Free Book Friday: Holy Smoke edition

Free Book Friday

Update 3:05 pm 7/13/2012: We had commenters joining in on the blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter this time around. We’ve just drawn Facebook commenter Fred C. Fussell’s name as our winner of this month’s giveaway! Congratulations, Fred! (Does Fred’s name ring a bell for you? He is author of a great guidebook to live music in the Blue Ridge mountains, Blue Ridge Music Trails: Finding a Place in the Circle, which we published in 2003.) Here’s how Fred described his favorite bbq:

Softball-sized hunks of pork butts cooked very slowly over blackjack oak coals until crusty, chopped into bite-sized pieces, smothered with a mustard-based spicy with cayenne bbq sauce, dressed with cole slaw, and served in a toasted bun.

For this month’s Free Book Friday, we’re giving away a copy of Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue by John Shelton Reed and Dale Volberg Reed with William McKinney—plus a handsome and handy Holy Smoke chef’s apron!


North Carolina is home to the longest continuous barbecue tradition on the North American mainland. Authoritative, spirited, and opinionated (in the best way), Holy Smoke is a passionate exploration of the lore, recipes, traditions, and people who have helped shape North Carolina’s signature slow-food dish.

Three barbecue devotees, John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and William McKinney, trace the origins of North Carolina ‘cue and the emergence of the heated rivalry between Eastern and Piedmont styles. They provide detailed instructions for cooking barbecue at home, along with recipes for the traditional array of side dishes that should accompany it. The final section of the book presents some of the people who cook barbecue for a living, recording firsthand what experts say about the past and future of North Carolina barbecue.

Filled with historic and contemporary photographs showing centuries of North Carolina’s “barbeculture,” as the authors call it, Holy Smoke is one of a kind, offering a comprehensive exploration of the Tar Heel barbecue tradition.

To learn more about the book, visit the Holy Smoke website, which includes sample recipes and excerpts.

Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, by John Shelton Reed and Dale Volberg ReedPraise for Holy Smoke

“Brimming with factoids, field intelligence, received wisdom, and fine art, Holy Smoke is a harmonic convergence that resonates with good-natured humor. It is as entertaining as it is informative.”—John Egerton, author of Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History

“Even if it didn’t taste so good, we would like North Carolina barbecue for its inspirational nature. Like chile in New Mexico and cheese curds in Wisconsin, its rituals and lore stir passionate symposia, infusing Holy Smoke with a sense of purpose that is biblical.”—Jane and Michael Stern,

Holy Smoke apron
How to Win

To enter to win this month’s book/apron combo, tell us about your favorite kind of barbecue: vinegar or mustard based, shoulder or ribs, home smoked or from your favorite restaurant. Leave a comment here on the blog, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter using the hashtag #UNCFreeBookFriday.

On Friday, July 13, we’ll put everyone’s names in a hat and draw one winner who’ll have a lucky Friday the 13th. We’ll update this post to announce the winner.

The fine print: Must be a U.S. resident. UNC Press and Longleaf Services employees are not eligible.

Happy 4th of July!

p.s. If you missed Rose’s great piece on this blog back in the day, go check out “Barbecue…It’s a Noun, Not a Verb, Y’all!”