Friday, June 18, 2010

BBQ Book Review - KCBS Cookbook

Title: The Kansas City Barbeque Society Cookbook, 25th Anniversary Edition
Author: Ardie Davis & Paul Kirk
Published: 2010 by Andrews McMeel

This most recent cookbook from the Kansas City Barbeque Society compiles the organzation's last twenty-five years of history. Nearly 500 recipes are included in this 318 page behemoth, with a standard arrangement of appetizers, main courses, side dishes and desserts. Many of the recipes sound promising, but little new ground seems to be broken here unless you count piling layers of cottage cheese, pulled pork and bbq sauce atop one another in a demented attempt at lasagna. There are certainly some hidden gems here like smoked deviled eggs, smoked duck salad, and a great explanation of the boiled peanut phenomenon, but they are sadly few.

While flipping through the pages, it's obvious who has authored this cookbook. It seems that every other page has a recipe by Mr. Kirk or a photo of Mr. Davis' alter ego, Remus Powers. Luckily the book also includes information about all of the other contributors in a column adjacent to every recipe. This helps to create a bit of a story for each combination of ingredients. While they really try to highlight many members of their wide network of cookers, in the end this seems more like a self administered pat on the back for the long time leaders of the organization. If that were toned down, it may have been more interesting with far fewer questionable recipes.

What's missing in all these pages is BBQ. Exactly three recipes are included at the front of the book which feature the meats used in competition. These "recipes" which consist of ingredients as simple as meat and "your favorite barbeque rub" and have directions to smoke the meat at a low temperature until it's done. Did anyone really need a cookbook for that? When I received the book (full disclosure, I received a free copy from the publisher), I was hoping to learn some great smoking techniques from these professional cookers for creating the smoked meats so fresh on the public's mind from the success of the recent BBQ Pitmasters on TLC. What I got instead was a collection of recipes for such droll dishes as barbecued meatballs, a grilled whole onion (add butter, salt & pepper and wrap in foil, wow!) and biscuits whose directions generally begin with "preheat the oven", "place a skillet over medium heat", or"light the grill". Where's the BBQ people?

- BBQ Snob

No comments:


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.