12 Best BBQ Books [Barbecue Cookbooks & Guides]

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The best BBQ books to guide you through the world of barbecue cuisine. From smoker cookbooks to grilling recipes, and guides to barbecue history and culture, these books are the best place to start for budding pitmasters and grill fans alike.

best bbq books

Barbecue cookbooks and guides are bursting with recipes and stories, each with its own take on food, fire, and smoke. So where do you begin?

Whether you want to learn the science behind smoke or just want to improve upon your personal repertoire of barbecue dishes, we’re here with our favorites to help you choose. 

These BBQ books cover everything from North American to Argentian cuisine, Texas traditions, and hundreds of recipes. These are the best BBQ books to buy today.

Meathead – The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling

If you’ve been a barbecue enthusiast for some time, you may have come across Meathead Goldwyn before. The man lives and breathes barbecue, and is behind the incredible website Amazing Ribs.

Founded in 2005, the website has become a behemoth of BBQ knowledge, living by the ethos that barbecue isn’t merely a cooking method, but is also a science.

In his book, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling, Meathead shares more than a hundred barbecue smoking and grilling recipes, explaining the science behind them and how you can use BBQ science to perfect them. 

Aside from the recipe, Meathead also shares plenty of barbecuing tips that’ll take you from BBQ amateur to your neighborhood’s resident smoker pro.

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Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and...
  • Hardcover Book
  • Goldwyn, Meathead (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Barbecue Bible

Steven Raichlen is an award-winning culinary writer who has hosted plenty of barbecue shows aside from his great writings. His book, The Barbecue Bible, is one of the most popular culinary books in the US today. It’s been sold in more than 1.3 million copies and translated into more than 15 languages. And if that’s not enough, the book is a proud winner of the Julia Child Cookbook Award.

In the book, Raichlen shares plenty of barbecue secrets, with recipes from all around the world, including India, Jamaica, and Thailand. Not only that, but he also shares all that there is to know about sauces, marinades, and grilling techniques.

The Barbecue Bible contains a whopping 500 recipes, offering a mountain of grilled, smoked, and roasted meat.

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The Barbecue Bible: More Than 500 Great Grilling...
  • Raichlen, Steven (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 556 Pages - 05/28/2008 (Publication Date) - Workman Publishing Company (Publisher)

Project Smoke

Another Steve Reichlen classic, Project Smoke, was published in 2016 and features a more up-to-date offering of barbecue classics in its 300+ pages of pure smoking knowledge.

The book also contains more than a hundred recipes about all foods you can smoke – even cheesecake! Not only that but it includes step-by-step guides for smoker preparation and how to choose the best BBQ tools.

There isn’t a smoking method not mentioned in this book, from cold smoking to cooking with tea smoke. You name it and you’ll find a chapter dedicated to it in Project Smoke.

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Project Smoke: Seven Steps to Smoked Food Nirvana,...
  • Raichlen, Steven (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 05/10/2016 (Publication Date) - Workman Publishing Company (Publisher)

Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book

Big Bob Gibson is known for two things: His charismatic personality and his unrivaled BBQ skills. With a rich history of hosting backyard barbecue events, he became known for firing up the coals, getting some hickory smoke going, and barbecuing like a true champ. Word soon got out, and Bob quickly became one of North America’s most popular BBQ pros.

Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book is a collection of his recipes, secrets, and everything he knew about barbecuing. The book was published by his great-grandson, who now manages the family’s restaurant in Alabama.

The book includes plenty of BBQ tips, including choosing the right smoking wood and how to pair different meats with the perfect sauce.

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Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets...
  • Lilly, Chris (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 05/12/2009 (Publication Date) - Clarkson Potter (Publisher)

Franklin Barbecue – A Meat-Smoking Manifesto

Franklin Barbecue’s A Meat-Smoking Manifesto is a book made for hardcore brisket fans. If you know anything about brisket, you’d know that Aaron Franklin is the master of it, and he shares all his knowledge in this book.

The New York Times best-seller is a collaboration between brisket guru Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay, an award-winner cookbook author.

In this book, Franklin discusses all the factors that contribute to the perfect smoked meat. From wood choice to coal setup, no stone is left unturned.

He also goes beyond that by sharing his popular barbecuing methods that have people scrambling from all over the US to his restaurant to taste his food.

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Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto [A...
  • Hardcover Book
  • Franklin, Aaron (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Real BBQ: The Ultimate Step-By-Step Smoker Cookbook

Will Budiaman is a well-known chef who started off as a recipe taster and made it to be one of the most popular cookbook authors in the US. 

His book, The Ultimate Step-By-Step Smoker Cookbook is a comprehensive guide for beginners to teach them everything there is to know about smoking meat. It also includes plenty of tips and recipes for intermediate and advanced cooks. It’s practically the jack of all trades of BBQ books, telling you how to do everything rather than share secrets hard to keep up with.

In the book, Budiaman shares more than 95 recipes, starting with easy ones for beginners and ending with advanced recipes for seasoned pros.

Aside from the recipes, the book covers the whole process of cooking, from choosing the meat and wood flavor to cranking up your smoker. And he doesn’t stop at that – Budiaman also shares many tips about pairing the meat with the right sauces and drinks.

One of the most popular recipes in this book is coffee-rubbed buffalo steak. Drooling yet?

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Real BBQ: The Ultimate Step-By-Step Smoker...
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Real BBQ: The Ultimate Step-By-Step Smoker...
  • Budiaman, Will (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 172 Pages - 05/08/2015 (Publication Date) - Rockridge Press (Publisher)

Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentian Way

If there are two things the Argentinians are in love with, it’s Lionel Messi and steak.

All meat lovers know there’s no rival to Argentian beef. Cooking beef is deeply rooted in Argentian culture, and it’s what the nation’s cuisine is best known for.

If you want to grill meat the Argentian way, you may want to look at Seven Fires. In the book, Francis Mallmann shares seven ancient techniques for wood-fired cooking. He shares plenty of recipes that’ll take you out of your BBQ comfort zone.

The book offers a reinvention of wood-fired cooking, from its burnt oranges with rosemary to its chimichurri ribeye.

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Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way
  • New
  • Mint Condition
  • Dispatch same day for order received before 12 noon

The Ultimate Vegan BBQ Book

The Ultimate Vegan BBQ Book is the savior for meat-free diets. It includes more than 85 recipes for different dishes, all meat-free and all delicious. This creative book offers grilled mushrooms, grilled seitan ribs, and eggplant hot dogs.

You’ll also get plenty of tips about meal pairings, and what sauces you can make to go with your cauliflower cutlets or zucchini steak.

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VBQ―The Ultimate Vegan Barbecue Cookbook: Over...
  • Horn, Nadine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 05/01/2018 (Publication Date) - The Experiment (Publisher)

The Prophets of Smoked Meat

The Prophets of Smoked Meat is the ultimate guide to Texas BBQ. If you’ve ever wondered what sets Texas BBQ apart, this book has all the answers you need.

The book is written by Daniel Vaughn, a self-proclaimed barbecue snob and a well-known food author at Texas Monthly. There aren’t many people who know more about Texas BBQ than Vaughn.

The book covers all you need to know about smoked meat, including ribs, brisket, steaks, and every meat cut in between. Not only that, but it also covers how to choose different types of smoking wood and how to pair flavors.

And if you love to hear road tales, the book has plenty of those, covering Vaughn’s journeys across the state and the adventures along the way.

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The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through...
  • From brisket to ribs, beef to pork, mesquite to oak.
  • Hardcover Book
  • Daniel Vaughn (Author)

Peace, Love & Barbecue

Peace, Love & Barbecue isn’t your average barbecue book. It’s a collection of tales, secrets, and recipes from BBQ legends, put together by one of its best known: Mike Mills.

Mills is the proud owner of two critically acclaimed restaurants, and he’s renowned as one of the most experienced pitmasters in North America.

In the book, Mills shares behind-the-scenes stories about the BBQ competition circuit, along with an inside view into the traditions and secrets of barbecue. Mills even takes it a step further and shares black-and-white photographs of notable BBQ legends.

The book also contains more than a hundred smoker and grill recipes, easy to make for beginners and pros alike. From smoked pork butt to homemade barbecue sauce, each recipe has its own unique story.

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Peace, Love & Barbecue: Recipes, Secrets, Tall...
  • Mills, Mike (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 360 Pages - 05/20/2005 (Publication Date) - Rodale Books (Publisher)

Southern Living’s Ultimate Book of BBQ

After decades of sharing recipes, gardening tips, and Southern culture pieces, Southern Living decided to collect all their BBQ knowledge in one book. The Ultimate Book of BBQ is the magazine’s collection of BBQ expertise, featuring a comprehensive guide that covers everything there is to know about grilling and barbecue.

The book shares more than 200 highly-rated recipes from Southern Living’s lifestyle magazine. The recipes cover nearly everything that can be barbecued, including ribs, brisket, and steaks. 

On top of that, the book contains plenty of advice from award-winning chefs, sharing their expertise in America’s favorite cuisine. Each recipe features full-color photos to help guide you through each step, making this book perfect for barbecue beginners.

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Southern Living Ultimate Book of BBQ: The Complete...
  • The Editors of Southern Living (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 04/07/2015 (Publication Date) - TI Inc. Books (Publisher)

Republic of Barbecue

Do you have enough recipes and want to delve into general BBQ knowledge instead? If you want to read about the tales of America’s most celebrated cuisine, you’ll want to take a look at the Republic of Barbecue.

The Republic of Barbecue delves into how deeply rooted barbecue is in Texas culture, with the state setting the rules for so much of what we take for granted with the cuisine today.

The book discusses everything about BBQ, from hardwood trees grown solely for smoking wood to legendary pitmasters and their cooking secrets.

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Republic of Barbecue: Stories Beyond the Brisket...
  • Engelhardt, Elizabeth S. D. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 255 Pages - 10/01/2009 (Publication Date) - University of Texas Press (Publisher)

Last update on 2024-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author

Ben Isham-Smith

A BBQ obsessive, Ben is behind 250+ of The Online Grill’s recipes, as well as countless barbecue guides to help barbecue newbies get to grips with the world’s best form of cooking.


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