By Matt Pelton
Cedar Fort Publishing, $18.99, 128 pages
This relatively thin volume is an excellent southern-style barbecuing cookbook. Up in Smoke, by pit master Matt Pelton, covers everything beginners need to know while still serving as a reference for advanced barbecue cooks. Just don’t expect grilling tips for burgers. Up in Smoke is all about large chunks of meat over slow fires and, of course, the art of smoking. In the introduction and subsequent sections Pelton gives the complete rundown on what you need for barbecuing and smoking: which wood is appropriate for smoking, different types of charcoal, fire control techniques and illustrated photos of essential barbecue equipment.
“There is nothing nearly as satisfying as stoking a hardwood fire and listening to meat sizzle.”
Pelton follows-up the basics with detailed recipes for smoking all types of meat to making your own jerky. The last part of the book is filled with recipes for rubs, sauces and marinades and even southern-style sides – including desserts. Recipes range from easy (lox, smoked salmon) to hard (Virginia ham, bacon, whole hog). Up in Smoke is written assuming you’re already accomplished around the barbecue pit, which means some beginners might be perplexed by the recipes within.
Reviewed by George Erdosh