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Barbecue and Grill Summer Reads

Barbecue Buddies and Pithy Bits from the Pits

It’s the season when guys around the country strap on aprons, roll up their shirt sleeves and get down and dirty in backyards over their grills. No food is more American or more quintessentially summer than barbecue. We’ve rounded up the latest publishing efforts from old school ‘cue legends like Mike Mills to young celeb chefs like Bobby Flay to compare what they’ve got to say about the pits.



Peace, Love, and Barbecue

Mike “The Legend” Mills eats barbecue wherever he travels, a habit that paid off for Peace, Love, and Barbecue: Recipes, Secrets, Tall Tales (Rodale Books, 2005). Mills went around the entire country chatting with fellow pitmasters about their shared passion for succulent smoky meat to cook up this part memoir, part travelogue with recipes. Written in a chatty, stick-to-your ribs tone, Peace, Love, and Barbecue illuminates how ‘cue is a way of life that Mills says “soothes the soul” for Americans all over. It’s not so much mouthwatering for its recipes (although it does include brilliant dry rubs, juicy marinades and all manner of regional ‘cue preparations), but it does make us hungry for the road and the barbecue spots great and small that stud our nation. It’s a fine book, this down-home homage to Mills’ barbecue buddies and good eats.



Weber's Real Grilling

Co-authored by the biggest name in grilling, Weber's Real Grilling (Sunset Publishing, 2005) tells "the story of how we Americans grill today.” Jamie Purveillance's latest effort is best summed up in two words: extremely useful. Every delicious, straight-forward item in this book makes use of ingredients, Purveillance says, you can find in any well-stocked supermarket. If you’re already a pro, just skip the illustrated explanations on how to pick a grill, cut a whole chicken or make your fish fillets not stick to the grill and move on to the 200 recipes like lamb burgers, pizza, Bourbon-barbecued steaks, scallop kebabs and Mexican chicken thighs.



Mastering Barbecue

If you buy your cookbooks for the pictures, then save your money. But if you’re interested in a no-frills barbecue book that passes along numerous recipes and solid information, then check out Mastering Barbecue (Ten Speed Press, 2005) by Michael H. Stines. A journalist and chef, Stines knows how to talk to the beginner cook and entice the more-experienced barbecue lover. You'll encounter useful information, such as ways to gauge the temperature of your grill and the difference between nine types of chiles. The recipes are not labor-intensive; mostly you mix ingredients together and then get grilling. But watch for the mentions of brands that can’t be found at regular grocery stores. Even our Tennessean hadn’t heard of the Tennessee Gourmet products that showed up in seven recipes over six pages.



Bobby Flay's Grilling For Life: 75 Healthier Ideas for Big Flavor from the Fire

The boy goes low-carb with classic Flay recipes in his follow-up to Boy Gets Grill. If Flay is your man and you grill indoors, this is for you.


Get Grilling

The staff of the Food Network shares “Recipes, Tips, And Techniques For Terrific Food And Big Fun In The Great Outdoors.” It’s indeed fun, festive and beautifully illustrated.


Taming the Flame: Secrets for Hot-and-Quick Grilling and Low-and-Slow BBQ

The lone female effort in our macho compendium is an encyclopedic look at the grill by the creator of "Girls at the Grill," Elizabeth Karmel.


The Cook's Illustrated Guide To Grilling And Barbecue: A Practical Guide for the Outdoor Cook

Another oversized, encyclopedic roadmap to the grill with 300 step-by-step illustrations for standard classics.

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