Two weeks ago, I was in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, heading to the Brooklyn Brewery for a cookbook release party for Myron Mixon—the judge of TLC’s BBQ Pitmaster.

It was steamy—temperatures were in the 90s—and a malfunctioning engine brought the L line subway to a halt. I knew the party would feature quality meat—just out of the smoker—and I was not going to miss it. I took the M train, walked (and cabbed it)—but finally arrived at the brewery, redolent with by the smoke and aroma of pork and beef.

I grabbed a cold pint of lager, a plate, and headed to the buffet line, where rows of babybacks, meat tumbling from the bone, greeted me. I moved on to the beef brisket, then the cole slaw and baked beans (with slices of stewed apples). I topped it off with some vinegar sauce and a soft roll.

I took the first bite of the ribs and realized—it was the first week of June and I had not yet fired up my grill!

No worries—there is never a shortage of grilling and barbecue books. Ballantine just came out with Myron’s cookbook, Smokin’ with Myron Mixon, where he divulges the secret to his ribs (Myron wears a Superbowl-size, barbecue championship ring). His recipes, say, for ribs, are exact, if not multi-stepped. There’s the marinade (with ginger ale, orange juice, soy sauce), the rub (brown sugar, chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder), the hog glaze (apple jelly and vinegar sauce), and the spritz, with imitation butter to keep the meat moist. It’s worth a try—it’s won him awards.

Changing it up a bit, I picked up a copy of Latin Grilling by Lourdes Castro (Ten Speed), and found a pretty great recipe for a Yucatecan Barbecue (Castro ranges from Mexico, to Cuba, Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina, and then some). It’s an achiote-marinated chicken wrapped in banana leaves. For a side, there’s a crunchy jicama and lime salad—and she recommends washing it all down with an ice-cold beer cocktail, made with hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and lime.

Traveling to down under, Aussie cookout chef Pete Evans’ My Grill offers recipes perfect for that cabin in the woods, or the house on a secluded shore (Weldon Owen). Seems like wherever he is, there’s a barbie within arm’s reach. For breakfast he grills chorizo, bell peppers and tomatoes, tosses them in a skillet with eggs and shredded manchego cheese, then places the skillet on an open fire. The day has just begun.

For the grilling basics—turn to Fire It Up (Chronicle) by Andrew Scholls and David Joachim. From snapper to elk, the authors offer useful grilling charts for all.