44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2003
Just write BBQ USA! Raichlen traveled the WORLD in search of BBQ recipes (over 500!) in The Barbecue Bible. I graduated from burgers, steaks and grilled chicken breasts to Tandoori Chicken, Thai, and how to grill a whole fish ifrom the 556 pages!
So, again, how do you top the definitive work on open fire cooking? BBQ USA! 774 PAGES of over 425 recipes from all over the US, INCLUDING THE comprehensive history of BBQ in the US thanks to KC Masterpiece originator, Dr. Rich Davis. There are pages and pages of biographical info on BBQ icons and institutions in the United States and even one recipe from Canada! And more pictures.
I personally feel that even as a novice, you actually could pick up this huge volume and begin almost anywhere, any recipe and be successful. The book covers the basics in the beginning chapter. Choosing and using grills and accessories and even includes basic and more advanced techniques to grilling. You'll probably see someone disagree with that statement. I defy the naysayers to name a better bbq book WRITER. Raichlen may not be in front of PBS, or Food network cameras as much as Hirsch, Flay, et al. Steven Raichlen just writes the most comprehensive books on BBQ anywhere!
I must also mention a trend I've noticed in some other cookbook writers (some very well known) that are releasing cookbooks that rearrange recipes from their previous books and call them new and sell them based on their well known names. I looked through the indexes of BBQ Bible and compared it to BBQ USA. There are no or none that I could find repeats that appear in both books.
One other thing we as Americans can be proud of is our BBQ!
God Bless our Troops
I enjoyed this book, not only for the great food recipes but the great stories and history presented. If I were stuck on a deserted island with just my Weber and Raichlen's books on BBQ, I wouldn't want to be rescued.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Want more out of BBQ? This is surefire one stop source! 774 pages of BBQ source that is, with info and recipes and techniques and history, with all the regional tricks and traditions covered, explained and recipes provided.
There is grillin under bricks, on a rotisserie, in a pit, smoked, and rubbed and pulled and flamed seared, with hog or beef or oysters,corn, beans, even meatloaf. Then there's brats and burgers and every fixin that goes so well with these.
They're all here. This is truly a source for them all. One doesn't have to travel all over to discover them, just pick and choose on a BBQ journey around the country cooking through this one. Or if you desire to visit a site or region, this even provides the places and addresses to find personally.
I like to try different stuff that I've never had before, so for me thus far I've tried: "Alabam BBQ Chickens with White BBQ Sauce." Who has ever heard of WhiteBBQ? But this is soo good! The horseradish, vinegar sauce is a hit, a triple at least! Also into the ribs, so a marinated in apple cider, with a "Magic Dust" rub really caught my eye and mouth, and you've just got to try the "Apple City Championship Ribs". And finally, a Tuna "London Broil" with Wasabi Cream Sauce. This is fantastic dish with a dry rub, and the contrasty taste of seared tuna with cream sauce is rich and superb, even for squeamish sushi avoiders. And what BBQ is there without dessert, say "Smoked Alaska." This is a treat, not as hard as one would think.
This is such a thorough book it will take many years of grilling to explore all its varieties and offerings, but many of us will and should! There is outstanding bibliography and sources. Join in the fun!
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2003
"BBQ U.S.A." is an interesting book, no question about it. It offers a lot of information on all aspects of BBQ'ing, smoking and grilling, and is chock full of historical tidbits, helpful hints and anecdotes. Where the book suffers is in the layout of the recipes. These are divided into categories such as birds, pork, beef etc. However, the recipe pages are so loaded with sidebars, photographs of various BBQ masters and anecdotal stories that it becomes more difficult than it should be to flip through a section to find a recipe you're looking for, or to compare recipes within a section. A less-cluttered recipe area would have been helpful, or at least a recipe index at the beginning of every chapter so one could quickly locate a recipe.
It's frustrating to see cookbook authors/book designers who fail to understand that the most important aspect of any cookbook is presenting the recipes in an easy-to-read typeface and format. Take a look at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's "Simple to Spectacular" to see how it should be done.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2005
Wow! What a piece of work this book is!
Upon first receiving this book I was slightly dismayed. I took a quick stroll through, observing the layout and I was less then impressed. That is - until I really sat down and started reading. There may not be pretty pictures of the dish results, nor are there pictures of how to prepare each dish step by step, what there is however, is a giant tome of BBQ greatness and a whole lot of history with each recipe.
I really enjoy this book because it's not just another recipe book. The book starts out by teaching you the history of American BBQ. There are epic pictures peppered throughout this book showing the real BBQ culture. Author Steve Raichlen shares some of his personal stories, like this story about a really tough salmon bake where he had to feed roughly 600 people... but how he did it is truly obscene - it's great!
Do you cook BBQ for breakfast? (not including camping trips)
Are you tired of the plain ol' burger, chicken and steak meals?
Do you enjoy BBQ so much that you want to start learning every single aspect of it?
Does your wife think you hate her cooking because you BBQ so much?
If you answered yes to the above questions then this book is for you.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2003
I very rarely read cookbooks from cover to cover, especially those the size of BBQ USA, but this is one I couldn't put down. A thorough mix of recipes, restaurants and BBQ lore this is more than a cookbook, it is a culinary history of America.
You may be wondering why you should buy this book, especially if you already own some of Raichlen's other books. (Barbecue Bible, How To Grill, etc.) This book has two advantages over his previous books.
First, this book is about barbecuing as much as it is about grilling. In his typical manner the author does cover techniques for how to grill just about any food that can hit the plate. This is interesting but I am just not sure that I need that many grilled dishes. Instead I like to work on the art form that is American BBQ - taking a worthless hunk of meat and through the judicious application of smoke and fire turning it into a scrumptious meal that will draw friends and neighbors to you backyard. This book finally has a good coverage of traditional American BBQ. For example, this book has five recipes for pulled pork. Each one is a regional variation with different ingredients and cooking methods. There is good discussion on the benefits of each of these variations leaving the home cook with information that he can use to create his own recipe. You will find the same thorough treatment given to ribs, brisket, etc.
Second, this book is about the USA. Now I don't mean to be ameri-centric but BBQ is one of those things that is part of our national personality. Our BBQ shacks and backyard pit masters are a part of our heritage, a heritage that should be appreciated and passed on. BBQ USA is a storehouse of the history, importance and meaning of BBQ to those who make it and those who eat it. It is a call to get together with friends and share time over good food and good conversation.
By the way, this book is not an introduction to grilling. If that is what you are looking for try How To Grill.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2004
BBQ USA is an awesome guide to barbeque throughout the United States (and even a few places outside of the US). This book highlights what is similiar and what is different about how people barbeque in different regions. Organized by food type (ex. beef, poultry, fish, etc) the guide gives various examples of how a food would be handled in different areas. Ribs may be, for example, done with: dry rubs, marinades, smoked, rotisserie, boiled, or jerked, just depending on where you go. This by-food-type organization is a boon to the barbequer who may catch a good deal on a particular food at the store, but isn't sure what they want to do with it.
The discussions of regional barbeque is fascinating. With some pictures thrown in of restaurants and barbeque stops around the country, this is not just a recipe book, but a tour of the US through a different lense. The fact that there are a whopping 425 recipes for barbeque from around the country will keep pit-masters busy for many weekends to come. With this book in hand, there will never again be reason for any ambitious barbequer's family to complain of food boredom!
As a recipe book, this one is great. There is variety for every palate, great instructions, and helpful tips. The only thing that some may not like is that there are only a few pictures of the foods in the recipes. Given the size of this tome, with it's 425 recipes, this is understandable. For the new barbequer who needs pictures, or to those that just prefer them, a better book might be Steven Raichlens' "How to Grill", which gives awesome instructions in equipment, technique, and beautiful glossy photos on every page.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2004
It is obvious from reading some of the reviews that this book goes beyond most peoples comfort level with a grill. And thats the point. If your idea of grilling is tossing a burger or chicken breast on the coals for dinner, then this book will overwhelm you. If however, you are already a fairly accomplished grill jockey, and are truly interested in the sport, then it is an outstanding encyclopedia of recipes, techniques and history, to educate and expand your horizons. I highly recommend that you first read "How to Grill", which goes into great detail on all of the nuances of advanced grilling techniques, and is perfect to introduce the reader to mops, sauces, wood chips etc. BBQ USA is not for the beginner, but for the intermediate grill jockey. It blew me away!!. I have cooked several recipes, and in true Raichlen fashion, they are showstoppers!.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2007
This book contains a lot of great recipes. I especially like the TN pork loin, his Dr. Pepper bbq sauce, and the pork sates. The instructions have always been clear, and nothing I've made has failed to impress. The book also contains bbq folklore that some people might find interesting. The stories about bbq weren't the highlight of the book for me.
If I were only getting one Raichlen book, it would be "How To Grill." That book has less recipes, but it has pictures and covers more details on grilling technique. "How to Grill" also felt better organized to me. If you're new to bbq, "How to Grill" is definately the way to go. Grillmasters may want to go with this book for extra recipes and stories.
Another issue I have with Raichlen is his ingredients lists. Often, he uses what I would call exotic ingredients and unusual cuts of meat. These recipes have pushed me to try new things, but it's also kind of a pain that many of the recipes require trips to Asian markets or other specialty foods stores.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2004
This book contains all the standard bbq and grilling tips and instructions you find in any fire cooking book. It is at least as comprehensive as any other. It also includes tons of recipes. The good thing about these recipes is that all come from the good ole USA. I also own Raichlen's bbq bible. It also has good instruction, but too many of the recipes are exotic foreign dishes.
If you want to master grilling and bbq techniques, this is the best book I've found. If you want tons of variations on steak, ribs, chicken, and pork, this is the book for you.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2004
I just recently (within the last year or so) got into grilling and, even more recently, barbecuing. I started out simple--burgers, chicken, etc. Then, one day, I found Steve Raichlen's "How to Grill," and felt compelled to purchase it, which I did. I became immersed in that book, so much so that I went back and purchased "BBQ USA." Let me tell you, neither one of these books is disappointing. I soon found myself grilling steaks, pork loins, and then barbecuing pork shoulder and pork ribs. My interest in grilling and barbecuing now only seems to grow; within the past month, I have amassed seven books about grilling and/or barbecuing. Mr. Raichlen is a grilling/barbecuing genius, if you ask me...