AmazingRibs.com is supported by our Pitmaster Club. Also, when you buy with links on our site we may earn a finder’s fee. Click to see how we test and review products.

The South’s Best Butts—Pitmaster Secrets for Southern Barbecue Perfection by Matt Moore

Share on:
South's Best Butts cookbook

Oxmoor House 2017, 287 pages, Over 150 Recipes, probably 200 color photos, $26.95

Moore is a youngish Southern Gentleman from Nashville (and author of A Southern Gentleman’s Kitchen), the son of a cattleman and grandson of a butcher, takes his small plane all over the South visiting a dozen BBQ joints in as many states from Texas to North Carolina. I too have traveled this turf and I must confess he has uncovered some gems of which I have never heard.

The 100 photos shot on location by Andrea Behrends, do a fine job of capturing the earnestness and rusticity of the restaurants, none of which look as if they have seen a paint can in decades.

The book begins with some basic concepts behind barbecue that could be applied to home cooking, but the meat and coleslaw of the book is the “Smokehouse Stories And Recipes” from the restaurants he visits. All the standards of the Southern barbecue canon are here, with an emphasis on pork, but there are plenty of fascinating sides and a few modern variations on the them.

Most are old school such as Helen’s Bar-B-Q in Brownsville, TN where Helen Turner dishes out a statewide favorite, smoked bologna sandwiches topped with a crunchy slaw coated in a thin spicy sauce, spare ribs, chopped pork, Polish sausage, and smoked chicken, all of which she cooks with hardwood in her cinderblock pit in a shed.

Then there is the kimchi slaw and the collard greens braised in rice wine vinegar and miso from Heirloom Market BBQ in Atlanta where husband and wife Cody Taylor (born in Texas, raised in Knoxville, and a culinary student at the Art Institute of Atlanta) and Jiyeon Lee (a South Korean pop star who came to the US and attended Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta) draw on their upbringings to create a creative menu.

Moore includes “authentic” recipes from each restaurant, but we all know they are never going to give away all their secrets. I know Moore and I am sure he has tested all the recipes and they wouldn’t be here if they weren’t good, but I am highly skeptical that they are the same as the ones used at the restaurants.

Among the treats are Beer batter fried pickles, sweet potato cornbread, smoked brisket pho, burnt ends Mac and cheese, and grilled banana splits. My only complaint is that in the intro he tries to explain the origin of the name barbecue and gets it all wrong perpetuating three myths, but he bails himself out by disclaiming “I’m not a historian”. No you aren’t, but you are a fine writer, great at uncovering places I want to visit, and at gathering a lot of mouthwatering recipes.

Published On: 6/18/2018 Last Modified: 4/28/2021

  • Meathead, BBQ Hall of Famer - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.

 

High quality websites are expensive to run. If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and a lot of freebies!

Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for high quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 2,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club. But please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get MANY great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial, and help keep this site alive.


Post comments and questions below

grouchy?

1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

Moderators

  Max

Click to comment or ask a question...

Spotlight

These are not paid ads, they are a curated selection of products we love.

All of the products below have been tested and are highly recommended. Click here to read more about our review process.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our “buy now” links. This has zero impact on the price you pay but helps support the site.


The Efficiency Of A Kamado Plus The Flexibility Of The Slow ‘N Sear Insert

kamado grill
Built around SnS Grill’s patented Slow ‘N Sear charcoal kettle accessory, this 22-inch kamado is a premium ceramic grill that brings true 2-zone cooking to a kamado. Click here for our article on this exciting cooker.


Groundbreaking Hybrid Thermometer!

Thermapen One Instant Read Thermometer

The FireBoard Spark is a hybrid combining instant-read capability, a cabled temperature probe, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Couple that with high standards of design and workmanship and it’s a “must own.” Click here to read our comprehensive Platinum Medal review.


Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners

3 burner gas grill

The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood including dual-tube burners that are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. Click here to read our complete review.


GrillGrates Take Gas Grills To The Infrared Zone


GrillGrates amplify heat, prevent flare-ups, make flipping foods easier, kill hotspots, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily moved from one grill to another. Click here for more about what makes these grates so special.