Read this cookbook: “The South’s Best Butts: Pitmaster Secrets for Southern Barbecue Perfection” by Matt Moore (Oxmoor House, $26.95)
By Wendell Brock
Atlanta homeboy apparently Matt Moore worked his butt off on this book.
Or at the very least, he did due diligence, canvassing America’s barbecue belt to find the best pork-butt cooks in the land and the most outrageously tempting trimmings.
While many authors may have tried to pack every ’cue joint he could muster into one cookbook, Moore is wisely selective. His discriminating palate limits his spread to just one stop in 12 states. If his Georgia pork pick is any indication, he’s definitely on the right path.
Atlanta’s Heirloom Market BBQ, where chefs Cody Taylor and Jiyeon Lee fuse their Southern and Korean styles, made the cut, and it’s thrilling to see recipes for their Spicy Korean Pork, Kimchi Pickles and miso-braised collards in the roundup. (On Saturday at Cook’s Warehouse in Midtown, Moore will make some of Heirloom’s signature dishes featured in the book.)
On his barbecue journey and travelogue, Moore lights down at B-Daddy’s BBQ in Helotes, Texas; Bogart’s Smokehouse in St. Louis; Helen’s BBQ in Brownsville, Tenn., and Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro, N.C., among other places.
If you are looking to learn about the art of smoking meat, this book will appeal. If you (like me) are looking for places to pig out on your next road trip, or (also like me) are more the type to provide sides and desserts for your barbecue buddies’ cookouts, this book’s for you, too.
Should I ever choose to get off my butt and conquer my fear of smoking meats, I know where to turn. For now, my eyes are popping at the char-y pulled pork and dark-as-mahogany baked beans at Bogart’s.
And I’m lusting for Moore’s Crispy Fried Sweet Onion Rings, BBQ Pork Tamales, Bacon and Corn Hushpuppies, Bacon and Bourbon Collards and so on.
As tribute to the region’s diversity, there’s pho (with smoked brisket) and ramen (with pork belly), bahn mi (pulled pork) and Cuban sandwiches (sliced smoke pork) and all kinds of tacos, quesadillas and tostados.
Should you have room for dessert, Moore offers cobblers, pies and cookies and a banana pudding topped with – wait for it – batter-fried nanners.
Mercy, my. As if my butt needed to be any bigger.
Where to meet Moore:
6:30-7:30 p.m. May 18. Avid Bookshop, 493 Prince Ave., Athens. 706-352-2060. avidbookshop.com
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 20. He’ll be cooking Heirloom Market’s Spicy Korean Pork, Kimchee Base Sauce and Kimchee Slaw. $49 includes a copy of the book. Cook’s Warehouse, 1544 Piedmont Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-815-4993; cookswarehouse.com
Wendell Brock is an Atlanta food and culture writer, frequent AJC contributor and winner of a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for journalism. Follow him on Twitter (@MrBrock) and Instagram (@WendellDavidBrock).