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Friday, June 30, 2006

In the Heat of the Night

Well, it's that time of the year when people who don't know squat about bbq (or the difference between barbecuing and grilling) publish their uninformed 'best of' lists. With the recent deluge of bbq/grilling cookbooks these lists are all the rage.

The list below was in USA Dr. BBQ's second book is on the list, which is cool-- BBQ All Year Long tries to take bbq beyond the classic "chicken 'n' ribs" image to show that it can fit into a variety of meal settings. Cool.

However-- that demon-woman Sandra Lee with her semi-homemade yuckiness and nonsense is on the list, so how seriously can we be expected to take this?

You go, grill: 5 books to help with the 4th
Updated 6/29/2006 11:19 PM ET
By Lynne Perri, USA TODAY

The latest grilling cookbooks dish up a wide range of marinades, rubs and sauces for meat, poultry, fish, fruit and vegetables. They all take time, but you should have plenty of that this Fourth of July weekend before you start the fire. Best advice from several of them? Make more than you need so you can pack sandwiches for lunch or make an easy salad with leftovers. USA TODAY highlights some of the best newcomers.

Barbecues & Grilling
by Anthony Worrall Thompson & Jane Suthering
Kyle Books, 159 pp., $29.95

In brief: One of Britain's best-selling authors, Thompson brings his love of grilling to fruition with this oversized collection of 150 recipes enhanced by beautiful food photos. The book also contains a host of salsa recipes, salads and appetizers. One of his many creative ideas: Oriental Pork and Pineapple Kabobs, which combines a few ingredients over pork tenderloin that marinates three to four hours before grilling for only 10 minutes.

The authors: Thompson is featured on Saturday Kitchen and Ready, Steady, Cook in Britain, owns four restaurants in the UK, and is a best-selling author. Suthering is a food writer, consultant, stylist and author.

Dr. BBQ's All Year Long Barbecue Cookbook
by Ray Lampe
St. Martin's Griffin, 308 pp., $17.95

In brief: The title refers to the many recipes that don't require the grill (but some that still take all day, such as gumbo). And the book is designed seasonally so that you can grill anytime during the year with confidence. Lampe is a passionate, down-home cook who tries to mix chef's advice with humor (his list of where not to picnic includes cemeteries, landfills, private property). Get past some of his stories, and you'll be entertained by what he's best at: food. Like many who enjoy cooking out, he does more than just meat, too. His Grilled Fruit Kabobs with an easy overnight marinade will win over guests.

The author: Lampe is a barbecue champion, having won competitions in New York, Florida and Minnesota. He's author of Dr. BBQ's Big-Time Barbecue Cookbook.

Raichlen on Ribs, Ribs, Ribs
Workman Publishing, 298 pp., $12.95

In brief: Steven Raichlen, the man Esquire has dubbed "America's master griller," has created the ultimate guide to ribs with this cookbook. Charcoal vs. gas, direct vs. indirect heat, and smoking vs. pit roasting are covered. The recipes are good and the directions clear, but what you'll have to watch is your time, for the shopping, the rubs and the sauces. The marinades sometimes require hours or even an overnight in the refrigerator. The results, though, are delicious: First-timer's Ribs — pork baby back — take an afternoon to make, but the lemon and brown sugar barbecue sauce is so good that it probably will become a household fixture.

The author: Raichlen started with The Barbecue Bible, which chronicled his look at grilling around the world, and led to a series of acclaimed books on the subject. He also is host of PBS' Barbecue University.

Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Grilling
Meredith Books, 239 pp., $19.95

In brief: This is yet another in Lee's arsenal of good ideas. She combines ready-made or pre-washed and packaged products with meats and fish to make the cooking go faster in these easy recipes. The catch is, again, time. North Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches, for example, only take about 25 minutes to prepare — but need four hours on the grill. To her credit, Lee provides indoor methods for the recipes, and many take much less time, such as Thai Town New York Strip. Her sauces are fun — lemon-lime soda, steak seasoning and vinegar, for example, in those pork sandwiches.

The author: Lee has a signature approach to cooking and home decorating, with a variety of books and magazines to her credit. Plus, she has a show on the Food Network. Her philosophy is 70/30 — 70% store-bought and 30% homemade or creative touches.

Weekend Grilling with the BBQ Queens
by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig
Harvard Common Press, 242 pp., $14.95

In brief: Yes, you can grill on weeknights after you get home from work. The authors believe in cooking more than you'll need so you always have another night's meal at the ready. And the leftover ideas are creative, such as the Grilled Pork Tenderloin Salad with Steamed Baby New Potatoes and Anchovy Vinaigrette — all made from grilled pork tenderloin you prepare a night or two, or even two or three weeks, in advance and freeze. (They have tips on this, too.)

The authors: Adler and Fertig e-mail each other as Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz, which demonstrates how much they try to have fun in their writing and their recipes. They wrote The BBQ Queens' Big Book of Barbecue in 2005 and have appeared on the Food Network, PBS and local radio stations.

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