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Longleaf Select University Press Titles Spring/Summer 2021

Black Smoke
African Americans and the United States of Barbecue
By (author): Adrian Miller
Adrian Miller


The University of North Carolina Press



Product Form:


Form detail:

Hardcover , Cloth


General Trade
Apr 27, 2021
$40.95 CAD


10.3in x 7.3 x 1.4 in | 840 gr

Page Count:

328 pages


8 color plates, 26 halftones
The University of North Carolina Press
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / American / African American & Black Studies
Across America, the pure love and popularity of barbecue cookery have gone through the roof. Prepared in one regional style or another, in the South and beyond, barbecue is one of the nation's most distinctive culinary arts. And people aren't just eating it; they're also reading books and articles and watching TV shows about it. But why is it, asks Adrian Miller—admitted 'cuehead and longtime certified barbecue judge—that in today's barbecue culture African Americans don't get much love?

In Black Smoke, Miller chronicles how Black barbecuers, pitmasters, and restauranteurs helped develop this cornerstone of American foodways and how they are coming into their own today. It's a smoke-filled story of Black perseverance, culinary innovation, and entrepreneurship. Though often pushed to the margins, African Americans have enriched a barbecue culture that has come to be embraced by all. Miller celebrates and restores the faces and stories of the men and women who have influenced this American cuisine. This beautifully illustrated chronicle also features 22 barbecue recipes collected just for this book.

Adrian Miller is a certified Kansas City Barbecue Society judge and recipient of a James Beard Foundation Book Award for Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time. A consultant on Netflix's Chef's Table BBQ, Miller's most recent book is The President's Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas.

Long before the Aaron Franklins of the world had smoked their first briskets, untold generations of Black American pitmasters laid the groundwork for that great and uniquely American culinary tradition we call barbecue. Bravo and thanks, Adrian Miller, for this brilliant book, which shines a light on America's forgotten barbecue heroes and a new generation of Black chefs and pitmasters who are reinventing a style of cooking that's as old as America itself."
—Steven Raichlen, author of the Barbecue Biblecookbook series and host of Project Fire and Project Smoke on PBS

Black Smoke chronicles a rich culinary contribution . . . [Miller] details the history of barbecue back to its Indigenous roots in pre-Columbian days, and recounts how it became part of the culture of enslaved Africans."—New York Times

A trailblazing new volume that catalogues the contributions of Black men and women to American barbecue . . . rigorous scholarship . . . Miller is creating a lexicon to ensure that these Black contributions to American culture can't be written out of history."—Washington Post

Fascinating . . . Sets the record straight on who actually created barbecue."—Daily Beast

Miller brings African Americans back to center of smoked-meat narrative."—Houston Chronicle

Adrian Miller marshals considerable evidence to show in Black Smoke, his thorough, scholarly, enjoyable study [revealing that] barbecue is deeply rooted in African-American history and culture. . . . Miller's book highlights the fundamental racial interconnectedness that lies at the heart of American life, and the American table."—The Economist

An engaging storyteller, Miller brings his subjects to vivid life, as in the chapter on Black barbecue entrepreneurship, which predates Emancipation, with enslaved men and women using their business proceeds to buy freedom. He explores what makes the Black barbecue aesthetic exceptional and the many complexities of etiquette. . . . [and] provides plenty of mouthwatering recipes by Black barbecue artists for sauce, meat and fish, and side dishes as well as profiles of unsung Black barbecue trailblazers across three centuries. . . . A highly entertaining, celebratory, and essential reader for history buffs and barbecue lovers alike."—Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Exuberant . . . studious but not stuffy . . . Miller never forgets that barbecue is, at its heart, about pleasure: about smoke, sizzle, and joy. Black Smoke is scholarship with a little sauce on its chin."—Garden & Gun

Miller shows how Indigenous forms of barbecue in the Americas were received and absorbed by white colonial settlers, and how, in the southern United States, Black Americans have been the keepers of the barbecue flame, throughout the eras of slavery, Jim Crow, and the Great Migration. Miller also seeks out and showcases generations of pitmasters who are still at work; he highlights individuals from different U.S. geographic areas and different traditions of barbecue. . . . A must for serious barbecue scholars and a solid choice for any food historian."—Starred Review, Library Journal

While other barbecue books share knowledge in the form of recipes and steps, or history as told from a white perspective, Miller gets us closer to seeing the full picture, and to acknowledging that the story is richer, and more delicious, with these shared stories."—Local Palate

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