Friday, May 21, 2021

Book Review: BBQ Revolution

[FTC Standard Disclosure] I received an uncorrected draft of BBQ Revolution from the publisher for review. I received no other compensation. The link for the book is an Amazon Affiliate link, which I will receive a small percentage of if you purchase the book via the link. 

They say "don't bury the lead" so I'll tell you upfront that this is my favorite new BBQ and grilling book from the 2021 offerings I have seen.

BBQ Revolution fired up my yearning to get out and grill. After 12 plus years of blogging about BBQ and grilling, I had gotten into a bit of a rut. I needed to shake things up and BBQ Revolution has done exactly that. This book has gotten me excited about firing up the grills again. 

Detailed book review of BBQ Revolution


BBQ Revolution

Innovative Barbecue Recipes from an All-Star Pitmaster

by Mitch Benjamin
$29.85 / Quatro Publishing Group USA
Available June 15, 2021 (Preorder available now)

About The Author

Mitch Benjamin has built his own BBQ empire over the years.
  • He is better known as @meatmitch on social media.
  • He is the founder of the Meat Mitch competition BBQ team.
  • His Meat Mitch brand of rubs and sauces has won awards at World Championships like Memphis In May and The American Royal.
  • His restaurant, Char Bar Smoked Meats and Amusements won best new restaurant in Kansas City.
In addition to those accolades, Mitch has cooked for professional sports teams and on national television shows.

About The Book

BBQ Revolution is a full-sized, hardback book. By a quick count, it has almost 90 recipes in a rather unique organization suited to Mitch's experience and background. Instead of the typical rubs/sauces, beef, pork, chicken, and everything else, BBQ Revolution is organized as such:
  1. Competition BBQ recipes PLUS actual advice, tips, and timelines. Outside of a hands-on BBQ class, this is one of the best primers for getting started in competition BBQ.
  2. Char Bar Smoked Meats and Amusements, Mitch shares some of his best sellers from the popular Kansas City restaurant. I enjoyed this chapter the most, getting the behind-the-scenes recipes.
  3. Revolutionary BBQ - thinking outside of the smokebox. A collection of less-than-traditional dishes like lamb, a wide array of seafood, and sausages. Yes, sausage is a typical BBQ food but not a lot of BBQ books give you recipes for making your own from scratch.
  4. Leftover BBQ ideas - If you BBQ as much as we do, this is a welcome addition to a cookbook. 
  5. Sides, desserts, and other delights - Mitch gets freaky in his "Mitchen".
  6. Featured Pitmasters - Mitch pulls a "wait, there's more" by adding recipes from celebrity pitmasters throughout the book. Pitmasters include Paul Patterson, Jess Pryles, Craig "BBQ Ninja" Verhage, and Matt Pittman. 

Recipes

Recipes that I Have Made

I jumped right into making recipes when I got my hands on a draft copy of BBQ Revolution and there was not a single dud in the batch. I enjoyed each and every one of these. 

Deep South Smokers GC36
I rolled out my big gravity-fed pit to try out some of the brisket, pork, and chicken offerings from BBQ Revolution.

Competition Brisket, Burnt Ends, and Competition Whomp! Sauce

I'm a sucker for brisket so of course, that was one of the first recipes that I tried. Solid recipe whether you are cooking brisket at home or for competition. 

Sliced smoked brisket

Brisket Burnt Ends


Competition Pork 

I sort of followed Mitch's recipe. I varied the recipe a little bit because I was making this for eating at home and not a BBQ competition. It was still fantastic served with a golden mustard BBQ sauce.

Chris Grove seasoning pork butts for the smoker

Shredding smoked pulled pork

Smoked pulled pork with golden mustard sauce


Alabama White Sauce Chicken

Another perennial favorite of mine, I had to try his Alabama White Sauce on some smoked chicken. Winner, winner chicken dinner is an overused saying but it does apply here. 

Two bbq sauces from the book, BBQ Revolution

Alabama style BBQ chicken from BBQ Revolution


Brisket Esquites 

My family was in town and we included this TexMex dish in our buffet. It was a big hit but we made a lot and there were 4 other dishes, so we had some leftovers. I took a cue (I guess I should say "Q") from the Leftover Q chapter and reinvented this as Smoked Brisket and Charred Corn Chowder. I just made a cream soup base and stirred in the leftovers. Talk about amazing. 

Brisket Esquites from BBQ Revolution


Smoked brisket and charred corn chowder
Smoked Brisket and Charred Corn Chowder using the leftover Brisket Esquites was some of the best comfort food I've had. We topped it with fajita seasoning, crushed corn chips, and cotija cheese.


Charred Bits and Grits, Pickled Jalapeno and Shallot, BBQ Butter

Wow. This was the recipe that put the biggest smile on my face. It kind of looks like a mess here but the tastes were out of the world. It has candied bacon (aka pig candy), burnt ends, jalapeno cheese grits, pickled jalapeno and shallots, and BBQ butter. It sounds like you are having sex when eating Charred Bits and Grits because you're moaning so much and calling out to higher powers (OMG). Yeah, I just said that. 

Charred Bits and Grits
Not the prettiest dish but the flavors in this combined for a religious experience.


Recipes that caught my eye

So many recipes, so little time, am I right? But here are some of the recipes that I haven't made yet but want to.
  • Candy Sauce - I want to try this on my competition ribs
  • Jerry's Sugar Smoked Sausage 
  • The Burnt Heaven - sandwich with brisket, sausage, spicy slaw, BBQ ranch, and fried jalapenos? Shut up and take my money.
  • Cheesy "Hushpuppies" made from leftover cheese grits and served with a beer blanc sauce. Oh hell yeah.
  • Peach Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce - Alexis never turns down bread pudding.
  • Jess Pryle's Smoked Garlic Sauce - Can't wait to try this on a steak.
  • Smoked Brisket Smash Burgers - Chopped smoked brisket mixed into your burger grind? Genius.
  • Grilled Corn and Dungeness Crab Dip - I want this so badly, the next time I get some Dungeness crab you can bet I'm making this.
  • Charred Sous Vide Cauliflower Steaks - Speaking of out-of-the-box cooking.
  • Homemade pop tarts - What what what? I want to make an adult version with something like bourbon bacon jam on the inside.

Photography

BBQ Revolution is loaded with color photography by Isaac Alongi. Almost every recipe has an eye-catching, mouth-watering photograph. The photos are mostly final plating pictures and some in-process or how-to photos.

Summary

Whether you are new to grilling or a seasoned grill master, BBQ Revolution is sure to fire up your grill or smoker this summer with flavorful recipes, cooking strategies, and helpful advice. It got me excited about grilling again.

Rating

5 stars – an absolute resource, I will refer to it frequently
4 stars – very good cookbook with value-added tips, photos, guides, and other content
3 stars – Good, average cookbook, glad to have it on my shelf
2 stars – a recipe collection
1 star - destined to gather dust on the shelves of a second-hand book store

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