The Barbecue Bible

25 07 2008

The postman knocked on my door the other day and handed me a package from Amazon.com.  Wierd, I didn’t order anything, but it had my name on it, so I opened.  Inside were two books I had been wanting to get.  The Barbecue Bible and Barbecue Bible: Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades.  Once I saw the books, I knew exactly how they got to my doorstep.  My girlfriend ordered them for our anniversary which is coming up in a few weeks.  I think I had only mentioned once or twice that I wanted The Barbecue Bible, so it actually surprised me a little bit that she remembered. 

Whenever we go to a bookstore or Williams-Sonoma, I’ll usually pick up the newest Bobby Flay cookbook.  She’s always gets on me to buy one, but buying a cookbook from a Food Network chef is stupid. All the recipes are already on-line at FoodNetwork.com.  There’s no way I’m going to lay down $35 for something I can get for free.  I’ll just browse through the books i the store and find something I like then go home and print it out.

The Barbecue Bible by BBQ Expert Steven Raichlen

The Barbecue Bible by BBQ Expert Steven Raichlen

The Barbecue Bible is different.  Here’s a book of over 500 recipes put together by Steven Raichlen.  I love Raichlen show BBQ U which airs on PBS stations around the country.  I finally found a local airing her in Lansing on WKAR Create (Ch. 18 on Comcast cable) at 8:30 AM (it alternates days with Raichlen’s other show Primal Grill which I don’t think is as good).  The recipes are broken down by section starting with Warm-ups, then going to salads, breads, beef, pork, lamb, burgers and sausages, poultry, fish, shell fish, vegetarian, vegetables, rice and beans, side dishes, sauces, rubs, and desserts.

The interesting thing about this book is it’s a BBQ culinary tour of the world.  The recipes span the continents and are not as simple as throwing a rub on a rack of ribs and throwing them on the grill.  There’s a lot of asian and indian flavors on everything.  There’s also a lot of interesting ideas for grilled bread and veggies.

Barbecue Bible companion book Rubs, Marinades and Sauces, Bastes, Butters, and Glazes

Barbecue Bible companion book Rubs, Marinades and Sauces, Bastes, Butters, and Glazes

I love spice rubs.  I’m not much of a marinater, but I put spice rubs on just about everything.  The Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades book has hundreds of ideas for injecting flavor into meat.  We eat a lot of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in our house.  Chicken breasts really don’t have any flavor, so I like to play around with my spice cabinet.  Last night I used a cajun rub that turned out delicious.  Another idea I’ve never thought of that I also did last night was hickory smoked salt.  The book said this is delicious on popcorn and I’m planning on trying that tonight while I’m watching Halloween. 

There are so many receipes for Barbecue sauces from around the world, I don’t know where to start.  For the most part, I’m a Memphis BBQ sauce guy.  When I do ribs, I’ll go with more a mop sauce, but for everyday use, it’s a sweet, tangy, thin sauce.  I’ve got about three recipes I like for different applications that I use on a constant basis.  I’ve also got a couple thick ones for things like BBQ chicken, but I’ve never done much experimenting.  This book gives hundreds of ideas for branching out and incorporating flavors I never would have thought of into a sauce.

The neat thing about both books is in the first few chapters.  Raichlen takes you through, step-by-step of the how’s and why’s of barbecuing.  He explains how to set up and light both gas and charcoal grills, gives you the pros and cons of the different types of fuels and explains two and three zone grilling.  He also gets into the art of smoking and explains why it’s almost impossible to do so with a gas grill.  I spent the first hour just reading these parts of the books hoping to improve my skills as a grillmaster.

Isn’t it great when you connect with someone so much that she can almost read your mind?  Best year ever!

For those of you who don’t know Steven Raichlen, here’s a clip of the new show Primal Grill

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2 responses

31 07 2008
Bethany

I’m borrowing the Barbeque Bible from a co-worker right now! While I have to admit we haven’t tried more than one recipe yet, I have really enjoyed browsing through it.

31 07 2008
Mid-Michigan Dining

I’ve used a number of the rubs and tried a few of the bread recipes. There’s a lot of Asian flavors in the book which I’m not a huge fan of, but it’s giving me ideas to modify some of these and make something I would like instead.

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