Every Wednesday I review a cookbook and/or food related books to help weed out the good the bad and the ugly. This week I am reviewing Down Home With The Neelys – A Southern Family Cookbook by Patrick and Gina Neely.

I am not the biggest fan of Down Home With The Neelys TV Show.  Not that I hate it, I think the food is great.  I find it quite lovey dovey and hard to watch.  You can only watch two people grind each other on the TV while they cook for so long.  I think the show would be a lot better with a little less PDA.  Based on that I figured the cookbook wouldn’t be the best.  However, I was completely wrong.  The book is nicely written, full of great stories and awesome recipes.

This book starts off with some great introductions.  The forward is written by Paula Deen.  From this I found that the Neelys were discovered by Paula’s Sons.  During their brief stint on the show Road Tasted the Deen boys came across the Neelys.  They told their mom and after a single episode of Paula’s Party their new TV career was started and the rest is history. 

This book includes great quotes and tips from both Pat and Gina.  Their personalities shine through in each chapter and really adds to the book.  Pat and Gina also include recipes and stories from their family members.  This includes grilling and barbecuing tips from Pat’s brother Tony.  Tony has excellent tips on how to start a smoker and how to cook on an offset fire.

Since the Neelys know barbecue, the book is centered around barbecue.  I see nothing wrong with this.  I love barbecue so this totally sparked my interest in this book.  The book starts out with Neelys barbecue seasoning and barbecue sauce.  These recipes are then used as a base for most of the barbecue recipes.  The sauce is a sweet Memphis tomato based barbecue sauce that sounds awesome.  I am going to make this sauce this week. 

The book is not all barbecue.  There is also great recipes for everything from coconut shrimp with spicy peanut sauce to corn chowder to chicken and noodles.  There are also great southern recipes like fried chicken, creamed corn, seared okra and tomatoes, Gina’s collard greens and barbecue spaghetti.  I have had some great barbecue spaghetti in my days and the one in this book sounds delicious.

Overall this a great book.  I must admit that my initial thoughts on this book were completely wrong.  The recipes are great and are easy to read.  The food is not complicated and the recipes use basic ingredients.  This is a book for common cooks with normal food budgets.

Down Home With The Neelys is available wherever books are sold and is available on Amazon here.

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.


  1. I tried one of their baking recipes one. Not sure if it was in the book or not but it was for yellow cupcakes. It wasn't very good. Too dry and seemed almost like corn bread than a cupcake. I was so disappointed that I didn't even bother to make the frosting!

    • I was centered around the southern and barbecue recipes for this book. I have had the Neelys barbecue and if the recipes in the book recreate that in anyway it will be a winner. I am going to try the barbecue sauce later this week. I will let you guys know the outcome.

  2. I totally agree with the show being to lovey dovey thats the same reason I dont watch it..haha

    • Hopefully the Neelys and Gordon Elliott will read these comments and tame down the Public Display of Affection (PDA) on the show. I think if it was more cooking and less grinding it could be a show to watch.

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