«Barbecue is the effect that barbecue and tempting smells have on people (…). Stained clothes, sauce dripping from the chin of small children, and bones drying on the otherwise empty plates are the only outward sign that something glorious has been created (…). Learning to barbecue is a process, and no book, including this one, will confer this knowledge instantly. No written recipe, no matter how lengthy and detailed, can explain how to master a beef brisket. Not even a face to face crash course with the most astute pitmaster will transform you into a sultan of ‘Q. (…). The art is only mastered through time and dedication. The good news is that the lessons along the way are almost as delicious and rewarding as reaching the ultimate goal of barbecue mastery.»
These wise and encouraging words are taken from the introduction by Chris Lilly, the author of Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint, which just may be the best book ever published on the subject.
Another interesting and worthwhile volume is Kent's Carolina Barbecue Book. It’s a compilation from the best posts on H. Kent Craig’s BBQ-themed website, in the decade between 1998-2008, when he averaged more than 10,000 visitors a month and was considered Google-users go-to man for anything barbecue-related.
Of course, the ritual of barbecue is popular worldwide. One of the most extraordinary books on outdoor cooking is actually co-written by two Europeans - French chef, Eric Treuille who authored (among many other books) Grilling: Where There's Smoke There's Flavor and the German Birgit Erath, a tireless traveler who used to have a stand in Notting Hill, right in front of the famous bookstore, Cooks for Books, where she sold spices from all over the world.