Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook

July 5, 2010 · Posted in Bestselling Cooking Books Review
Book Description
Meet the Neelys: Pat and Gina, husband-and-wife team, hosts of their own television show, and proprietors of the celebrated Memphis and Nashville eateries, Neely’s Bar-B-Que. The Neelys’ down-home approach to cooking has earned them the highest accolades from coast to coast. It has also won them millions of viewers on the Food Network. Simply put, the Neelys are all about good food and good times. In this, their eagerly awaited de… More >>

Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook

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5 Responses to “Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook”

  1. LBC on July 5th, 2010 7:08 pm

    The recipes in this are great…however be careful…there are some serious printing issues. For the famouse sock it to me cake it only calls for 1/4 cup of flour (I did some searching on and it is suppose to be 2 1/4 cup of flour. Also for the glaze it only calls for 1/2 a cup of sugar which is way off and the glaze is VERY runny….I have not tried other recipes yet. So BE CAREFUL!!
    Rating: 2 / 5

  2. Toni on July 5th, 2010 9:48 pm

    Before giving an opinion on the contents, I have to qualify this by saying that I met the Neely’s at our downtown bookstore for their signing of their first foray into publishing. This incredible couple is truly the REAL deal……… wanted them to come by your house and visit. They made you feel that you were the only one there; they were so kind, gracious, and sincere; THANK YOU! What you see on TV is exactly that same warm and welcoming embrace that you receive in person. You just can’t picture them apart because God knew them for each other.

    This book is a concrete affirmation of the love of marriage and the bond of family. It isn’t just a cookbook; it is a proud weaving of the Neely family, both as a couple and as a restaurant business. You are welcomed into the humble and touching story of William and Lorine Neely; their struggles and challenges in life and how they instilled the work ethic into their five young sons and daughter. Those very same work ethics would become the basis for building the business and food empire that we have come to know and love and appreciate as Neely’s. How Pat and Gina came to be completes the story circle.

    After a most gracious and heartfelt introduction from another great Southern gal who we all know and love, and whose sons discovered this great family, Paula Deen, we are given two versions of the wonderful story of love and life, each by Gina and Pat themselves. You’ll feel the warmth and love as you read the tale of how two young kids, kindred spirits since highschool, came into their own, and finally got married. Photos are many and scattered about so that you can place the names and faces and dates together as you visually “read” their story.

    There are over 272 pages in this book; needless to say, the sharing of recipes are great and gastronomical so here is the table of contents with a glimpse into each section. Remember, there are a whole bunch more recipes in each part that will make your tastebuds do the happy dance…………………




    THE REUNION: Pat & Gina’s story of love and marriage after several years

    NEELY KNOWLEDGE (The basics of true Southern cooking but also the Neely secrets like BBQ Seasoning, BBQ sauce, Mom Lorine’s Brown Gravy, Gina’s Perfect Rice, and Crusty Cornbread: you’re not in the South if this isn’t on your plate!)

    HOG WILD: MEMPHIS STYLE BBQ (A mini history of this BBQ style)

    TONY’S TIPS (Brother Tony’s guide to grilling, woodchips, grilling temperatures, and how to purchase the perfect meat)

    GETTING A NEELY-STYLE PARTY STARTED (Caribbean Rum Nut, Warm Artichoke and Collard Greens Dip, Pimento Cheese Melts and the GREAT story in Madrid, dipping sauce, and shrimp)

    SOUTHERN SOUPS AND STEWS (Chowder, gumbo, chili, and stews)

    REFRESHING SALADS (Spinach Salad with Bcaon, Blue Cheese, Pecans, and Cranberries, a Neely must-have: Sweet and Spicy Slaw, Potato Salad, and Bean Salad)

    STICK-TO-YOUR-RIBS SIDE DISHES (Corn, Okra, Kale, Fried Green Tomatoes, Collard Greens, Ham Hocks, and Sweet Potatoes)

    DIG IN: SOULFUL ENTREES (The foods that are a visual and gastronomic tale of Pat’s childhood, and like all of us, bring back warm and happy feelings and memories that nothing else can………………BBQ Potatoes, BBQ Spaghetti, Fish, Ham, Pork Chops, and Chicken: oooh…..which way to make it?!)

    SHOW-STEALING SANDWICHES (Veggie, Pork, Catfish, Hamburgers)

    DESSERTS (Brownies, Cookies, Pies, Fruit Desserts, Pudding, Bars, Cakes)

    SLEEP LATE BREAKFAST (Oh the biscuits!! Doughnuts, Pecan Rolls, Muffins, Eggs, Waffles, Hashbrowns)

    SOUTHERN LIBATIONS (Lemonades, Margaritas, Sangria, Juleps)

    AKNOWLEDGEMENTS (One of the best parts of this book)


    I noted that another reviewer caught a possible error in a recipe; I haven’t gotten to that recipe yet but one of the great avenues of modern times is the Internet. I think I’ll send an email to find out or I might just give one of their restaurants a jingle. I’m sure they would be able to find someone to clarify this for us; I’ll add an addendum when I find out.

    This is a cookbook and labor of love in which much heart and soul has been put into the effort. Stuff happens. Enjoy the purpose and joy of this tome; be well; be happy! Peace!

    Addendum (June 18): Blessings to all!! I finally got my act together and got the “Sock It To Me” cake recipe question answered; I used 2 email sites to ask for some clarification, but I wasn’t able to get an answer so I called their corporate office and the woman who answered was most kind, gracious, and helpful. The cookbook recipe does call for 2-1/4 cups of cake flour, not just the 1/4 cup as listed in the book. I also purchased the first season DVD of “Down Home with the Neely’s” cooking show from their website (Amazon doesn’t carry it) and the recipe ingredients/measurements for many of the dishes prepared on TV are different than the way they are listed in the cookbook. My opinion on this difference is that I am assuming that because of time constraints, production schedules, etc that the TV recipes are altered a bit to fit the timeclock. BUT……….regardless of how you make the recipes, they all are VERY deelish! My opinion is that making the “Sock It To Me Cake” per the TV recipe version was a bit tastier in that it calls for a box of Golden Yellow Cake mix (there is a cute story about this particular ingredient that Pat talks about on the show), whereas the cookbook uses cake flour. Either way, it was delicious, but the TV version made my tastebuds dance just a wee-bit longer. So there you go. Peace!
    Rating: 4 / 5

  3. Jeremiah Townsend Jr. on July 6th, 2010 12:34 am

    My plan was to make dinner on 3 July to last through the 4th of July. I cooked the Collard Greens, Spicy Chicken, Cheesy Corkscrews w/Crunchy Bacon Toppings and the Broccoli & Cheese Cornbread. My warning sense went off when the book’s recipe called for 1/4 cup of salt and 1 cup of sugar in only 3 cups of water but I ignored it (and if collards are naturally sweet, why add so much more sugar?). Even with me adding additional water, I still felt the meal was high on the salt content for the collards and the Mac & Cheese. The Spicy Chicken and Cornbread were ok, nothing to call home about. I’m not sure if the issue in my case was measurements being off as other reviewers have stated for other recipes or just incompatibility between the Neely’s taste and mine. Either way, even though I love the show, I cannot recommend this book. Please understand that this is based on only personally trying 4 of the book’s recipes but adding in the other recipes with measurement issues (confirmed with visiting Food Network) listed on this site, I have to give it below a below average grade.
    Rating: 2 / 5

  4. j.s. on July 6th, 2010 12:42 am

    I must first say that I am a huge fan of Food Network and most of its programs. I remember watching the premiere of the Neely’s cooking segment and immediately thought, “I can’t wait for their cookbook to come out!” A few years later and here we are…

    It is hard to articulate my disappointment in this book. As another reviewer has already noted, some of the measurements are not correct from the show and food network’s website. This can be especially troublesome when baking!

    Also, I didn’t really appreciate the lenghty introductions. We get an introduction from Paula Deen…and introductions from Pat Neely and Gina Neely, as well as information on their backgrounds and how they met. While this is sweet, I found it a bit unnecessary for a cookbook. Save it for the memoir!

    I also didn’t really groove to the photography. I think of cookbooks as such beautiful creations; I adore flipping through a beautiful book with gorgeous food photography and mouth-watering recipes. As you may know (from watching the show), the Neelys have the mouth-watering recipes perfected. However, I didn’t find the layout of the book or the photography very interesting or noteworthy. It seemed a bit “same old same old” with nothing unique to it.

    While the Neelys’ recipes are divine, I don’t really see the need to buy this cookbook. Many of the recipes are available on TV or through food network’s website. The only reason to buy the book would be for its aesthetic value. Unfortunately, the book looks fairly bland and I don’t find it worth the asking price.

    I love the Neelys and I sincerely hope that their next cookbook is able to match their wonderfully colorful and charming personalities. They are a pleasure to watch and, hopefully, their next cookbook will be a pleasure to look through.
    Rating: 3 / 5

  5. Len on July 6th, 2010 2:29 am

    This is a great southern cookbook to immediately start cooking from! I started with the cornerstone recipes from the book – dry rub, barbecue sauce, slow-cooked baby back ribs, and pickled shrimp just to change things up. I had never slow-cooked ribs before, and the Neelys 3 1/2 hour recipe worked perfectly on my gas grill, resulting in low, slow tender, delicious baby backs. These ribs, with their BBQ sauce, were so good my wife even picked them up with her fingers for the first time. The book’s format is folksy, warm and inviting, with nice dialogue between Pat and Gina, and attractive pictures.

    If you’re looking for a southern cookbook for your collection, I can’t imagine being disappointed with this one.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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