Starting even before the dawn of Henry Perry’s slow-cooked ribs (wrapped in newspaper and sold out of an old trolley barn in the 1900′s), Kansas City has long been recognized for its mouthwatering barbecue. Today Kansas City is home to over one hundred different BBQ joints and the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the “world’s largest organization of barbecuing and grilling enthusiasts.”
When the KCBS was first begun in 1986, founders Rick Welch and Gary and Carolyn Wells agreed, “that the only requirement for membership was to take nothing seriously.” More than 11,000 members later, the 25th Anniversary edition of the Kansas City Barbeque Society Cookbook is a testament to the society’s spirited foundations. This collection of over two hundred recipes is a tangy blend of history, humor, culinary skill, and warmhearted community.
Beginning with recipes using the four KCBS food groups required at sanctioned contests (chicken, pork ribs, pork, and beef brisket), the cookbook goes on to devote whole sections to appetizers, seasonings, sides, and desserts. The recipes are as diverse as the society’s eleven thousand members and are often accompanied by small anecdotes that bring to life the ‘Que competition atmosphere and its colorful competitors. Below the migas recipe of Daredevil Bad McFad, John Raven, Wells recalls asking the infamous cook why he omitted beans from his list of ingredients. His reply: “Beans are good and nice. Eggs are good and nice. Beans and eggs mixed are an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.”
Near the end of the book you will find a helpful section of tips on safety and grill maintenance, as well as a list of barbecue terms that will get you grilling and gabbing like a pro turning yardbird with a pig tail. For those preparing to enter a KCBS sanctioned contest, this book is a perfect resource, packed with information about contest regulations, and even a contest gear checklist in the back to keep beginners organized.
For seasoned cooks looking to explore beyond traditional meats, there is the “Anything Butt” section, which includes recipes that use any meat other than the basic four – everything from Oysters Thermidor to Korean Fire Meat to Elk For Dummies. Or try out a new sauce or seasoning like Voodoo Glaze or Diva Q Citrus Chicken Brine. With such a variety of finger-licking cuisine, this cookbook is sure to keep grills smoking all summer long.
Photo: Andrews McMeel Publishing