The best barbecue cookbooks of the summer

“The best new barbecue cookbooks explore the devoted lives, complex preparations, creative possibilities and diverse practices that gravitate around smoke and meat.

‘Praise the Lard’ by Mike Mills and Amy Mills (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25)

A cookbook from the legendary father-daughter team behind 17th Street Barbecue in Illinois, Praise The Lard might be the one must-have barbecue book of the year.

The tongue-in-cheek religious themes for the chapters (“The Holy Trinity: Seasoning, Smoke, and Sauce”) are no joke. This is a barbecue bible for devotees who want to know the nitty-gritty gospel of traditional pork barbecue. Why does a true barbecue pro always have extra string mops and PVC pipe on hand? The Mills can tell you. A section titled “The Gospel According to Mike Mills” might be worth memorizing.

The book is written with alternating anecdotes from father and daughter that give a personality and voice to the authoritative advice doled out in the pages.

The centerpiece is focused on one of the most challenging of the barbecue arts: smoking a whole hog. The 20-page chapter contains enough detail, advice and encouragement that you’ll be able to do as the book commands — “Go forth, armed and ready with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to take on the whole hog challenge.” Amen.”

> Read more about the best barbecue books for this summer from AJC food and dining contributor Wyatt Williams

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