Paperback: 556 pages
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; 2 New Anv edition (May 28, 2008)
Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.2 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (354 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #7,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #12 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Outdoor Cooking > Barbecuing & Grilling
I want to get one thing out of the way right now: there is something odd about the Barbecue Bible franchise that has never quite sat right with me, and I've never been able to put my finger on exactly what it is. After seeing Raichlen's rise over the last ten years to become one of the US culinary scene's grilling gurus, I guess I was just flat out wrong. The Barbecue Bible is actually a pretty awesome book -- a whirlwind guide to live fire styles from around the world, all adapted as much as possible for the American kitchen. Like many successful franchises from the Edison light bulb to the iPod, Raichlen provides an end-to-end solution for barbecuing -- not just meat and seafood, but vegetables and breads that can be cooked on the grill, a huge selection of sauces and marinades, and even beverages and desserts. Though its layout is rather loud, the recipes combine with Raichlen's stories and technique articles to make a worthwhile purchase for anyone who spends a fair amount of time next to a grill.Which brings me to the problems with the new edition. The 2nd edition has added significant amounts of color photography and how-to diagrams, drawing on Raichlen's 2001 How to Grill for stylistic inspiration. If you're a new griller, this will be a welcome improvement. However, if you've been buying Raichlen's books since the beginning, the revision presents a problem: if you already have the first edition, you probably don't need to bother with this one.
Steven Raichlen may be to gas grilling what Julia Childs was to French cookery, minus the iconic status. He'd done a lot to make grilling techniques approachable and has traveled the word for recipes and inspiration. But how useful you find this book depends upon your source of heat and method of cooking. Barbecue Bible is rich in information about cooking with gas but less so with charcoal and wood. Want to know the difference between charcoal briquettes (uniform size, consistent burn, more ash) and hardwood charcoal (irregular size, higher heat, less ash, great when searing is required)? You won't find it here. Nor will you find any information on types of smokers. Perhaps that isn't surprising: Raichlen is trying to make recipes from around the world accessible and cooking with charcoal and wood or using a smoker requires more of a learning curve -- for the latter I'd suggest a book such as Paul Kirk's Championship Barbecue.In his sweet spot of accessible grilling and barbecuing, Raichlen hits a home run. Among the qualities of his book that I enjoy:(1) A good primer on grilling and barbecuing, explaining the difference and key concepts such as direct versus indirect cooking.(2) Excellent photography that goes beyond sexy food shots (though there are some of those too). Photos are used to show HOW to execute key concepts, showing for example how to spatchcock (remove the backbone and butterfly) a chicken or how to fillet a whole fish.(3) The layout is very well done , with recipes shown clearly, key tips and notes set out on lime green rectangles and a pleasing mix of text, graphics and photos.
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