Along with the summer season should
come bold, vibrant flavors from the
indoor kitchen and outdoor grill.
Need some help with your barbecue techniques
or interesting recipes to get motivated?
Here are some great cookbooks to
It takes balls to
call your book Serious
$35), as though every
barbecue book that
came before was
mere fiery foreplay.
But dig into Adam
Perry Lang’s barbecue
bible, and you’ll
discover that he really
is serious about barbecue. So serious, in
fact, that Mario Batali calls him “my hero
and go-to brother for meat and fire.” Jamie
Oliver says, “Adam is the most inspiring
barbecue chef in the world.” That’s high
praise from some heavy hitters.
In Serious Barbecue, Lang promises to teach readers how to “smoke, char, baste, and brush your way to great outdoor cooking.” He delivers on that promise in spades. The first section of Serious Barbecue alone is worth the price of the book. It’s an in-depth introduction to barbecue basics: tools and cooking vessels, temperature control and maintenance, types of charcoal and wood and how to use them, brining and seasoning prior to cooking and much more, including the “Twelve Myths about Barbecue.” For example, meat that’s falling off the bone is not a good thing. The recipes in Serious Barbecue tend to be complex and multi-staged. But hey, you can’t argue with the results. Family members at a recent barbecue where I cooked Lang’s glazed pork loin with apricot glaze and garlic were bowled over by it. And his “butter-bombed” Porterhouse will make your head spin.
If you’re really
serious about barbecue,
Adam Perry Lang’s
book, you’ll also want
and Seasoned: A
Complete Guide to
Flavoring Food for the
Grill (Wiley, $19.95)
by Elizabeth Karmel. Marinades, brines,
sauces, glazes, mops, salsas, relishes,
rubs, jellies, vinaigrettes, spice blends,
compound butters, tapenades, pestos and
dipping sauces—they’re all here, along
with what to do with them on the grill.
The only problem might be keeping your
lips off the goodies before they’re cooked;
it’s hard not to want to guzzle Karmel’s
Cabernet and fresh rosemary mop before
it even makes it onto the meat!
But who says
to be all about
Chesman. In The
$16.95), she delivers
for inspired, flavorsome
meatless meals from the grill.
Packed full of delicious recipes like those
for basic grilled artichokes and grilled
corn on the cob, along with more complex
dishes like Jamaican-style jerk vegetables,
grilled ratatouille, or North African
grilled chakchouka, Andrea Chesman
provides a tasty argument for trying your
hand at vegetarian grilling. Her blackbean-mushroom burger is certainly convincing.
OK, so maybe
to you doesn’t
firing up the outdoor
grill or dealing
brines and marinades.
you just want
help. Founder of New York City’s famed
Gramercy Tavern and head judge on
Bravo’s Top Chef, Colicchio can cook up
a storm. But in ’wichcraft (Potter, $27.50),
Colicchio turns his attention to sandwiches:
“crafting sandwiches into meals
and meals into sandwiches.” ’wichcraft is
divvied up into sandwich types: breakfast
sandwiches, cool sandwiches, warm
sandwiches and sweet sandwiches. You
might choose to begin the day with an
onion frittata breakfast sandwich, followed
for lunch by a “cool” Boucheron
cheese sandwich with grapefruit and
crispy olives. Dinnertime could warrant
a fried squid po-boy with avocado and
black chile oil before digging into a dessert
peanut-butter-cream ’wich. Perhaps
not so surprising—since Colicchio always
gets maximum flavor from great ingredients—
the best sandwich in the whole
book might be his simplest: Gruyere with
caramelized onions on rye. Just say “no”
and Cochon restaurants
Donald Link knows
inside-out. In Real
Cajun (Potter, $35),
he shares his vast
knowledge of and
enthusiasm for rustic Louisiana cooking
with us. If Real Cajun offered nothing more
than Link’s bodacious boudin recipe, it
would be enough. But there’s also “old-school”
chicken and sausage jambalaya
(the best I’ve ever eaten), oyster stew with
smoked bacon, fried chicken livers with hot
pepper glaze, grilled redfish, spicy shrimp
Creole and a swampful of more authentic
Cajun recipes to help season your summer
with spicy goodness.
The name Alex
sound very Asian.
But the Bangkokbased
author of The
Asian Barbecue Book
(Tuttle, $29.95) has a
firm grasp on Asian
flavors and they
through with virtually
every recipe in
his fine cookbook.
As with most barbecue
books, The Asian Barbecue Book includes a hefty introduction to barbecue tools and techniques, as well as a useful guide to essential Asian ingredients and indispensible chapters on Asian spice pastes, glazes, sauces, dips, sambals, butters, chutneys, marinades, rubs and stuffings. From satays and tandoori to Asian-spiced burgers, in Skaria’s book, bright flavors just jump off the page. Especially provocative is his Thai version of beer-can barbecue chicken, in which a hollowed-out coconut filled with coconut water serves to support, steam and flavor the chicken.
And while we’re discussing bold Asian flavors, I wouldn’t want to overlook Raghavan Iyer’s def initive statement on Indian curry: 660 Curries (Workman, $22.95). To research this ultimate guide to curry, Iyer travelled the length and breadth of India, from north to south and east to west, knocking on doors of friends and total strangers alike in order to track down the multitude of curry recipes that populate this big book. Along the way, he discovered family recipes for succulent and opulent curries, assertive and regal ones, fusion and coastal curries and more—many, many more. If you love curry, how could you not love 660 Curries?