Kansas City Barbecue Society Cookbook, 25th Anniversary Edition

KCBSKansas City Barbecue Society Cookbook

Barbecue… it’s not just for breakfast anymore.

Such is but one of the many pearls of wisdom featured in the Kansas City Barbecue Society Cookbook, a treasure trove of barbecue wisdom from the United States’ best BBQ town: Kansas City, MO.  (Okay, so I’m a bit biased, what can I say?)  But regardless of personal bias (and the fact I was sent a review copy), this really is a cool cookbook.

It starts out with a history of the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS), which was started in 1986 to bring together BBQers (called cookers) from around the area.  At its inception, 30 cookers paid $12 to be members.  From these humble beginnings, the KCBS has turned into a premier BBQ association, publishing the first edition of the Kansas City Barbecue Society Cookbook with it’s subtitle Barbecue…it’s not just for breakfast anymore in 1995.  In the intervening years, the society has also grown from 30 members to over 13,000 and now sanctions 300 BBQ events from coast to coast.  (I love this town!)

So when their 25th anniversary rolled around, KCBS had more then enough contributers to submit recipes and make the their 25th Anniversary cookbook something special.

Kansas City Barbecue Society Cookbook

Enough about KCBS, it’s time to eat!  (Well, read about eating anyway.)  The Kansas City Barbecue Society Cookbook is a collection of more than 200 recipes that covers everything from marinades to sides to fish to pork to beef to eggs and absolutely everything in between.  If it can be cooked BBQ style, there’s an entry.

However, I will admit, the cookbook’s comprehensive study of all aspects of BBQ suprised me a little bit.  I expected this fine cookbook to contain a bunch of recipes for brisket, a bunch of recipes for ribs, a few recipes for pork butt, a bunch of recipes for BBQ sauce and rub and about a 20 ways to make baked beans.  Now, let me say in no uncertain terms I would not have been unhappy with that cookbook at all.  Not one bit.

What, I got, though was something far better.  For instance, I like to grill fish and seafood.  There’s recipes for oysters “thermidor”, ahi tuna with maui onion dressing, ahi steaks, fish boil, and salmon (among others.)  I have thought about BBQing desserts and if I wanted to, I now have the recipes for Big Will’s Triple-Chocolate Cheesecake, Rick Browne’s Brown Bag Apple Pie,  bourbon sweet potato pie, and no-bake cookies that can be done BBQ style.  And let me tell you that I have never had the desire to make chicken livers on the grill, but with the Kansas City Barbecue Society cookbook, now I can.

Aw, yeah.

Putting the Kansas City Barbecue Society Cookbook to the Test

So, whenever I review a cookbook, I like to cook something from it.  Just to test it out.  And since I am from Kansas City, I just had to do Korean Fire Meat!

(What, you were expecting pork butt?)

The recipe with paraphrased directions follows below, but let me tell you, this was some good Korean beef.  My one mistake was using dark soy sauce because it was a bit too salty.  Next time I’ll buy some low sodium soy sauce and use that for the marinade.  Still, check this recipe out!

Korean BeefKorean Fire Meat Recipe

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup good quality soy sauce (recommend low sodium!)
  • 1/2 cup cola or carbonated soda (I used Ginger Ale)
  • 1 or 2 scallions cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced or minced
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 pounds thinly sliced sirloin steak (try not to use frozen)

Note: Per the Kansas City Barbecue Society cookbook: if your butcher is unwilling to slice the meat paper thin, find a Korean grocer that sells the steak already sliced.  The same goes for thin sliced short ribs.  The book also suggests you can freeze the meat and cut it with a sharp knife.

My Note: 888 Market has the sirloin steak frozen and sometimes, it is available at their meat counter.

Combine the sugar, soy sauce, cola, scallions, onion, sesame oil, sesame seeds, pepper, and garlic in a sauce pan.  Simmer gently over meidm heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Add more sugar or soy sauce to taste.  Set aside to cool.

Separate the meat slices and put them in a glass or plastic container.  Pour the sugar/soy sauce/cola mixture over the meat and let it marinate for 2 hours.  The Kansas City Barbecue Society cookbook says that 2 hours is fine because of how rare the meat is.

Prepare the grill for medium-hot cooking.  Grill the meat strips for 5 minute total, turning once.  The book says that if you don’t have a grill, you can make them in a cast iron skillet or wok, but I did mine in a high sided skillet and they turned out just fine.  I used some vegetable oil and got my skillet fairly hot.

That’s all there is to it.  Thanks to KCBS for a great cookbook and some wonderful Korean beef!  Enjoy!


  1. I’ve got a bunch of grill books, some fancy, some basic, but this one is the best I’ve seen yet. Steven Raichlen has been around the world gathering an incredible amount of grilling/barbecuing knowledge. But what’s knowledge without application? It’s all in the book. I’ve made several of the recipes from How To Grill including the bourbon brined pork steaks, mustard crusted T-bones, brazilian shrimp and yes, beercan chicken. It’s hard to imagine life before beercan chicken. All recipes have been simple to prepare and wonderful to eat. The step-by step photos are enormously helpful. Congratulations to Mr. Raichlen and his photographer, Greg Schneider, for making such a foolproof book that you’ll use alot. The Barbecue Bible is good too. It includes more exotic recipes and examples of world barbecuing, but not many photos or illustrations.

  2. I can’t believe some of the criticism this book has provoked. Too many ingredients per recipe? Has ‘no direction’? Skips the basics? Bah! It’s best to keep in mind what Raichlen is aiming for: an accurate description of different grilling techniques the world over. He draws his recipes from virtually every reach of the earth, including Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East — obscure recipes that otherwise may not have been available without this wonderful, all-inclusive compendium. I find it hard to believe that ‘all the recipes taste the same’, when a Guadeloupean Crayfish in a Curry Beure Blanche is about as similar to an Iranian Saffron and Lemon Chicken as, well, fish is to fowl. (Both, by the way, are delicious…)As far as covering the basics, he goes into concise and complete detail on all manner of technique — everything from how to cook your basic hamburger, to how to properly segment a chicken, to how to arrange the coals in your grill. At the beginning of every major chapter, he describes how different foods should be cooked. If you look at each individual recipe that includes chicken breast, it will not include a description on how to cook chicken breast: it was covered earlier! Read the book!In short, this book comprises an eclectic range of tasty grill recipes, all explained in detail. There is also a great deal of food history included, as well as some very helpful glossaries. This is an essential book for any griller, whether you want to learn how to get your steaks just right, or want to branch out into less familiar territory.

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