use.
The book supports you from preparing the ingredients until the food is served.
It also offers a lot of good rubs and sauces to create an unforgettable taste for home-cooking barbecue.
- Contains fundamentals of smoking
- Written by a creator of the world’s highest-ranking website on smoking meat
- Clear step by step instruction
- Thoughtful information for barbecue enthusiasts
- Easy to prepare and savory recipes
- A lot of “how-to” guide
- Good rubs and sauces to use
- The book goes a little deeper into exploring the different types of smoker equipment and how to choose them. If you are not very concerned about this information, you may feel a bit dissatisfied
|Dimension||8.5 x 1 x 9.8 inches|
|Title||Smoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue|
|Publication date||April 27, 2012|
9. Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint: A Cookbook
(Best for Barbecue Sauce)
What I like best about this book are the ways to make rubs and sauces. With step-by-step instructions, you can easily create your own barbecue sauces to suit your personal taste and no longer need to store any bottled sauces at your pantry.
It’s chock full of mouthwatering photos, clear instructions, and interesting stories.
With his passion, author Chris Lilly provides a lot of valuable knowledge about barbecue from building fires to making delicious sauces.
This is one of the most interesting and comprehensive cookbooks I’ve ever bought.
- Comprehensive barbecue book
- Written by world-champion pitmaster and executive chef of Alabama’s Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Q
- Mouthwatering photographs
- Full of tasting recipes
- Clear and detailed explanation for each recipe
- Entertaining, thoughtful and informative content
- Easy to customize your own flavors
- Easy-to-follow instructions
- It might be great for all barbecue beginners
- If you tend to skip history part of any cookbook, you might want to reconsider your purchasing decision of this book
|Dimension||8 x 0.7 x 10.3 inches|
|Title||Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint: A Cookbook|
|Publication date||May 12, 2009|
10. Pitmaster: Recipes, Techniques, and Barbecue Wisdom
(Best for Barbecue Techniques)
Pitmasters brings together knowledge and experiences of two famous pitmasters Andy Husbands and Chris Hart, as well as contributions from other guest pitmasters, including Steve Raichlen (author and host of Project Smoke on PBS), Elizabeth Karmel (Carolina Cue To Go), Tuffy Stone (Q Barbecue)…
You could find tons of delicious recipes here in this book for backyard grilling and barbecue at the weekend.
You also learn to build the proper fire, create regional barbecue styles, make regional side dishes and paired cocktails.
All the photos which come with the book are well-designed with high-quality printing for better cooking experience.
- Collection of pitmasters’ experiences
- Excellent photo design and printing
- Basic steps and instructions for barbecue cooking
- Comes with many barbecue styles recipes
- Easy to follow
- Full of tips and techniques from various pitmasters
- Strictly speaking, it might be more of a coffee table book than a cookbook
|Dimension||8.4 x 0.8 x 10.3 inches|
|Title||Pitmaster: Recipes, Techniques, and Barbecue Wisdom|
|Publisher||Fair Winds Press|
|Publication date||March 15, 2017|
11. The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for the Most Flavorful and Delicious Barbecue
(Best for Wood Pellet Smoker)
If you are considering buying a pellet grill or smoker, I think you should buy this book for reference first.
Peter Jautaikis helps you dive into the grills and smokers’ background and basic structure of popular grill and smoker models in the market.
Moreover, he provides two detailed charts on both cooking time and the type of wood for each smoker. This kind of information is very useful when operating a new one.
Additionally, there are many tips for you to level up your barbecue skills.
If you are a brand new barbecuer, the book includes many instructions that you can understand and apply, and if you are an advanced griller, you will also learn something else here in this book.
- High-quality photography and beautiful layouts
- Excellent recipes with recommended wood pellets to use
- Great brine and sauces knowledge
- Covers all necessary grilling and barbecue topics
- Easy to read and understand
- Easy to follow recipes
- Thorough instruction on how to choose the right smoker
- It would be great if there is more information about choosing and injecting meat for barbecue cooking
|Dimension||7 x 0.8 x 9 inches|
|Title||The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for the Most Flavorful and Delicious Barbecue|
|Publication date||May 17, 2016|
12. The Brisket Chronicles: How to Barbecue, Braise, Smoke, and Cure the World’s Most Epic Cut of Meat
(Best for Brisket)
The book is written by Steven Raichlen, one of the most prominent and trusted authors in the community of barbecue lovers. The Brisket Chronicles is one of my favorite books when it comes to making corned beef and pastrami.
It’s a safe bet whether you are a newbie or an experienced barbecuer, this book can bring you a whole new world of brisket. It covers everything you need to know about this topic.
Right at the beginning of the book, the author has given many suggestions that work well to keep your briskets tender and succulent. He then shows you different types of grills or smokers you can use and many different cooking styles and methods.
- Covers everything about brisket
- Written by reputed author
- Full of recipes and useful techniques
- Beautiful design and high-quality printing
- Comprehensive guide about brisket
- Understandable cooking directions
- Satisfying recipes for smoking food lovers
- If you want more “how-to” instructions rather than recipes, you can try purchasing another book
|Dimension||6.9 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches|
|Title||The Brisket Chronicles: How to Barbecue, Braise, Smoke, and Cure the World’s Most Epic Cut of Meat|
|Format||Hardcover, Kindle, Paperback, Spiral-bound|
|Publisher||Workman Publishing Company|
|Publication date||April 30, 2019|
13. Peace, Love & Barbecue: Recipes, Secrets, Tall Tales, and Outright Lies from the Legends of Barbecue: A Cookbook
Unlike other cookbooks, this is a storytelling cookbook that you can read many times over and over again when you need to refer to a thing related to BBQ. It comes with a lot of helpful information covering basic knowledge you will love to know.
What I like about this book is the comforting atmosphere that the author created with the reader. It’s not one-way communication. People seem to be invited to interact with his fabulous stories when reading.
It also gives you many recipes from all over places, which allows you to try all kinds of different things.
I recommend buying it for all of your friends who really love barbecue.
- Introduce history of barbecue
- Tons of helpful information
- Include many useful and fabulous stories
- Various recipes to choose from
- Fun and friendly tone and mood
- Feel comfortable when reading
- Easy to understand cooking knowledge
- Easy to follow recipe
- It might be more of storytelling book rather than recipe cookbook
|Dimension||8 x 0.9 x 10 inches|
|Title||Peace, Love & Barbecue: Recipes, Secrets, Tall Tales, and Outright Lies from the Legends of Barbecue: A Cookbook|
|Format||Library Binding, Kindle, Paperback|
|Publication date||May 20, 2005|
14. The Smoke Shop’s Backyard BBQ: Eat, Drink, and Party Like a Pitmaster
This is a great cookbook written like a refreshing conversation between family and friends about food, drink and passion at the weekend.
It contains great food photos that make you want to immediately fire up the pit and cook it right away. All the recipes are tasting and easy to prepare.
Each recipe lists the ingredients needed, any special equipment required, the method for preparing, and how to store the leftovers properly.
You have the recipes needed to prepare everything you could possibly need to have an excellent barbecue, including the main dishes, side dishes, cocktails, and desserts. I am very impressed with this cookbook.
- Well-illustrated cookbook with beautiful photos
- Excellent recipes including the main dishes, side dishes and drinks
- Written by an award-winning pitmaster
- Easy to follow
- Detailed instructions for better results
- Inspiring content for barbecue’s lovers
- Strong binding book with thick pages
- It might not be suitable for novice
- Some recipes might be old for those who have been cooking barbecue for many years
|Dimension||8.2 x 0.8 x 10.2 inches|
|Title||The Smoke Shop’s Backyard BBQ: Eat, Drink, and Party Like a Pitmaster|
|Publisher||Fair Winds Press|
|Publication date||February 18, 2020|
15. Smokin’ with Myron Mixon: Recipes Made Simple, from the Winningest Man in Barbecue: A Cookbook
If you’re curious about techniques and tips as well as the recipe from a four-time world barbecue champion, this book is a must-have.
Myron Mixon will offer you all basic and simple recipes that you need to know when starting barbecue cooking. He’ll show you how to make rubs, marinades and everything else. If you follow his methods, the result will be very promising.
Smoking with Myron Mixon includes not only the main dish but also side dishes, drinks, and non-smoker dishes, so you always have a lot of options every day.
Last but not least, with the experience of someone who has won many contests, in this book, Myron Mixon is willing to share a bunch of valuable tips, tricks, and recipes you can use in your next BBQ competition.
Or you have a friend who is about to join a BBQ contest; then, you can buy it as a gift for her/him.
- Lots of recipes
- Interesting book to read with many background stories
- Written by a BBQ master
- Good design
- Easy to cook with easy to prepare ingredients
- Full of tips and tricks for BBQ contesters
- Includes non-smoker recipes
- Besides the helpful tips and tricks, you may find the book’s recipes a bit too simple
|Dimension||7.4 x 0.4 x 9.1 inches|
|Title||Smokin’ with Myron Mixon: Recipes Made Simple, from the Winningest Man in Barbecue: A Cookbook|
|Format||Paperback, Kindle, Spiral-bound|
|Publication date||May 10, 2011|
Buying Guide For Best Barbecue Books
The selection process of best barbecue books can be simplified by focusing on the following factors to help you decide what’s right for you:
The most important thing when choosing a book that’s right for you is content. You need to know that you are looking only for barbecue recipes or background information or both.
You prefer an electric smoker or wood pellet one. You want more about rubs and sauces or brisket. Do you care about side dishes and pair drinks recipes?
To avoid returning the book, you can actively find out about the author before buying and see if you are suitable for the author’s style of cooking and characteristics.
Currently, there is a lot of information on the website, online articles or Youtube channels that help you somewhat contact with the author and give a general impression.
The book’s preview can help you capture a bit of the author’s writing style to see if you can digest the provided knowledge and make them useful for your barbecue learning.
Printing And Binding Quality
Quality of photos, illustrated pictures, visual layouts, and printing plays an essential role in helping you get more excited to practice the recipes in the book.
I am also interested in whether the book is bound carefully and can lay flat.
You can choose different book formats to suit your budget and personal preferences.
Electronic books have two options: Kindle and audiobook while printed books are available in hardcover, paperback and spiral-bound copy.
My Top Pick
My review showcase 15 best barbecue books which ring a bell among the fire pit community, so you can refer to.
I hope you find it helpful and finally buy your suitable book to guide you toward your goals step by step.
And my favorite book is Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling for its comprehensive, inspiring, and useful knowledge about barbecue.
Share your thoughts about best barbecue books below. I am looking forward to hearing from all of the barbecue enthusiasts around the world.