Top 10 Grilling & Barbecue Cookbooks for Every Backyard Cook

Buying a premium grill or smoker doesn’t make one a grill master or pitmaster. Instead, it means you have a great starting point for learning how to prepare your meals using the equipment. 

When you want to become great at grilling or smoking food, you will need to spend quality time studying and practicing. Thanks to the internet, you can find enormous content on cooking.

However, many online cooking sites lack credibility. And so, if you ask me, I would prefer to get truthful information from reliable sources before throwing my expensive brisket or any other food in a smoker. Sure, you will part with some money, but you will get a wealth of information, not just recipes. 

A truly great cookbook will start you off or take you to the next level in barbecue or grilling. Below are my top 10 grilling & barbecue cookbooks; you can choose the one that is more interesting to you.

1. Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling

When using a grill or smoker, it’s critical to understand the science backing up the interaction between your dishes, fire, heat, and smoke. This book is a definitive guide to methods, concepts, equipment, and accessories for grilling and barbecuing. 

The author of this book, Meathead Goldwyn, is also the founder and editor of a renowned bbq and grilling website Goldwyn applies the newest research to outdoor cooking in more than a hundred thoroughly tested recipes. 


Through the help of Prof. Greg Blonder, a physicist and food scientist, Meathead Goldwyn explains the following:

● why he prefers dry brining to wet brining

● why rubs shouldn't contain salt, how marinades work

● importance of digital probes

● How to tune a smoker or grill

● Why searing doesn’t lock in the juices

● Cooking with logs

● When charcoal is better than gas, and vice versa

● How to prevent fish from sticking

● The strengths and weak points of the new pellet smokers

● Why salt penetrates, but spices don’t

● Why cooking a whole animal is a terrible idea

● Tricks to rotisserie cooking

● Which grill grates are the best

● Why bear-can chicken is a waste of a good bear and why it doesn’t work

This book shatters the myths that prevent perfect cooking. Also, this resource combines physics, chemistry, meat science, and humor. Plus, it contains colorful photos and sure-fire recipes.

2. The Barbecue Bible

Steven Raichlen, an American master griller, is the writer of The Barbecue Bible. This award-winning cookbook contains more than 500 fabulous recipes from all over the world. Also, it reveals the secrets of live-fire cooking with top foods, the most delicious sauces, and insider cooking techniques and tips. 


Some of the backyard barbecue topics Steve Raichlen has discussed in this book include:

● How to perfectly grill a T-bone

● Succulent chicken from different parts of the world like India, Jamaica, Uruguay, Thailand, Senegal, and Brazil

● Comprehensive guides on equipment, ingredients, and rubs

● Drinks to quench your thirst as you work with the coals or wait for your dishes to cook.

● Answers to the FAQs in the world of barbecue and problem-solving tips.

3. Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto

Aaron Franklin is the author of this bestseller cookbook, helped by coauthor Jordan Mackay. 

It all started when Aaron Franklin and his wife, Stacy, opened a small bbq trailer in Austin, Texas, on an interstate in 2009, and they had no idea what they had gotten themselves into. Today, Franklin Barbecue has become the most popular and adored barbeque joint, and Franklin is a winner of major barbecue awards.


In this cookbook,  the contributors share the secrets of great barbecue from their years of hard-won knowledge and barbecue experience. 

Franklin Barbecue is a comprehensive resource for the backyard pitmaster, with chapters discussing:

● How to build or customize your smoker

● Finding the right wood and curing it

● Creating and tending a perfect fire

● Sourcing good-quality meat

● How to cook delicious barbecue

● And so much more

4. Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ

Rodney Scott was born with a passion for barbecue running through his veins. At 11 years, he cooked his first whole hog, a South Carolina barbecue specialty. At that time, he was cooking at his family’s barbecue joint in Hemingway, Carolina. 

Today, Rodney owns one of Charleston's most talked about and awarded barbecue joints.

In this cookbook, Rodney talks about what makes his barbecued spare ribs, hush puppies, pi-smoked turkey, smoked chicken wings, award-winning whole hog and more of his dishes so special. Moreover, his easy-to-follow recipes make it possible to enjoy these superior flavors whether you are a beginner barbecuer or a barbecue expert. 


This awesomely photographed text is your ultimate barbecue reference. It also has captivating stories, like how Rodney made his way from a small town where he worked for his father in the smokehouse and tobacco fields to his sacrifices in his family business to see it thrive to his own ventures later.

In a nutshell, Rodney Scott's World of BBQ is a story of hope, hard work, and an unforgettable barbecue. 

5. Project Smoke

Project Smoke is a step-by-step guide by Steven Raichlen to help you master everything to do with smoking, plus a hundred recipes to roar your plate with flavor.


In this cookbook, you will:

● Learn how to choose the right smoker or how to convert the grill you already have into an effective smoker

● Understand the different tools, smoking wood, and fuels

● Grasp all the vital cooking styles, including rotisserie smoking, hot smoking, cold smoking, smoking with tea and hay

● Find recipes and full-color photos of delicious dishes 

US Today says, “where there is smoke, there is Steven Raichlen,” and Steve says, “where there is pork belly, brisket, salmon, turkey, ribs, and even dessert and cocktails, there will be smoke.”

6. Pitmaster: Recipes, Techniques, and Barbecue Wisdom

Authored by Andy Husbands and Chris Hart, Pitmaster is an in-depth guide to help you become a barbecue expert. 

Recipes in this cookbook begin with the basics, like cooking Memphis-style ribs, and advance to smoking whole hogs the Carolina way. 

Areas covered in  this book include: 

● Specific tips and techniques for perfect smoker operation—the cornerstone of success

● Basics of becoming a successful outdoor cook

● Specific regional barbecue styles 

● Competition barbecue recipes that have won Andy and Chris numerous awards

● Exploration of developing bbq styles

● Regional side dishes, simple desserts, and cocktails

● Contributions from guest pitmasters who are experts in their given region or bbq style.

7. Weber’s Way to Grill: The Step-by-Step Guide to Expert Grilling

Authored by Jamie Purviance, Weber’s Way to Grill contains crucial tips and insights to help you get better at backyard cooking. You will love this book’s confidence-building recipes and numerous colorful images that clearly show how you will get successful outcomes.

The recipes in this cookbook are triple-tested. And next to the recipes, you will find variations in all sorts of grilling methods, sauces, and seasonings. 

Why you should get yourself this book:

● It’s full of flavorful, simple recipes for different foods, including vegetables and desserts. There are also recipes for rubs and sauces, which every serial griller knows lie at the heart of every flavorful food.

● Detailed “How to do its,” for example, way to pickle onions, way to bone a prime rib roast, way to brine a turkey, way to rotisserie a chicken, etc.

● It’s well-organized and has an excellent layout; recipes and other information are clearly expressed and easy to find.

8. Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in 7 Sauces

This publication is not a traditional Korean cooking book but a Korean-American. So, what is the story behind this rich bbq reference? 

Bill Kim and Chandra Ram are the authors of the Korean BBQ cookbook.

The famous chef Bill Kim was born in Korea but grew up in the American Midwest. Bill translates Korean flavors for American barbecue enthusiasts. He teaches the Korean grill basics, including flavor profiles and a lineup of mouth-watering recipes. 

Starting with seven master sauces and three rubs, you will soon excel in preparing a collection of recipes. These delicious recipes include Kori-can pork chops, bbq spiced chicken thighs, kimchi potato salad, Seoul to buffalo shrimp, honey soy frank steak, etc. 

This cookbook has everything you need, from desserts and sides to snacks and drinks, for a delicious and fun time around the grill. 

9. How to Grill Everything

Written by Mark Bittman, this cookbook guides you on how to grill absolutely everything—from cedar-plank salmon to perfect steak to pizza, explained in a simple, straightforward style.  

This guide features 1000 recipes and variations, plus the author’s practical advice on all the grilling basics and exploration of a grill’s endless possibilities. 

Recipes here have step-by-step instructions and cover every part of a meal, including appetizers, vegetables, seafood, meat, poultry, and even desserts. You will get plenty of quick recipes to put dinner on the table in no time, plus low and slow recipes for those leisurely weekend cookouts.

Also, in this book, you will find unique grilled treats like watermelon, avocado, pound cake, and other innovative surprises.

10. Food by Fire: Grilling and BBQ with Derek Wolf

In Food by Fire, you will master the basics of starting a cooking fire and learn about the best fuels. Also, in this guide, you will find various excellent recipes that use direct or indirect heat, and along the way, you will master skillets, skewers, and more.


Recipes included in this book include: 

● Herb-brushed basted bone-in ribeye

● Spicy rotisserie beef ribs

● Coal-roasted lobster tails

● Salt-baked red snapper

● Al pastor skewered tacos

● Leaning salmon plank with lemon dill sauce

● Dirty chipotle NY strings

● Charred and glazed pineapple

Final Word

There you have it; a list of the top 10 grilling & barbecue cookbooks! Pick the one that suits you best. Then make your grill or smoker busy delivering beyond its promises.

Leave a Comment