brian b credit adam hendershott pp
Source: Adam Hendershott

Exclusive: 'The Office' Star Brian Baumgartner Is 'Passionate' About His New Cookbook — Which Focuses on Barbecue Dishes

May 20 2024, Published 10:10 a.m. ET

Link to FacebookShare to XShare to Email

After Brian Baumgartner released Seriously Good Chili Cookbook: 177 of the Best Recipes in the World — a cookbook dedicated to chili, a nod to his character, Kevin Malone, in The Office — in 2022, he became interested in putting out another cookbook, but this time around, it would be something he was passionate about.

"I make chili now — that is true, but it wasn't something I had ever really made growing up or even as an adult now. Let's just say the incident occurred [referring to Kevin making his famous chili in the series], and since then, I've made quite a bit of chili. But something I actually do a lot is barbecue and grill. I grew up in the south, and it was always part of my culture. I travel quite a bit, but when I'm home, I'm at the grill and I'm cooking stuff outdoors. I love it. It's a communal activity for me. It's an opportunity for me to kind of let everything else go and focus on an activity that is different than what I do most of the rest of the day," the actor, 51, exclusively tells Morning Honey while discussing his new venture Seriously Good Barbecue Cookbook, which releases on June 11.

Article continues below advertisement
Source: @bbbaumgartner/instagram

The star played Kevin Malone in 'The Office.'

"I love doing it. Luckily, I've had a number of chefs give me some great recipes to try to create an amazing collection for people this summer," the star, whose go-to is an "amazing dry tip," continues. "I love to eat barbecue meals, but I also love to cook it. It's one of those things that typically happens in groups, and it's a great way to connect with friends and family."

Growing up, the Georgia native and his family would fire up the grill typically on the weekends. Now that he lives in Southern California, it's a no-brainer for him to put something on the grill about four or five days a week since the weather is pretty much perfect all year around. "I've always used cooking in general as sort of a distraction from my day job," he notes. "I was more around barbecue when I was younger and in Texas, but now that I'm in California, there's no off-season for grilling."

Article continues below advertisement

Even before releasing his first cookbook, Baumgartner was interested in working on a book dedicated to barbecue since it's something he "enjoys so much."

"I took a trip during the pandemic. I had watched this series on Netflix about these pit masters in barbecue from all over the world and one of the ones they mentioned was Rodney Scott, who is a great chef and has a restaurant down in Charleston, S.C. It was in the middle of the pandemic, and for work I had to get on a plane to Nashville, which is not that close to Charleston. I hadn't seen my parents in nine or 10 months, so I was like, 'Well, I'm going to drive alone and visit them.' On my way, I went out of my way to go to Rodney Scott's barbecue place in Charleston. Through that experience, I was like, 'I want to get some folks together. I want to talk about this myself, get some great recipes going and put out a book,'" he recalls.

b waltwines
Source: @bbbaumgartner/instagram

The actor is 'passionate' about barbecue and grilling.

Article continues below advertisement

The tome consists of over 100 barbecue recipes and includes famous regional styles including Texas, Kansas City, North Carolina, Memphis, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida and Alabama, plus international, seafood, and accompanying side dishes, all submitted by home cooks, award-winning chefs, and well-known pitmasters from all corners of the earth. "There were some tips and tricks I've learned over the years. I also included some recipes of my own and then went to people much more skilled than me to get some great recipes," he explains. "Some were chefs that I knew wanted to have their input in this book and many others I tried to get through friends or other chefs in the past. If they're willing to give up their secrets, I want to include it for readers."

Source: @bbbaumgartner/instagram

The star released his first cookbook about chili.

Article continues below advertisement

"The great thing about this book is there's this debate of what is grilling and what is barbecue? The act of barbecue by definition is using more indirect heat and smoking and stuff like that whereas grilling is more on the flame," he explains. "We've got a combination of all of those things because I feel like why limit ourselves by sort of a narrow definition? In addition to that, we've got a lot of fun and creative sides that you can enjoy with your main course. They compliment both the taste and the feeling of summer."

One of the author's favorites includes using a chicken with a special marinade. "I'm tremendously proud of it! I cook it a lot," he gushes.

Ultimately, Baumgartner never "thought he would have a cookbook."

"I worked for a director for a long period of time when I was doing theater, and it's what he did. I would say he sort of taught me or showed me that cooking could help in the work that you're doing. I learned what paella was from him," he shares. "Sometimes with actors, artists, directors, you try to focus on the work too much with no break or interruption and the wheel just starts to spin without moving forward. He needed that sort of break, which is why I like to cook."

Article continues below advertisement

He's also thankful that Kevin taught him about chili. "When I posted a picture of myself making chili, people went berserk," he says. "I met a bunch of world champion chili makers and got into that culture, which came from my work on The Office and that particular character. It was not an initial interest of mine, but now it sure is! The chili is Kevin's thing and barbecue and grilling is much more for me."

bryan cover seriously good barbecue book
Source: Fox Chapel Publishing

The new book releases on June 11.

Article continues below advertisement

As for if more cookbooks are in the works, he says, "We'll see! I certainly love it. I love cooking any sort of major meal for the holidays or for my family. We're going to get this one out there and see what people think about it and go from there."

The book will be available on June 11 and you can pre-order your copy now at


Get On the List.

Say Morning Honey! Sign up here.

More Stories

Opt-out of personalized ads

© Copyright 2024 MORNING HONEY™️. A DIVISION OF MYSTIFY ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK INC. MORNING HONEY is a registered trademark. All rights reserved. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and Cookies Policy. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services. Offers may be subject to change without notice.