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7 Best Smoker Cookbook In 2023: Smoked Meat Innovation

Choosing a smoker cookbook is crucial because you want it to be simple enough to follow. In this guide, I’ve put together my top 7 picks for the best smoker cookbooks you can buy this year for perfect barbeque recipes!

best cookbooks for smoking meat

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You recently purchased a smoker but are unsure what to do with it, so you pull out your phone and search for BBQ tips and tricks.

But most of them are copied pieces of content that are just rehashed or too complicated to follow.

That’s why I decided to create my own article about smoker cookbooks, so you can use it as a reference when you want to learn more about this cooking method.

In this article, I’ve included the 7 best smoker cookbooks that contain proven recipes that use simple ingredients, along with detailed instructions on preparing them properly to get the best results every time.

What is the best smoker cookbook?

Here are the 7 best smoker cookbooks on the market:

  • Best Overall: Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto 
  • Runner-up: Project Smoke By Steven Raichlen
  • Best For Both Beginner and Intermediate: Smokin’ with Myron Mixon
  • Best Cookbook With Inspiring Author’s Story: Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ: Every Day Is a Good Day
  • Best For Beginners: Smoke & Spice By Cheryl Alters Jamison
  • Best Wood Pellet Smoker Recipe: The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook By Peter Jautaikis 
  • Best Cookbook For Electric Smoker Owner: The Complete Electric Smoker Cookbook By Bill West

1. Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto 

Best Overall

Overview

If you’re familiar with the world of barbecue, then you’ve probably come across the name Aaron Franklin more than once.

There’s no doubt that Franklin Barbecue is one of the most famous barbecue restaurants in the United States, with a fan base that extends far beyond Texas.

What is it about Aaron Franklin’s cooking technique that makes him so successful?

When he started out as a young man, he was just another aspiring cook learning his craft. But now, he’s one of America’s favorite pitmasters and has been featured on Food Network, The New York Times, and countless other outlets.

In this book, you’ll learn how Aaron went from novice to master through the practical application of science and technique.

This is not a cookbook in the conventional sense. It’s more of a how-to guide for smoking and grilling meat on your own grill.

It tells you what kind of smoker to buy, what kind of wood to use, how much time each type of meat needs to cook, how often and how long you should rest meat after cooking (and when), whether or not to spit-roast instead of grilling over indirect heat, how long to smoke your ribs without wrapping them, and vice versa.

There are four barbecue recipes in this cookbook: one for brisket, one for pork spare ribs, one for beef (plate) short ribs, and one for turkey breast.

As you can see, this book doesn’t contain many recipes,c but each recipe is very in-depth and explained in great detail.

This is a good thing because most people don’t know how to barbecue and need detailed instructions to get the best results possible.

All in all, this is not the kind of book that will give you tons of recipes but rather an inside look at how barbecue works.

If you want to get into barbecue, this is a great place to start. It will give you the confidence and basic knowledge you need to go out and buy your first smoker to start smoking your first batch of meat.

What I Like/Dislike About This Book

What I like
  • This book was written in a clear, simple style that made the instructions easy to understand.
  • There is a detailed guide that explains how to build your own large, offset smoker by converting used propane tanks.
  • It contains a lot of good techniques for beginners to learn from.
What I dislike
  • There are just a few recipes contained in the book.

2. Project Smoke By Steven Raichlen

best Runner-up

Overview

With his PBS show and cookbooks, Steven Raichlen has shown that he is one of the best guys out there when it comes to barbecue.

If you’re looking for a book to help you develop your own mastery of the art of smoking, I recommend Project Smoke.

In this book, you’ll find all the information you need to start your barbecue journey.

For example, he explains the various methods for flavoring raw food (salting, curing, brining, marinades, and so on); he simplifies the differences in smoking methods; and he includes simple charts for identifying which woods are used for smoking regionally.

Best of all, he keeps you relaxed throughout this education, so you remember that the point of it is to have fun.

Then there are the recipes; you may find everything from the most fundamental (like “how to make a brisket”) to the most outlandish dishes.

Raichlen is an excellent writer who keeps you relaxed throughout your education so that you remember that the point of it all is to have fun!

What I Like/Dislike About This Book

Pros
  • There are a lot of explanations and techniques behind every recipe.
  • This book contains many great recipes; my favorites are Jamaican jerk chicken and smoked slaw.
  • Wonderful photo for recipes
  • This book is packed with useful information about some of the finest meats and fish available.
Cons
  • The lack of an index makes it difficult to search for recipes and ingredients.

3. Smokin’ with Myron Mixon

Best for both beginner and Intermediate

Overview

If you’re looking for award-winning recipes that are very simple, with ingredients you can actually find at your local supermarket, then this book is for you.

Myron Mixon is one of the most accomplished pitmasters of all time. He has made it his mission to share his knowledge and skills with others.

In this cookbook, he offers recipes that are easy to follow, use commonly available ingredients, and are based on simple techniques.

This book is not only about cooking; rather, his stories are interspersed throughout the chapters, along with recipes.

If you want to learn how to make straightforward and tasty recipes using ingredients that are easy to find at local supermarkets or butcher shops, and often served in restaurants owned by one of the most accomplished pitmasters of all time, then this Mixon’s book will show you exactly how.

What I Like/Dislike About This Book

What I like
  • The recipes are clear and simple to follow, with guidelines for cooking temperatures and time requirements.
  • Myron’s advice on how to prepare for cooking competitions and his description of the experience are invaluable.
  • There are recipes for BBQ rubs and sauces as well
What I dislike
  • This book contains many photos, but not one for each recipe.

4. Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ: Every Day Is a Good Day

Best cookbook with inspiring author’s story

Overview

If you’re looking for a book that will help you understand the world of barbecue, this is the one for you.

Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ: Every Day Is a Good Day is a cookbook packed with recipes, tips, and tricks for barbecue-loving chefs.

Although this book does contain recipes, it’s more like a barbecue encyclopedia. You will understand the wide variety of grills and their features, functions, and more.

This is not just another book about barbecue—it’s an intimate look into the mind of one of America’s most celebrated chefs!

It’s also filled with beautiful pictures of barbecues and their various parts, so you’ll be able to learn how everything works together.

What I Like/Dislike About This Book

Pros
  • The book is interesting not only for the recipes but also because of Rodney’s story.
  • This cookbook is packed with tons of great recipes, which are concise and made with easy-to-find ingredients.
  • The hardcover of the book is high-quality, and the pages feel like they will hold up well over time.
Cons
  • The Kindle version of this book misses some parts of the print version.

5. Smoke & Spice By Cheryl Alters Jamison

Best for beginners

Overview

The book Smoke & Spice by Cheryl Alters Jamison is a collection of recipes that are simple and easy to absorb.

The book contains a variety of recipes, from rubs, sauces, and marinades, as well as basic cooking techniques for smoking meats.

It is organized into sections like “Barbecue Basics” and “Smoking & Firing,” which gives you a good idea of what to expect in each chapter.

It also includes information about how to choose the right wood for your grill and how to prepare it properly before you start cooking on it.

The authors have done an excellent job of capturing the essence of barbecue through their writing style and use of images.

The photos they use are clear, crisp, and beautiful—perfect for helping readers visualize what they’re going to be making when they open up this book!

This is an amazing book which you can tell was written with love by the authors. Great collection of the basics from rubs, sauces, and marinades—it’s definitely worth checking out!

What I Like/Dislike About This Book

Pros
  • The instruction is well-written and easy to understand.
  • There are many recipes that can be used as starting points.
  • The book provides many helpful fundamentals on rubs, sauces, and marinades.
  • Great demonstrate photos.
You might not love it for
  • The recipes are not in-depth and unique.
  • While the photos included for most recipes are attractive and helpful, some recipes have no pictures at all.

6. The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook By Peter Jautaikis 

Best wood pellet smoker recipe

Overview

This book is a great resource for anyone interested in grilling or smoking meat because it is jam-packed with information and tips for cooking with wood pellet smokers.

Peter Jautaikis has put together a comprehensive guide to barbecue and smoke meat.

When it comes to cooking, there is no shortage of jargon or pointers. This book offers all the information a newcomer needs to succeed, and it’s presented in a style that’s easy to understand.

Even if you consider yourself a seasoned grill master, you will pick up a few new tricks from this book.

The author does an excellent job of providing a thorough background on grills and smokers and explaining their components in great detail.

He also includes two detailed charts on cooking time and the type of wood to use when grilling/smoking various types of food.

What I Like/Dislike About This Book

Pros
  • This book is very helpful for those using pellet grill for the first time.
  • Jautaikis lays out a step-by-step guide to barbecuing and smoking meats.
  • Contains a lot of helpful and clear demonstration pictures
  • This book does a great job of covering the fundamentals for beginners.
Cons
  • The book does not include any mention of how to choose meat for certain foods.

7. The Complete Electric Smoker Cookbook By Bill West

Best cookbook for electric smoker owner

Overview

This book is perfect for any newbie who wants to learn how to cook great meals with an electric smoker or for someone who has been cooking all their life but wants more guidance.

It’s got everything from detailed instructions and recipes for every kind of meat (and even vegetables!) to useful information about wood chips, temperatures, and bringing for each type of meat.

The recipes are written in a way that will help you understand what you are doing without being overly complicated or long-winded—they are broken down into easy steps for the newbie who wants a good meal but doesn’t have hours on their hands. However, they also have enough detail to satisfy the experienced chef.

There are also plenty of recipes in this book, including smoked prime rib, fireball whiskey meatballs, and bacon-wrapped crab-stuffed shrimp, among others!

I highly recommend this barbecue cookbook to anyone looking to explore the smoking world, expand their cooking skills, or just look for new great barbecue sauces and marinades.

What I Like/Dislike About This Book

Pros
  • Contains over 100 recipes.
  • The recipes are well-organized, with detailed instructions and tips on wood chips, temperatures, and bringing for each meat type.
  • The way the book’s written is humorous and engaging, which will have you laughing out loud.
Cons
  • The book is suitable for electric smoker owners only.
  • The book itself is great but has poor printing.

What To Consider When Buying A Smoker Cookbook

Smoker cookbooks are a great way to learn new recipes and get inspiration for your next smoked meal. But before you buy one, there are a few things you should be aware of. Here’s what to consider when buying a smoker cookbook:

The type of smoker you own

The type of smoker you own is an important factor to consider when picking a cookbook since there are specific books for different types of smokers like The Complete Electric Smoker Cookbook or The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook, so you’ll want to make sure the cookbook you choose is for your smoker.

Is the author knowledgeable about their craft?

If you’re looking for a book that will help you improve your smoking technique, you’ll want to find one that’s written by someone who knows what they’re talking about and how to write about it in an accessible way.

A well-written recipe will tell you everything from how long to smoke your food (the longer it smokes, the better it tastes) to how much salt or sugar to use (more seasoning leads to better-tasting barbecue).

Difficulty level

Before buying, you should take a look at the level of difficulty within the book to make sure that you are not buying something that is either too difficult for your level of reading or too easy.

If it’s too advanced, it might not be worth your time. If it’s too simple and easy to follow, it may not provide any new insights or techniques that will help you achieve your goals.

The size and weight of the cookbook

The size and weight of a cookbook are important because they will determine how easy it is to store. If you’re planning on taking your cookbook with you everywhere, then you’ll want it to be lightweight—not heavy and bulky.

The Number of Recipes

More recipes mean more variety and greater opportunity for success, but it can also mean more work if you’re not ready for that kind of challenge.

If you want something simple and straightforward, look for a cookbook with fewer than 50 recipes. But if you want something that will challenge your skills, try to find one with at least 100 recipes.

Do the recipes include pictures?

When you buy a smoker cookbook, you will want to make sure that there are pictures in it so that you can visualize what the food should look like when it is ready.

If there are no pictures, then it may be difficult for you to follow along with the instructions and get them right.

Final Thoughts

So now you are one step closer to having the best smoker cookbook to prepare your juicy and delicious smoked meat.

The 7 smoker cookbooks above are really essential for those who want to learn more about using the smoker grill. They are also perfect gifts for a friend or relative who loves grilling and smoking.

I hope you find these books useful and will be able to get the best results ever!

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