Book Review: North Carolina’s Favorite Food – Barbecue

Story by Matt Young. 

Cary-lina, NC – As any North Carolinian knows, barbecue is a noun (it’s also a religion). Barbecue is NOT the thing you grill on. It’s not something you go to. It is a cooked pig. Period.

‘Cue Guru

The author of the book – Bob Garner’s Book of Barbecue, North Carolina’s Favorite Food – ventured into the food business at 50. He’s now kind of a North Carolina living legend (and ‘cue guru).

Bob Garner is a TV (UNC-TV, Food Network, Travel Channel) personality, speaker, restaurant reviewer and pitmaster.

“Barbecue continues to be refined and repositioned as society changes, because it just plain satisfies some innate need to cook meat over a fire.” – Bob Garner

My First Pig Pickin’

It was 20 years ago, and my company was flying employees down for a house hunting trip. My wife Chris (“I can’t eat anything with a face”) and I were invited to a “pig-pickin'”.  I laughed at the idea.

But I went to it anyway (Chris said we HAD to). It was love at first bite.

So I was sure interested in Bob Garner’s new book.

A History Lesson and a Handbook

Book of Barbecue, North Carolina’s Favorite Food  will be of interest to people who love history and local culture, as well as food. It tells “the why it exists here story” – it  talks about the immigrants hundreds of years ago that started the tradition(s) and it explains how the tradition evolved region by region and the subtle differences from county to county.  Real engaging.

He then describes and reviews many different barbecue establishments across the state. If you are a barbecue lover, I’d suggest throwing this in your trunk, your backpack or your bicycle basket.


Blair Publishing is hosting a few book signings with Bob in the area:

  • Tuesday, May 15, at 6 p.m. at The Pit Authentic Barbecue (where he works) in Raleigh
  • Thursday, May 17, at 6 p.m. at McIntyre’s in Pittsboro
  • Friday, May 18, at 5 p.m., at the Got to Be N.C. Festival in Raleigh
  • Saturday, May 19, at noon, at A Southern Season, in Chapel Hill

Buy It Online

You can also buy the Book of Barbecue online from John F. Blair, Publisher in Winston-Salem, NC.

More NC Book Reviews

If you enjoy NC authors or like supporting North Carolina publishers, browse other CaryCitizen book reviews. Tag: Writers.


Photo by Alan Pike for Southern Foodways Alliance.