If we had the authority to assign you summer reading, we’d dole out Robert Moss’ latest, Barbecue Lover’s The Carolinas. This May release from the local food and drinks writer and culinary historian—who has penned books including Barbecue: The History of an American Institution, serves as the contributing barbecue editor for Southern Living, and is a frequent contributor for the Charleston City Paper—is just too tasty to miss.
After opening with a brief history of barbecue in the region and a calendar of celebratory events, Moss delves into the meat of the book. He lists top restaurants in North and South Carolina that represent the four main styles of barbecue: East Carolina vinegar sauce, the North Carolina Piedmont’s light red sauce, the mustard base of the Midlands and South Carolina Lowcountry, and the free-for-all style of the mountains.
He doesn’t take sides in the battles over sauces or smoking woods and refuses to rank restaurants or deal in outright superlatives. Instead, Moss offers insight into the history and methods of each eatery and makes dish recommendations, while delivering practical details like business hours.
The book ends with a “Barbecue Side Trips” chapter, which provides a handy list of suggested stops along Carolina interstates, and a recipes section covering everything from smoking a whole hog to making stews and sauces. Whether you’re a BBQ beginner or swine aficionado, you’re bound to learn something new and delicious.