‘The South’s Best Butts’ Is Every Grillmaster’s New Bible [REVIEW]

Matt Moore flies

Matt Moore traveled the country in search of the South’s Best Butts. Here, Helen’s Bar B Q provided his in-flight refreshments. (Photo courtesy Matt Moore, Facebook)

Growing up in the South, I came to love barbecue with all the fixings from an early age. It didn’t matter if it was beef brisket or pulled pork, I quickly developed a hankering for sticky, charred, finger-licking goodness served up with a huge dollop of potato salad and sweet banana pudding for dessert. Of course, you never get the same barbecue recipe at any two restaurants, because everyone has their own take on how to make it and every region seems to have their own type of sauce. This is exactlly why I love Matt Moore’s new cookbook, The South’s Best Butts. He’s traveled the South from the Carolina’s to Texas in search of barbecue perfection and now he’s sharing his discoveries with the rest of us!


Oxmoor House

One thing I love about this book is Moore’s writing style. Reading this book is like having a coversation with your favorite Cousin Bubba (because what died-in-the-wool Southerner doesn’t have at least one Cousin Bubba?). Also, Moore isn’t just assembling a volume of recipes here, but he provides loads of other useful information too, including the history of barbecue and a fascinating account of pork’s centuries-old importance in the South. He also discusses all the various methods to actually fuel your fire and cook your meat. Plus, he provides us with five very different recipes for BBQ sauce to bring the most flavor to your meat.

My favorite part of the book is the road trip. Moore travels across the South in search of great BBQ. It’s similar to Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, except he is solely looking for slow-cooked pork-in-the-pit perfection. He introduces us to folks like Wade Reich at Butts to Go BBQ in Pell City, Alabama, and Helen Turner at Helen’s BBQ in Brownsville, Tennessee, among others. All I can say is that Moore must be as charming in person as he is on the printed page, because he somehow manages to gain these pitmasters’ trust enough for them to fork over their grilling techniques and top-secret recipes. And as you page through this volume, gazing at glorious full-color photographs of smoking good eats, you’re going to feel compelled to either hop in the car and visit some of these beloved BBQ joints for yourself or fire up the grill and make recipes like Heirloom Market BBQ’s Spicy Korean Pork, Peak Bro’s Bar-B-Que’s Chipped Mutton, or Wilber’s Barbecue’s BBQ Chicken.

As if all these recipes aren’t enough, Moore also supplies us with a whole section of trimmings. Even if you have an aversion to eating meat, these recipes are guaranteed to bring you to tears, because let me tell you, Moore puts his foot in it (for the non-Southerner, that means these dishes are darn good!) every time. From Spicy Queso Dip and Texas Caviar Deviled Eggs to BBQ Pork Tamales, Bacon and Bourbon Collards, and Smoked Corn, there is something for everyone, and no one is going to leave the table hungry.

The South’s Best Butts is the kind of cookbook every Southerner should have in his culinary arsenal because it celebrates everything we love about the “religion of barbecue,” as Moore puts it. It is also a must-have for every guy (or gal for that matter) who fancies himself a weekend grillmaster. I can already see dads across America thumbing through this book like it’s their new bible, planning out their ultimate Independence Day celebration or tailgate party, dreaming of firing up their Big Green Eggs, smokers and grills to feast on every man’s favorite meat. So buy this book in multiples, because all those folks who love smoky, sticky, savory, fall-off-the-bone goodness will want a copy for themselves and rightfully so. This is one cookbook that lives up to the hype!


Matt Moore

Matt Moore

The son of a cattleman and the grandson of a butcher, Matt Moore is the quintessential Southern cook. Author of A Southern Gentleman’s Kitchen, his food writing has garnered critical acclaim from publications including the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, and the New York Times. His Southern charm has landed him on the Today ShowFox & Friends, and WGN.

Matt resides in Nashville with his family and is also a musician, pilot, adventure seeker, entrepreneur, Moonshine cologne creator, avid fisherman and a cast iron and wild game enthusiast.

Visit his home on the Web to find out about his upcoming projects and follow his blog, Have Her Over for Dinner, to find lots of great recipes. You may also like him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

By Matt Moore
288 pgs. Oxmoor House. $26.95

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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