From one of the South's most acclaimed pitmasters comes the definitive guide to open-fire cooking, from grilling over wild, young flames, to low-and-slow barbecue over mature coals and cold smoking bacon and hams with dying embers.
One of the few pitmasters still carrying the torch of West Tennessee whole hog barbecue, Nashville’s Pat Martin has studied and taught this craft for years. Now, in his first book, he reveals all he knows about the art of barbecue and open-flame cooking, in all the stages of a fire’s life.
Through beautiful photography and detailed instruction, the lessons start with how to prepare and feed a fire--what wood to use, how to build a pit or a grill, how to position it to account for the weather—then move into cooking through all the stages of that fire’s life. You’ll grill tomatoes for sandwiches and infuse creamed corn with the flavor of char from temperamental, adolescent flames. You’ll grill chicken with Alabama white sauce over the grown-up fire, and of course you’ll master pit-cooked whole hog, barbecue ribs, turkey, pork belly, and pork shoulder over the smoldering heat of mature coals. You’ll roast vegetables buried in white ash, and you’ll smoke bacon and country hams with the dying embers of the winter fire.
For Pat Martin, grilling, barbecue, and smoking is a whole lifetime’s worth of practice and pleasure—a life of fire that will transform the way you cook.
Pat Martin is a leader in American barbecue. He is the owner of Nashville-based Martin's BBQ Joint, with several locations throughout the South.
About the Author
Pat Martin is a true leader in American barbecue. He is the owner of Nashville-based Martin's BBQ Joint, with nine locations throughout the South.
“Cinder blocks, pits, split logs, and hot coals are the roots of barbecue and the lifeblood of Pat Martin. He’s a true friend with an old-school soul, and has barbecue knowledge second to none. Do you have a pit big enough to handle his barbecue inspiration? You soon will.”—Chris Lilly
“Pat Martin has delivered the most important book on cooking over live fire in decades. Life of Fire illuminates it all, from coal beds, to home-built pits (in minutes!) to simple, delicious, recipes and enough whole hog know-how to impress the weekend warriors without intimidating newcomers.”—Andrew Zimmern
“Life of Fire is quite simply the most practical and profound barbecue bible to date. As Pat Martin walks us through the differences between spit, block pit, smokehouse, hog-in-the-ground and open-pit preparations, the connection between West Tennessee barbecue joints and our earliest ancestors who controlled fire seasons the journey.”—Alice Randall
“Life of Fire will change how you feel about barbecue forever. I can smell and taste the history on these pages and can’t wait to fire up the spits and dig even deeper into this love letter to proper barbecue.”—Michael Symon
“When true legends share their lives with us you stop, listen, you tend to the fire and coals like God is watching. Pat Martin is my higher power for hog cookery.”—Matty Matheson
“I’ve eaten at as many barbecue joints as anyone across the nation and I can get down with anybody when it comes to cookin’ meat low and slow, hot and fast, you name it. But DDD O.G. Pat Martin is an old-school pitmaster whose West Tennessee style is at the very foundation of what it means to cook over coals. Life of Fire is about as close as most of us will get to the true soul and tradition of pit barbecue.”—Guy Fieri
“Pat Martin’s passion for his craft and the legend he has become in the barbecue world is inspiring. He’s a magician who can coax flavor out of the simplest ingredients.”—Maneet Chauhan