Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Review: Great BBQ Sauce Book

The Great BBQ Sauce Book

Author: Ardie A. Davis

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Page Count: 160

All reviews are subjective, but for the Home of BBQ none have been more so than The Great BBQ Sauce Book. It almost seems as if this odd little book was written specifically for me (or our friends at Listed within the books pages are roughly 215 commercial sauces, with a mini review and photo for each. For me, this is a treasure trove. I can’t count how many BBQ sauces that I have tasted and the official review count is somewhere around 75. I still found sauces that I had never heard of, along with succinct and educated blurbs about them.

The author was the founder of one of the nations most prestigious BBQ sauce competitions (held at the American Royal) and is close personal friends with Remus Powers Ph.B. The book was first published in 1999. Ardie has a long and distinguished history in the world of competitive BBQ and he has written other books on the subject matter.

Measuring (roughly) 8.5” by 3.25” and clocking in at 160 pages, this book isn’t a weighty tome. If you are a sauce aficionado, however, it deserves a place of honor on your book shelf next to books by Ray Lampe and other BBQ luminaries. Every review has a full color photo of the sauce in question. The reviews might be more aptly described as ‘informative blurbs’. They are short in nature and none are negative.

The main purpose of the book seems to be to act as a compilation of the authors favorite sauces with explanations as to why. The book lists the manufacturer of the sauce, but there are no listings with contact or ordering information. Knowing that sauce ‘X’ is a great representative of the Piedmont style of Carolina sauce is great. Offering a bit of help in finding it on the internet would have been much appreciated. Phone numbers for manufacturers are listed in a section in the back, which seems a bit off. Why not just include that information and a url with the blurbs?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as if the book has been updated recently. There are a number of sauces listed by manufacturers that are no longer in business.

In addition to the blurbs about the sauces, the book also offers a section with recipes. I was very surprised to see that the recipes were not for making your own sauce, but for using listed sauces to make other dishes. There are other resources, such as a listing of sauce competitions and a glossary.

For me, this book is a home run. It is well researched and written in a fun, colloquial fashion. It needs to be stated that your enjoyment of the book will be directly commensurate to how much of a fan of commercial sauce you are.


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snarky said...

Wow, nice review! I for one am very glad that you enjoyed the book! ;)

BH said...

I gotta check that out!