Informed by the history of classic southern recipes, Southern Smoke is an intriguing dive into the barbecue of North Carolina, the Lowcountry, Memphis, and the Delta, with must-try meats, sides, and desserts.
For years, Matthew Register, the owner and pitmaster of Southern Smoke Barbecue, has been obsessed with the history of southern recipes. Armed with a massive collection of cookbooks from the 1900s and overflowing boxes of recipe cards from his grandmother, he hits the kitchen. Over weeks, sometimes months, he forges updated versions of timeworn classics. Locals and tourists alike flock to his restaurant in Garland, North Carolina (population 700), to try these unique dishes.
In this book, Matthew teaches the basics of smoking with a grill or smoker. He outlines how to manage the fire for long smoking sessions and shares pitmaster tips for common struggles (like overcoming “the stall” on large pieces of meat). He then explores iconic barbecue regions and traditions:
- Start off in North Carolina, the home of slow-smoked pork and tangy vinegar sauce. Other highlights include chicken quarters with church sauce, barbecue potatoes, collard chowder, and pork belly hash.
- Travel the Lowcountry, where seafood meets barbecue. Go all out with frogmore stew, pickled shrimp, and fire-roasted oysters, or sample unique recipes like funeral grits, likker pudding, and James Island shrimp pie.
- Then take a trip to Memphis and the Delta, a longtime barbecue hub known for dry-rubbed ribs. Other standouts might surprise you! Learn the secrets behind Delta tamales, Merigold tomatoes, okra fries with comeback sauce, and country style duck.
And, of course, what barbecue spread is complete without baked goods? The final chapter includes everything from skillet cornbread and benne seed biscuits to chocolate chess pie and pecan-studded bread pudding.
Whether you’ve long been a fan of barbecue or are just starting your own barbecue journey, Southern Smoke offers a unique collection of recipes and stories for today’s home cook.