Let’s say you’re staring into the hazy smoke emanating from your backyard smoker. (Let’s also say you have a backyard smoker.) Into that smoke, you send a wish that this time, you’ve nailed the formula of the perfect cook. What appears in the smoke isn’t masterfully cooked brisket or ribs—but a book. Okay, books manifesting in smoke means too much backyard beer, but “Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto” is a kind of holy grail for budding pitmasters—the kind of book author Aaron Franklin could’ve used in his trial-and-error days before opening Franklin’s. More a resource guide than a cookbook, it covers the core elements of successful barbecue: smoker, wood, fire, meat, and patient, precise cooking. “It can get a little geeky,” Aaron writes. Good. Brisket so perfect you get the meat sweats are all in the details. Signed by Aaron Franklin himself.