Tips from the champ 

Review: Barbecue Secrets: Unbeatable Recipes, Tips & Tricks From a Barbecue Champion.

By G.D. Maxwell

If Ron Shewchuk were in any other line, he’d be a fool or a turncoat to give away the trade secrets he reveals in his book: Barbecue Secrets: Unbeatable Recipes, Tips & Tricks From a Barbecue Champion .

But if you spend any time on or around the fringes – and we’re talkin’ very, very fringe here – of competitive barbecue, you’ll find his forthrightness and willingness to spill the beans the rule rather than the exception... at least to a point. After all, there are secrets and then there are secrets.

When you consider what goes into real barbecue – and Rockin’ Ronnie goes to great lengths to educate the reader on exactly what constitutes real barbecue as opposed to tossin’ a few chops on the grill – why not be generous? You can painstakingly duplicate the ingredients laid out in the recipe for Bob’s Rub, follow Ronnie’s instructions for perfect pork butt to the letter, mop, crutch and smoke the meat in a spankin’ new Weber bullet, and still end up with something far from competition quality. That’s because all the insight and instruction still requires disciplined practice and more than just a little mojo. And the number of people who are likely to cook all night for the payoff of perfect pulled pork, well, that’s about the same percentage of the population you’re likely to find off the paved trail at a national park… the one-percenters.

But if you’ve been bitten by the bug, if you’ve decided your life will be better for mastering the magic of turning a mean cut of meat into righteous justification for those incisors taking up space in your mouth, this book is a great roadmap to take along on your journey. Quite simply, with enough practice and a supporting cast of family and friends, Barbecue Secrets will give you everything you need to become the pitmaster of your dreams without the gastro-intestinal bruisin’ you’re likely to suffer as a competition camp follower.

After a warning from his "…loving yet sarcastic wife…" Kate Zimmerman to "Stay away from this book. You’re only going to get yourself in trouble," Rockin’ Ronnie gently takes you by the hand and explains some of the mystery behind what makes grown men – and women – dedicate sizeable sums of money and spend way, way too much time hangin’ around smokey barbecue pits.

Meandering through the admittedly murky history of the origins of barbecue or explaining how he got hooked on real barbecue, Ronnie’s writing is part Jimmy Buffet travelogue, part Graham Kerr prosthletizing, which is to say an appropriate mix of light and airy while never losing the focus on serious food.

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