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Down Home with The Neelys - A Southern Family Cookbook
(Alfred A. Knopf) ISBN 978-0307269942 0307269949

Pat and Gina Neely share 120 family recipes for Southern food, ranging from pulled pork and barbecue spaghetti to sweet potato pie and the Peabody Hotel mint julep. Many of the Southern cooking recipes come from Neely's Bar-B-Que restaurants in Memphis and Nashville and their Food Network show, Down Home with the Neelys.

Neely family dishes

You feel like you know Gina and Pat Neely after reading this 278-page Southern cookbook - how they met, their courtship, marriage, family and restaurant business.

The Neelys introduce each recipe with the story behind it and serving suggestions. For example, Pat recommends using barbecued catfish leftovers to make sandwiches and serving BBQ catfish with tartar sauce and sweet and spicy slaw.

Tony's Tips accompany several recipes. For example, Tony (who is Pat Neely's brother) says you know when a slab of ribs is cooked on the grill, because it bends in the middle when picked up with tongs.

Family photos of several generations of Neelys enjoying Southern cooking, in their home and at Neelys Bar-B-Que restaurant, supplement photos of delicious Southern family recipes. Many step-by-step images illustrate Southern recipes, such as how to cook spicy fried chicken to crispy perfection.

Neely BBQ tips

The introduction to Down Home with The Neelys provides basic Southern food recipes for barbecue seasoning, barbecue sauce, brown flour gravy and instructions on how to cook perfect rice, chicken stock and cornbread.

Sidebars, such as How to Master ribs, recommend cooking ribs (maximum three pounds) with indirect heat and keeping flames away from the meat. By cooking ribs, curl side up, juices collect and baste the meat. Images depict the step-by-step barbecue ribs recipe and the mouthwatering results.

The Pancakes 101 sidebar reveals tips for better pancakes, such as not whisking the batter to remove lumps and adding ingredients like berries to the batter on the griddle.

Cooking Southern food

Another sidebar provides additional information about Southern cooking, e.g., the differences between sweet potatoes and yams. (There are two types of sweet potatoes, light skinned with pale yellow interiors and dark orange sweet potatoes with sweet, orange flesh. The 150 types of yams, found in Caribbean and Latin markets, have more sugar and moisture in them.)

Barbecue tips, at the front of Down Home with The Neelys, recommend using wet, but not soaked, wood chips on top of white hot coals to create dense smoke.

Sample Neelys Bar-B-Que restaurant recipes

Neely's barbecue seasoning. Neely's barbecue sauce. Memphis-style barbecued pork ribs. Barbecue deviled eggs. Pimento cheese melts (aka Southern crostini). Chicken nachos with green chile queso and barbecue pico. Crab cakes with lime mayonnaise. Coconut shrimp with spicy peanut sauce. Vegetarian chili. Spinach salad with bacon, blue cheese, pecans and cranberries. Southern creamed corn. Seared okra and tomatoes. Broccoli cheddar cornbread. Fried green tomatoes with basil mayonnaise. Molasses baked beans. Spicy salmon with mustard and brown sugar glaze. Thanksgiving turkey with lemony thyme butter. Memphis muffuletta. Candy bar brownie crunch. Strawberry rhubarb pie with crumbly oat topping. Mississippi mud cake. French toast panini with grilled bananas. Barbecue Bloody Mary.

Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook


Foreword by Paula Deen
  • Introduction
  • The Reunion: Pat and Gina's Sizzlin' Love
  • Neely Knowledge
  • Hog Wild: Memphis-style Barbecue
  • Tony's Tips
  • Get the Party Started Neely-style
  • Southern Soups and Stews
  • Refreshing Salads
  • Stick-to-Your-Ribs Side DIshes
  • Dig In: Savory, Soulful Entrées
  • Show-Stealing Sandwiches
  • The Sweet Life: Our Favorite Desserts
  • Sleep Late Breakfasts
  • Southern Libations


Pat and Gina Neely host a TV cooking show and are proprietors of the Neely's Bar-B-Que restaurants in Memphis and Nashville.

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