New Books for the Outdoor Cooker
By John Pecoraro, Assistant Director
Summertime is right around the corner. Time to get out of the house and fire up the Weber, because this is the start of the grilling season.
In 2016, sales of grills and barbecues in the U.S. topped 1.47 billion dollars. Over 79 million Americans have grilled out at least once during the past year. While the majority of grill owners (63%) use their grills or smokers all year, summer is the season that most comes to mind with the word cookout.
The library has dozens of cookbooks about the art of grilling and barbecuing, but I’d like to highlight some of the newest additions to the collection.
When you think barbecue, you usually think meat. Well, think again. “VBQ: the Ultimate Vegan Barbecue Cookbook,” by Nadine Horn and Jörge Mayer, includes over 80 recipes for grilling without meat. Concise instructions and plentiful photographs present such delights as eggplant gyros with tahini and yogurt sauce, and grilled butternut squash tacos topped with a cashew queso. One drawback to this book by German food bloggers is their mixed use of metric and U.S. measurements.
Weber has been a recognized name in barbecue grills and barbecue cookbooks since 1952. “Weber’s Greatest Hits,” by Jamie Purviance presents the best from the Weber Company archives. Arranged in course and ingredient based chapters, each recipe is accompanied by a full-page color photo. Recipes range from the unexpected, such as a grilled peach and blue cheese bruschetta, to the expected. There are recipes for three types of hot dogs, six burgers, and numerous steaks. This title is also available as a downloadable eBook from Hoopla.
For chef and food writer Matt Moore, pork butt is the cornerstone of good barbecue. In “The South’s Best Butts: Pitmaster Secrets for Southern Barbecue Perfection,” Moore collects stories and recipes from acclaimed barbecue joints throughout the South. Moore is the reader’s guide and mentor, explaining the proper use of ingredients and demonstrating the most effective smoking techniques. While the pork is smoking, Moore offers recipes for fantastic sides and appetizers, such as dry-rubbed smoked chicken wings, grilled potato salad, jalapeño creamed corn, and beer-batter fried pickles.
Self-professed weekend griller, Paula Disbrowe, presents a collection of recipes from the Food 52 website (https://food52.com/) in “Food 52 for Any Night Grilling: 60 Ways to Fire up a Dinner (and more).” Disbrowe avoids lengthy marinades and low-and-slow cook times, favoring quicker methods so that the simple pleasures of a grilled meal can be enjoyed any night of the week. Using the author’s uncomplicated instructions, grillers of all skill levels will be able to prepare dishes such as crackly rosemary flatbread, porchetta-style pork kebabs, and sweet and smoky drumsticks.
“How to Grill Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Flame-Cooked Food,” by Mark Bittman contains a whopping 1,000 recipes without overwhelming the reader. Instead Bittman concentrates on variations of main ingredients, such as chicken breast (salt-and-pepper boneless chicken, crunchy breaded cutlets, and lemon chicken scaloppini with asparagus and feta) and steak (stuffed flank, and carne asada tacos). Bittman’s book explores the infinite possibilities of grilling, with recipes for every part of the meal from appetizers, through main courses (including vegetarian main courses), to desserts.
“Praise the Lard: Recipes and Revelations from a Legendary Life in Barbecue,” by Mike Mills and Amy Mills is a book of recipes and wisdom from the country’s foremost pitmaster. Mike, “The Legend,” is a barbecue Hall-of-Famer and four time barbecue world champion. Amy, his daughter, runs the barbecue consultancy, OnCue (http://17bbq.com/oncue-consulting/). Their book includes nearly 100 recipes from the family archives, such as Ain’t No Thang but a Chicken Wing, Pork Belly Bites, and Prime Rib on the Pit. Mike and Amy offer advice on achieving barbecue excellence at home, revealing a trilogy of secrets: right wood, right smoking, and right timing. This title is also available as a downloadable eBook from Hoopla.
“Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades – Bastes, Butters, and Glazes, Too,” by Steven Raichlen is available as a downloadable eBook from Hoopla. This is a revision of Raichlen’s bestselling encyclopedia of the flavor-boosters giving grilled food its character, personality and depth. In its pages you’ll find an international selection of flavors, such as Mexican, Cajun, Jamaican, Italian, and of course America’s own.
Whether you’re an expert grill master or a novice in the ways of the flame, the library has the barbecue books you’re looking for in both print and digital formats.