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Barstool Pitmasters Book Review: Franklin Barbecue, A Meat-Smoking Manifesto

I went to a small liberal arts school for college and graduated with an English degree. Now this next part isn't supposed to come off as a brag or anything but in my 4 years of college, I read a grand total of zero books. I'm just not a big books guy. Why would I get an English degree if I hate reading? Because it's the best major for people who are great at bullshitting their way through discussions but also don't want to have many job prospects upon graduation. And I'm nothing if not a great bullshitter. 

Now the point of all that is that I'm sure a lot of you are like me and can't even imagine picking up a book to try to get you through this quarantine. But at some point we're all going to be bored out of our fucking minds and maybe you'll drive yourself just crazy enough to consider reading. And if that becomes the case, allow me to recommend "Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto". 

The thing about this book is that it's more of a textbook. Which at first would sound like a bad thing but I feel like you hit a certain age that you've been out of school for long enough that you actually enjoy learning things again. All those years of school made you think that you hate textbooks when in reality, you just hate textbooks about the pythagorean theorem. It also helps that this "textbook" is written with a voice and has plenty of stories thrown in the mix. But still, this is pretty much THE textbook on all the science and technique that goes into smoking meat. 

I'd imagine that most people think about barbecue as just some greasy, sweaty ass dude throwing pounds and pounds of meat onto a fire for a few hours and then just pulling it off the pit after it's been blasted with as much smoke as a 60-year-old South Philly cat lady's living room. But Aaron Franklin dialed this into a monster hybrid of science and art. There's a science to the type of smoke you want to have going during the cook, there's a science to what type of wood you want on the fire to get that smoke, there's an art to trimming the meat before the cook, there's an art to slicing the meat after the cook. So it could either be as simple as having some sweaty, greasy dude aimlessly throwing pounds of meat on the smoker for a few hours, or it could be as detailed and precise as making sure that you're using the wood with the right moisture content to achieve a good clean smoke with the meat placed on the smoker to achieve maximum airflow and an even cook throughout the entire process. And there's nothing wrong with the sweaty, greasy dude. But there's a reason why that guy doesn't have a book called the Meat-Smoking Manifesto that is widely regarded as the bible of barbecue. 

So yeah long story short--if you're not a fan of reading books but you're driving yourself crazy with boredom and need to sink your mind into something before you lose it, then maybe give this one a go. The only downside is that it's going to ruin bad barbecue for you for the rest of your life because now you'll go into every bite looking for where they went wrong. 

P.S. - Not an ad or anything but just spreading the word for my very good (some would say best) friend. 

@BarstoolJordie