Book Review: Franklin Barbecue- A Meat-Smoking Manifesto



The sheer number of barbeque books on the market can be confusing to even the most astute consumer. Every single release, claims to have found the perfect way, to grill or smoke meat. Each one has a multitude of helpful hints and tips, to guide you through the process, with the promise of end results that will blow your mind, in terms of taste. Unfortunately, what most people find is that while their meats improve, they still aren’t nearly as good as what they’d be tasting at a professional barbeque restaurant. Over the years I grew confident that I’d never find a book, that could help me obtain these professional results, but this one has some advantages over the rest. So, I wrote this Franklin Barbeque: A Meat Smoking Manifesto Review, to take potential buyers through what those advantages are, the reasons why this book is so good, and what I thought it lacked.

The Background

Aaron Franklin, the books Author, is from Texas, and Texas is famous for cowboys and outdoor cooking. Anyone who has ever been to Texas knows how great the grilled and smoked meats taste there. People even make their own grills, and achieving perfection in meat cooking, is a popular hobby in the state. Everybody there, has an opinion about cooking meat, the standards are high and the competition is tough, but not only is Mr. Franklin a Texas native; he’s also beaten out that stiff competition, to become a hugely successful barbecue restaurant owner. Over the years Aaron’s fame has grown, from state renown to nationwide acclaim, and over the last ten years, he’s achieved the status of global smoking and grilling authority. So, his words carry a little more weight than others, he has the expertise to back them up, and he’s got all the knowledge needed to help anyone create authentic, tender, supremely tasting Texas smoked meat, that will be even better than restaurants. It’s fair to say, that unlike with most books about smoking meat, this author had my attention immediately.

The Details

I thought it was interesting that there are no magical solutions offered here, that’ll turn your brisket or beef into the best out there. Truth is, any book that offers these (and they frequently do), should ring alarms bells with buyers because the magic spell does not exist. Instead, Franklin takes us through the process of professionally smoking meat from start to finish, and explains it in a way anyone can understand, because there is no secret, to great smoking; the key is to know the process chefs use and to follow it. That’s what you get here, and while there are some amazing tips given, which will help buyers produce some of the most succulent meat they’ve ever tasted, there are no shortcuts. And that’s a good thing, because anyone who has read books about smoking, knows the subpar results one gets from shortcuts.

Readers will find it fascinating how Franklin uses the same ingredients we all buy at our local stores; he just uses them in a different way. For marinades and Seasonings he offers simple, easy to follow instructions, on how to fuse together ingredients you’ll know well, into the most wonderful additions to smoked meat you can imagine. Franklin is very upfront about his own struggle to create the best tasting meat, and explains how he experimented in his younger days and got things wrong, before getting them right. He suggests we do the same, so he’s inviting us to follow his recipes, but to also put some of our own ideas into the food we’re smoking. He’s extremely passionate, and want us to be like him, so following the processes in this book, isn’t an arduous and mundane task like with other books. Instead, you can let all your enthusiasm out, and go with what your feeling at the time. He speaks in a very friendly manner too, so it feels like your at his restaurant in Austin, and your face to face with the man himself, who is teaching you about smoking meat.

The books first half is about how to create the perfect fire and the best smoke. He goes through the best types of wood and where to get them from, but he also tells you how to build your own smoker but you can also use a 4-in-1 grill or other grill. It’s all very exciting and you’ll find yourself immersed in a world full of new information that fascinates and enthralls. The books second half is about preparing meat to be smoked and step by step instructions on all the different types of meat. Again, he’ll regularly encourage readers to wander off into their imagination, to find things in each recipe that may not be in the book but are inspiring to them. Other books tend to want you to stick closely to what is claimed to be a magical recipe that will change your life, and usually doesn’t, but Franklin thinks everyone has some magic in them. The message is to follow his tips and instructions, but he’ll bring out your own inner genius, and pretty soon you’ll be adding all kinds of things, that just popped into your head.

It’s a comprehensive guide, and the only real problem I had with the Meat Smokers manifesto was that it could have been longer. It’s authentic Texas smoking for the masses.


From Brisket to Beef, to Chicken to Pork; this book has the same processes chefs use to create masterpiece’s, and for the first time ever, I’m able to say that there really is a book out there, that explains how to cook restaurant standard food. Definitely worth a read.