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Barbecue For Yuppies
on July 11, 2001
Mr. Raichlen has become an industry onto himself, complete with retail website. This book will sell a ton of copies no matter what I say, but I have some serious reservations about this cookbook.
The author has the gift of gab, which is a very good thing in this case. He has spent considerable time with the best of the barbecue pros, and it shows. Just reading through this one picks up a wealth of information, and you can't help but learn.
One problem is the recipes. A dirty trick is to present a fantastic recipe that relies on an obscure or hard to get ingredient, and this book is full of them. Most of these recipes will not become a part of your cooking repetoire. Another problem is that the majority of the recipes cover a wide range of international recipes. Traditional, american barbecue gets a scant 50 pages of the nearly 300 pages of this book. Even here, he favors the upscale and chic.
There is a tendency to favor the trendy, like flavor injectors and chutneys. He also goes through topics such as compound butters and flavored oils. Also, if you believe his side comments, all of his recipes go with all types of meats, seafoods and vegetables. In one of the more interesting sections, he has some rare recipes for mustards, ketchup, and hot sauces.
I also have one beef with the graphics of this book: many pages have a sidebar that is colored brown. As a result, it is hard to read the text in them.
This book seems to have been aimed at people who will probably never get within a country mile of a smoker. It covers a lot of ancillary subjects, and the topics covered range all over the place. This makes for very good reading, but little hard information. This book is closer to a personal diary than a cookbook. I can recommend this book because it is so interesting. However, if you are serious about barbecue, you will need a few other books beside this one in your collection. It certainly is not a "bible".