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Smokestack Lightning Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country PDF Print E-mail

by: Lolis Eric Elie & Frank Stewart

A Seriously Funny Search for the Art and Culture of Barbecue

It is while eating a plate of funny looking ribs with thin vinegary sauce in North Carolina that Lolis Elie and Frank Stewart decide to investigate the nation's obsession with smoked meat. Obviously, barbecue is a broader concept than they imagined, having grown up with sweet, tomato-based sauces and short-end ribs.

Their quest takes them from the barbecued cow heads of south Texas to the barbecued pig snouts (tasty if tough) of East St. Louis, Illinois. From the all-night barbecue binges on Chicago's South Side to barbecue competition circuit events like Memphis in May and Vienna, Georgia's Big Pig Jig, where people spend thousands of dollars to stay up all night smoking meat. They check out famous and obscure BBQ places from Kansas City, Missouri, to Hope, Arkansas, but ultimately come back to Memphis and Hawkins Grill, a barbecue oasis of Frank's youth, which he now mourns as "a dinosaur without a mate."

En route, Lolis and Frank introduce us to the men and women devoted to this demanding art, and, of course, to some good eating-with recipes for meat, sauces, and side dishes.

About The Authors:

Lolis Eric Elie is a columnist for The Times-Picayune. He lives in New Orleans. Frank Stewart is the photographer of Wynton Marsalis's Sweet Swing Blues on the Road. He lives in New York City.
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