During a book store closing, I snagged a signed copy of "Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue" by John Shelton Reed, the famed essayist on the American South, his wife Dale Volberg Reed, and Carolina Barbecue Society founder William McKinley. If this is not the Bible of NC barbecue, it is among the Holy Scriptures. The first sixty pages recount the history of barbecue in NC, which alone makes the book worth reading.
The book continues with descriptions of the different styles of bbq in NC, including how they have changed, barbecue restaurants and recipes. The finest jewel is the penultimate section, titled The People, in which legendary barbecue greats tell their story. Here you hear from Ed Mitchell, Keith Allen, Chad Stamey and a host of others recount how they got into the business and most important, why.
The book is currently on sale (but not signed) at Amazon. Go get your copy.