The One True Barbecue

The One True Barbecue

Rien Fertel
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There may never be an end to the American obsession with barbecue. But as with many time-honored foods, as it gets transplanted from the places where it first developed it risks becoming a homogenized commodity, just like the pizza, tacos, and sushi routinely served in airport concourses. After a four-year project documenting traditional American barbecue for the Southern Foodways Alliance, in The One True Barbecue Rien Fertel describes and honors the people—mostly men and often men of color—who keep honest barbecue alive in the United States. The work is hard, the profits scant, and their persistence arises from something deeper than simply following in the footsteps of the pitmasters before them.

Fertel's eye for detail and willingness to take these folks on their own terms make it clear just how closely a storied food depends on a small circle of practitioners. We're very pleased to say that this is a compelling, vivid, sometimes wry account, both because we think that's just what barbecue deserves and because Fertel is a former Kitchen Arts & Letters staffer: we take a lot of pleasure in seeing him succeed. For a limited time we have signed copies.

Color and b-&-w photos. Hardcover.

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