So you've worked your way through the menus on the previous pages, and it's only whetted your appetite for more. Hang on tight: You're stepping into a world of hotly defended traditions, untempered loyalty, and secret formulas as closely held as Coca-Cola's.
Fortunately, there's plenty of good advice out there, even if you're using a basic kettle grill instead of a backyard pit (kind of tricky to rig up in Manhattan, anyway).
Dotty Griffith's Celebrating Barbecue: The Ultimate Guide to America's 4 Regional Styles of 'Cue (Simon & Schuster; $24) breaks down the grilling world by its warring factions, each of which claims it's the one true holy order: Texas-style (savory-smoky, slightly sweet), Kansas City (sweet-sour, hot), Carolina (hot and sour), and Memphis (sweet, hot, and smoky). Let the Flames Begin, by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby (W.W. Norton; $30; June) isn't so much about barbecue, but it offers lots of general grilling advice and techniques, as well as a bunch of spice rubs. Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue (Scribner; $27.95; June) applies the unflappable weatherman's amiable persona to 100 basic backyard recipes.
And if the testosterone-soaked world of backyard cooking just puts you off, surf on over to www.girlsatthegrill.com, where founder Elizabeth Karmel is threatening to take back barbecue from the guys. Karmel, a former marketing and P.R. consultant for Weber, has filled her brand-new site with seriously reliable and informative cooking and equipment tips, spice rubs, and an e-store (still under construction) where you'll be able to buy it. If all this arcana gives you the 'cue vapors, you can even hire Karmel to come out to your house for grilling lessons. She lives in Chicago, so it won't come cheap -- but let's face it, the truest of barbecue devotees will go a lot farther than that for a fix.
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