The renowned Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is beloved by bikers, blues musicians, and barbeque aficionados for its famous barbeque and colorful regulars. Cooks can enjoy the Dino vibe at home with recipes like World Famous Dinosaur Ribs and Drunken Spicy Shameless Shrimp with Brazen Cocktail Sauce. Including everything from starters to desserts, plus house secrets behind the restaurant’s famous pit-smoked specialties, this is one distinctively down-home, must-have cookbook.Dinosaur Bar-B-Que kicked into gear in 1983 when John Stage, a Harley-loving biker with a taste for barbecue, took to the road cooking sandwiches on a sawed-in-half 55-gallon drum at “biker gigs” up and down the East Coast. Stage sampled world-class barbecue in Virginia, Texas, North Carolina, and Memphis, soaking up “the Southern barbecue vibe” (and picking up Creole, Asian, and Cuban influences along the way) before setting up shop in Syracuse, New York, in 1988. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse captures the reach-out-and-taste-it smell of slow-cooked barbecue that hits you two blocks away from the “genuine honky-tonk rib joint,” where outfront a row of gleaming Harleys stand at attention and inside a sassy, ready-to-bust-your-chops wait staff cuts through the eclectic crowd of bikers, students, suits, and blues lovers (there’s live music almost nightly), serving up half-racks of Dinosaur-Style Ribs, Texas Beef Brisket, and Honey Hush Corn Bread.
Between recipes for Drunken Spicy Shameless Shrimp with Brazen Cocktail Sauce and Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf are samples of the restaurant’s infamous restroom graffiti (“When life gives you lemons… add vodka”) and photos of staff tattoos. Stage and coauthor Nancy Radke realize that not all backyard grill masters own smokers, let alone the kind of hickory-log-fueled industrial pits at the Dinosaur (nicknamed “The Coffin” and “The Doghouse”), so they present home cooks with a helpful Techniques of Outdoor Cookin’ section that offers advice on how to grill and smoke with wood chips.
And no matter the season, this cookbook will quickly become a dog-eared favorite, as many of the more than 100 recipes are perfect for indoor cooking anytime of the year. Whip up a batch of the all-purpose Mutha Sauce (a versatile starting off point for many of the dishes) and you’ll have enough ammunition for a weekend’s worth of recipes. If you want to come any closer to living the complete Dinosaur experience at home, you’ll need a Harley out front, a cold beer in hand, and Roosevelt Dean and the Spellbinders jammin’ in the living room. –Brad Thomas Parsons