The Cook's Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue

Cook's Illustrated Magazine, Editor
Cook's Illustrated Magazine, Editor . America's Test Kitchen $35 (432p) ISBN 978-0-936184-86-9
Reviewed on: 05/23/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
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This hefty volume features a didactic tone that corresponds to the mission of the magazine of the same name, bringing scientific scrutiny and rigorous testing to home cooking with extremely detailed recipes and illustrations. With chapters on major ingredients and accompaniments—beef, pizza, vegetables, rubs, etc.—the book illustrates such tasks as recreating Texas-Style Barbecued Beef Ribs at home (hint: don't use bony scraps), grilling a whole turkey (small turkeys work best) and preparing lobsters for grilling (split them in half lengthwise). The editors distinguish between grilling (which uses fast, direct heat) and BBQ (slow, indirect heat); weigh in on the virtues and shortcomings of gas and charcoal grilling; and address other puzzling grill-related issues. They warn readers that grilling and barbecuing are fraught with potential problems, and the book, while well researched, tends toward the negative (e.g., "If you slice meat straight from the grill, say goodbye to its juicy flavor.... There's nothing you can do now, but next time take this precaution"). Yet this approach is ideal for those who are nervous about outdoor cooking and want to know what to expect. For fans of Alton Brown–style minutiae, this is a prime resource. (June)

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