Great Grilling and Barbecue Cookbooks
By Roxanne Webber
Cooking outside is one of the best things about summer. But it’s easy to get bogged down with a few tried-and-true techniques and dishes. Whether you want to sharpen your skills or find new recipes, here are some cookbooks that can help.
1. The Barbecue! Bible by Steven Raichlen. If you have yet to master the grill, you’ll want to start with the basics. Raichlen’s volume is a classic go-to choice: Its 10th anniversary edition was released this year. Other solid starter books are The Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue and Weber’s Big Book of Grilling.
2. Pizza on the Grill: 100 Feisty Fire-Roasted Recipes for Pizza & More by Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer. The tasty-looking cover photo says it all. Pizza on the Grill presents masterful instructions for cooking pizza using gas or charcoal, plus a bunch of recipe ideas, from the classics to the “marvelous and meatless” (blistered corn, asparagus, and pesto) to dessert pies like grilled fig and Stilton.
3. Smoke & Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. This James Beard–winning classic teaches low- and slow-smoke cooking. If you want to learn traditional barbecue, this is the book to pick up.
4. Grill Pan Cookbook: Great Recipes for Stovetop Grilling by Jamée Ruth. If you don’t have a barbecue, you can fake it with a grill pan, then consult this book for its simple recipes. Though this handy tool can’t impart the same smoky flavor as an outdoor grill, it holds its own.
5. Peace, Love, and Barbecue: Recipes, Secrets, Tall Tales, and Outright Lies from the Legends of Barbecue by Mike Mills and Amy Mills Tunnicliffe. This lovely book is fun to read. Part coffee-table tome—with photos and anecdotes about ’cue from Grand World Champion pitmaster Mike Mills and his ilk—and part cookbook, it offers a backstage look into American barbecue culture.
6. The Farmer and the Grill: A Guide to Grilling, Barbecuing and Spit-Roasting Grassfed Meat by Shannon Hayes. Even though it’s thin, this book is packed with information about grilling pasture-raised beef, lamb, pork, and poultry. Each section includes recipes (maple-bourbon barbecued ham, rotisseried leg of lamb stuffed with apricots and cherries) as well as tips for handling and selecting grass-fed meat for the grill.
7. The New Vegetarian Grill: 250 Flame-Kissed Recipes for Fresh, Inspired Meals by Andrea Chesman. It would have been nice to have had more photography in this cookbook, but Chesman makes up for the lack of images by packing this revised edition with recipes like lentil-stuffed pita pockets with grilled onions, vegetarian fajitas, and a spicy grill-wok stir-fry. The book also covers grilling vegetables and desserts.
8. Asian Grilling: 85 Satay, Kebabs, Skewers and Other Asian-Inspired Recipes for Your Barbecue by Su-Mei Yu. If you want to make Asian food on your grill, this is a fine primer. You’ll find recipes for favorites like bulgogi, satay, and yakitori, as well as some interesting ideas like Japanese salt-grilled tuna. The section called “Wrapped and Grilled” includes such lures as marinated catfish grilled in banana leaves, and the book also delivers recipes for noodles, sauces, and condiments.
9. Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook: Recipes and Recollections from the Pit Bosses by Robb Walsh. Walsh takes you through the Lone Star State’s different styles of barbecue, from giant open-pit beef roasts to the German- and Czech-influenced smoked pork from central Texas. You’ll get 85 recipes, tons of cool old photos, and plenty of history and barbecue lore.
10. Jerk from Jamaica: Barbecue Caribbean Style by Helen Willinsky. This colorful cookbook about Jamaican-style barbecue includes recipes for jerk rub and marinade, barbecued ribs and chicken, and sides like gungo peas and rice. Not all are exclusively for the grill, but the book can help introduce some new flavors to your barbecue. Plus, the tropical drinks (mango-peach daiquiris, tamarind-ade, Jamaican ginger beer) sound especially nice for the patio—just add paper umbrellas.