Bacon Wrapped Medjool Dates

How to Grill Cookbook?

A merica loves to grill. We adore the ease and speed, the dancing flames, and the fact that it's usually an outdoor sport. And even though we've had our fill of franks and burgers, charred steaks, and sticky barbecue-sauced chicken, we still continue to look for new dishes and new ways to grill. With that in mind, we've thumbed through stacks of grilling cookbooks, seeking ones that are true bibles on the subject. We looked for books that embody certain qualities: They should be instructive, easy to comprehend, full of mouth-watering recipes, and jammed with tips for the amateur and the grill master. Lush photography is also a big plus. These BBQ books have earned their place in our kitchens and backyards.


by Steven Raichlen (Workman)
Recipe to try: Memphis-Style Ribs

Was it really more than ten years ago that we first opened Steven Raichlen's book on round-the-world grilling? That we first heeded his "Ten Commandments of Perfect Grilling" ("Turn, don't stab"; "Never desert your post"), learned to make "killer grill marks, " and discovered that we could actually grill salads and even desserts? Raichlen spent the intervening years revising his tome to address new equipment and culinary trends with updated recipes and more color photos. But what really makes this book stand out is the Grilling Basics FAQs, in which he answers questions ranging from entry level (What's the difference between grilling and barbecuing?) to more advanced (The last few times I've cooked brisket, it's come out unpleasantly smoky. What am I doing wrong?) and specialized (How do I go about entering a barbecue contest?). At the end of the day, this is the book we reach for when we want to know how to light a fire or how to make our own sausages, whether it's Balkan cevapcici or Spanish chorizos. Enthusiastic, curious, and totally in love with his subject, Raichlen makes us feel the same.—I.S.


by Elizabeth Karmel (Wiley)
Recipe to try: Classic Nantucket-Style Grilled Fish Steaks

Elizabeth Karmel's recipes probably aren't any easier than those in other books, but her presentation makes us think, "I can do that!" The self-taught North Carolinian shares her knowledge, starting with the choice of coals or gas and going all the way to showy and delicious creations like grilled pizza and fire-roasted paella. Don't want overcooked burgers? Bury an ice cube in the patty. Afraid your fish will break and fall apart? Make sure the grate is clean, preheat the grill, and don't turn the fish too soon. Grilling shrimp? Double-skewer them using her Ladder Method so they're easier to flip. Full of practical tips like these, this book is a godsend for novices and is just as useful for the intermediate griller in search of more interesting and ambitious recipes as well as advice.—I.S


by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby (Morrow)
Recipe to try: Grilled Basque Wings

Feeling pretty confident at the grill? It's time to check out The Thrill of the Grill, Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby's personal and anecdotal take on open-fire outdoor cooking. Innovative and highly spiced, the food is inspired by what Schlesinger calls "equatorial cuisine." Recipes from the Caribbean and Southeast Asia are balanced by down-home American ones such as The Only Real Barbecue Sandwich and Barbecued Bologna. Sometimes surprising with its mix of ingredients (Grilled Expensive Mushrooms on Texas Toast) and never boring in flavor or in prose, this is the book to have when you're ready to try something new and agree with Schlesinger's philosophy: "It's the cooking, not just the eating, that is to be enjoyed."—I.S.


by Cheryl and Bill Jamison
(Harvard Common Press)
Recipe to try: Sugar-and-Spice Brined Salmon

Unlike the fast and furious high-heat game of grilling, barbecue is slow and steady. And when you're ready to graduate, as Cheryl and Bill Jamison describe it, from grilling to barbecuing, you'll move up to complex, history-rich "bragging food, " for which there's no better guide than their book. They lead us beyond ribs and pulled pork and show us how to smoke everything from trout to turkey legs, rabbit to shrimp. The Jamisons' running commentary and sidebars (need a name for your cook-off team? check out first), practical and time-tested advice (turnips and broccoli aren't good for smoking), and recipes (Barbecue Spaghetti, Southwestern Cabrito) all unveil the mystery of this most American of cooking styles, whether we practice it religiously or only on the occasional weekend.—I.S


by Bobby Flay (Hyperion)

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