10 Best Barbecue Books Every Pitmaster Should Read

10 Best Barbecue Books in 2021 Every Pitmaster Should Read

We may be living in a world of the internet, science and technology. But there is no denying the fact that the good old books still continue to fascinate us. There is still a big and growing demand for getting information, news and entertainment from books.

They are easy to read, and can be tucked away in our pockets and briefcases and we can read it while on the move. There is no need to depend on expensive gadgets and internet connection. Amongst the many subjects of interest, cooking recipes in the form of books are extremely popular.


I’m always on my toe when it comes to Barbeque, and if you are too, well we are certainly not alone. According to a survey by the HPBA, over 75% of adults in the US own a barbeque. Around 40% of them make use of it at least once a month during the winters.

In this article we will try and have a look at some of the best BBQ books for the benefit of our readers and others who are interesting in cuisines and culinary items.

Whether you are a pro or a beginner, tips from seasoned chefs will hone your BBQ skills. Let me list some of the best BBQ cookbook for you.

Our Top 10 Picks:






A Meat-Smoking Manifesto by Aaron Franklin
  • Whole Meat and brisket grilling training
  • Written by major barbecue award winner
  • Definitive resource for the backyard pitmaster


Smokin' with Myron Mixon Cookbook
  • 75+ of award-winning recipes
  • Mouth-watering photos
  • Great tips on basic to perfect ways to cook up ribs, brisket, and chicken


How to Grill Cookbook by Steven Raichlen
  • 1,000+ colorful photographs
  • Step-by-step technique cookbook
  • 100 cooking techniques


Smoking-Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue
  • Writer native of North Carolina
  • Perfect cookbook for beginners
  • Wide range of delicious recipes


Meathead: The Science Of Great-Barbecue & Grilling
  • Over 100 grilling recipes
  • New York Times Best Seller
  • The best solution book for outdoor cooking


Project Smoke Paperback By Steven Raichlen
  • More than 100 recipes
  • Step-by-step guide to mastering of smoking
  • Guide for different tools, fuels, and woods


Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book
  • World Championship BBQ Cook-Off winner writer
  • A great cookbook on how to smoke
  • Better true recipes and color photos


The Kamado Grill and Smoker Cookbook
  • Egg-shaped ceramic cooker tutorial
  • 52 cooking tutorials
  • Perfect for Kamado smoker and grill users


Michael Symon's Playing with Fire: BBQ and More from the Grill, Smoker, and Fireplace
  • Barbecue restaurant owner writer
  • 72 lip-smacking recipes
  • Expert guidance on grilling with different types of grills and smokers


Bill West’s Ultimate Wood Pellet Smoker Cookbook
  • Backyard bible for perfect grilling
  • 100+ classic and new BBQ recipes
  • Guide on how to use wood pellet grill

Things to Consider Before Buying A Best BBQ Book

If you look around the market, you will most certainly come around dozens of BBQ books. Each one is unique and different in its own way and therefore you could be a bit confused as to which books to buy. Hence we are sharing some useful tips which we are sure could help you to make the right choice.

  • It should be able to guide you. A good BBQ should be informative, educative and should even appeal to beginners. They should act as a good guide instead of being stuffed with too many jargons and other tough subject matters.
  • It should also share some useful information about the history of BBQs and the reasons why it continue to be popular even after some many decades and perhaps even centuries. It must keep the reader engaged and share details that are pertinent and important.
  • It should try and cover as many varieties of BBQs as possible. Further the best BBQ books are those which cater to the culinary and taste needs of different groups of people in the country and around the world.
  • Finally, mere text alone will make any BBQ drab and dull. There should be quality pictures and images and the information must be presented logical and easy to understand manner. Last but not the least price is also an important consideration. It should not be either too high or too low.
Best Barbecue Cookbooks Reviews

Now that we have a reasonably good idea about the various points to consider when buying the best BBQ and grilling books we will look at ten carefully chosen books. These are quite popular and we are also quite confident that it will help you to get the required information about the various aspects of BBQ cooking, and grilling.

Top 10 Best Grilling Cookbooks Review

1. Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto by Aaron Franklin, a best barbecue cookbooks

A classic story of rags to riches. Aaron Franklin and his wife started a small barbecue joint in 2009. Did they know it would become a successful franchise across the country? The debutant writer-chef gives out his secret recipes of success, which is arguably one of the best BBQ books. 

Unlike other books, this New-York Times Best-seller does not simply give the winning combinations of ingredients. Instead, it also brushes upon the history of barbecue tradition and the significance of a place. Irrespective of your level of competencies in barbequing, this is a must have collection for your kitchen

Readers can expect the following from the book:

  • Useful tips for backyard Pitmaster
  • Over and above the recipes, it touches upon the techniques, knowledge, culture and lore of BBQ
  • Recommendations to build your own smoker curated for your requirement
  • Tips to procuring the perfect wood, and maintain the fire
  • Shopping for the best quality meat
  • Recipes for cooking delicious barbecue
Tips: As a new BBQ lover, you have to must know the proper smoking times and temperatures

2. Smokin' with Myron Mixon: Recipes Made Simple, from the Winningest Man in Barbecue: A Cookbook

Myron Mixon is no wannabe chef, he is a breakout star of TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters. He mastered the art of barbeque in his childhood and grew up to expand parent’s sauce business.

In this BBQ book, Mixon puts to rest many myths in barbequing. He aims to democratize the art of BBQ so that it finds a place in every household’s backyard. He gives out details of 75 award-winning recipes in this book.

The author cum chef covers every steps in details, be it brining (hot and cold), marinating, injecting substances, and even using of foil and pans. It is aimed to help readers to get their BBQ fundamentals clear. 

Readers of this book can expect to be enlightened with the following:

  • The starter – zeroing in to the appropriate smoker, selecting the perfect wood for the flame
  • Intermediate – selecting the best ingredients for that perfect marinades, injections, rubs, and sauces
  • Advanced – trick and tips to prepare full hog/pig, ribs, chicken, turkey, and turkey. Not to mention, Mixon’s signature Cupcake Chicken. He also gives out recipes for duck, meatloaf and fatties
  • Touches upon side dishes such as cheesy taters, cheese-stuffed jalapenos, fire corn, baked beans, etc

3. How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques, A Barbecue Bible! Cookbook by Steven Raichlen

This is one of the bibles of barbequing techniques and clearly so. After all it is the recipient of the prestigious IACP Cookbook-Award. Steven Raichlenpens down the stepwise techniques for effective barbequing, and illustrates them with over 1000 vivid photographs.

This is one of those BBQ books that deserve the spotlight on every kitchens and backyards for professionals and home cooks.

The book details the following:

  • Techniques to set up a resourceful three-zone fire for the perfect grilling experience
  • Step-wise instructions to trim and dress various cuts of meat
  • Heavy on illustrations to show the texture of the food
  • Recipe for rub and BBQ sauce
  • Contains over 100 popular recipes such as smoke ribs, kebabs, tandoori, whole pig on the grill, etc

Jeff Phillips has over 300 pages of recipes and tutorials under his belt. Smoking Meat is undeniably one of the best BBQ cookbooks in the market. 

First half of the book talks about smoking essentials, grades of woods, methods involved, and various types of smokers. In the latter half he details his award winning recipes.

In this book, Jeff has detailed the sutra of smoke-ology, and explains each of the followings:

  • Best smoker you should buy
  • Tricks to customize smoker irrespective of whether it is charcoal, gas or electric
  • The science behind the flame – type of wood, necessary tools and supplies, and how to maintain the consistency of the fire
  • Essentials to stock a smoking-meat pantry
  • Ingredients essential to prepare the marinade - making sauces and rubs, the right foil, etc

This barbeque book also gives the recipes of popular delicacies such as Cherry-smoked Prime Rib, Al's 3-2-1 Asian Ribs, Chicken Quarters, Smoked Salmon, Smoked Hot Wings, and others.

5. Meathead: The Science Of Great Barbecue & Grilling By Craig “Meathead” Goldwyn & Greg Blonder

This New-York Times Bestseller is one of the highest rated books on the market with reviews from its readers. The authors proudly pen-names himself as a “meathead”. 

The book takes you through a gastronomic journey caressing the chemistry between heat, meat, and smokein the first-half. It lets lose the thermodynamics of heat transfer inside a kettle dome, and how to make delicious char-grilled steak.

The other half is doubly spicy with a deep fry of humor sharper than his pen-name. Greg Blonder sprinkles his dash of scientific research to add credence to their narratives. The book offers over 100 recipes including the mouth-watering skinny steaks and lip-smacking Smoked Potato-Salad.

The readers of this book can expect to witness a laughing riot as it is filled with metaphor that blends well with the recipes.

  • 400+ colorful images in this book
  • Latest recipes, didn’t released on the website or somewhere yet
  • The book is not only about producing good food, it is about understanding the science behind the recipe
  • One can expect to understand the combination of heat, grade of wood, density of smoke suited for a recipe
  • It talks about the importance of marinades, the impact of brines that work to flavor and enhance quality of meat

This book from Steven Raichlen is often considered to be an exciting new book with some of the best collections of BBQ recipes.

It offers step by step guide and complete information on various ways by which the art of smoking and barbecuing could be mastered. It contains more than 100 recipes and each one is unique and different in its own way.

The recipes are simply delicious, nutritious and would certainly go a long way in surprising even the most demanding guests. It also shares very useful and pertinent information about the different types of fuels, smoking woods and various other tools.

The book Project Smoke comes in paperback edition share useful information about cold-smoking, hot-smoking, smoking tea and hay and also rotisserie-smoking. 

There are few who believe that wherever there is smoke there ought to be this book from Steven Raichlen. It offers BBQ making covering some of the best food items. These include turkey, salmon, ribs, pork belly, brisket, desserts and cocktails.


  • Lucidly written by an expert who understands BBQ foods.
  • Step by step guide makes it easy to comprehend and try out.
  • More than 100 recipes Have pictures and images making it interesting.


  • Some users are not happy with the actual making process.
  • The contents are not properly arranged according to a few.

This book from Big Bob Gibson is considered to be one of the best cookbooks because of many reasons. The book has been authored by somebody who has won world championship awards on BBQ cooking for six years in a row. According to customers, Big Bob Gibson has passed on his family secrets to others through this book.

This book could teach you various insider tips such as unique flavors, right heating techniques and much more. It covers home oven, charcoal grill, or even backyard ground pit.

It has a big collection of menus and dishes covering beef brisket, pulled pork, poultry that is pit fire and much more. 


  • 75 color photos in depth coverage of menus.
  • Some better true recipes.
  • Easy to understand language.
  • Well researched and information filled.


  • Beginners may not find it interesting.

This wonderful Kamado grill and smoker cookbook is authored by Chris Grove. It is a very useful and informative BBQ recipe book who would like to try cooking barbecues the authentic way. 

It is well organized into 52 tutorials. It is a fine combination of cooking techniques and mouth watering recipes. 

You could aspire to move from casual griller to a master BBQ maker if you take this book seriously.

It takes care of almost every aspect of grilling and other related BBQ cooking. 


  • You can cover grilling, searing, smoking and other forms of BBQ cooking.
  • You also can learn both hot smoking and cold smoking.
  • Convection baking tips also shared. Brick oven baked recipes also available.


  • Cluttered with too many recipes.
  • Some dishes are too complicated.

Your search for some of the best classical American Barbecue dishes might end if you buy this book authored by Michael Symon. This book has some of the most fascinating recipes covering the entire country. 

It all comes to the readers in the form of 72 lip smacking recipes many of which have stood the test of time. The recipes could cover the Nashville wet ribs to the dry ribs emanating from Memphis. It has a host of other BBQ recipes famous in different parts of the country.

As a reader you certainly will be able to get in insight into the best of BBQ cooking from an expert.


  • Different styles of grills & smokers.
  • Learn aromatic woods for smoking.
  • Understand nutritional and healthy BBQ making.


  • Not suitable for professionals perhaps only elementary information has been shared according to a few.

Authored by Bill West, this Ultimate Wood Pellet Smoker Cookbook offers some of the best sizzling sides apart from main BBQ dishes. It is suitable for those who are taking baby steps in BBQ making. It certainly can give you all information you need to understand about wood pellet smoking.

It is suitable for the backyard cook who would like to make their grilling game hotter and tastier. It has a wonderful collection of 110 top class recipes each one delicious in its own way. 

This cookbook covers chicken recipes (smoke-fried), baby back ribs, and quite a few other such stunning recipes. 


  • It is often called as the grilling-made-easy booked.
  • Succinctly explained and suitable even for beginners.
  • Quality pictures make it even more exciting.
  • One of the best wood pellet smoking books.


  • Pros and professionals may not find it impressive. A length recipe and cooking instruction.

The chilly winters is slowly gripping most of the US states, reminding us to start inviting friends for parties. Social gathering is almost incomplete without food and what best other than America’s time memorable Love Affair with Backyard-Cooking? The best chefs have penned down their magic recipes to successful barbequing, get your copy now. 

We are sure that the above ten reviews will give you a reasonably good idea about what to expect from some of the best barbecue books. These are just a few and if you do your research and move around a bit, you certainly will get many other such books authored by famous BBQ experts.

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Theresa Lori

Hi, I'm Theresa. My passion for grilling delicacy gradually built during the time I was living with my parents. My family members especially my mother was a great fan of grilled dishes to and from the love of food. I started preparing smoked food with my mom. This bonding helped me to know more and more about to smoke, grill what always I share on SmokeGears.com. So, in two words you can call me a BBQ lover.

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