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Charred & Scruffed Paperback – May 8, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Guest Reviewer: Gabrielle Hamilton on Charred and Scruffed

Gabrielle Hamilton is the author of Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef.

At my restaurant we've now cooked pretty extensively from Perry Lang's Charred and Scruffed and read it from cover to cover. And while I would consider all of us experienced meat cookers, every cook here has been pretty radically enlightened by it.

Charred and Scruffed is a game-changer. It blows open the whole over-saturated category of grilling and will change your meat cooking forever, whether you're a beginner or a hardy veteran of cooking meat with fire and smoke. In this book, Perry Lang teaches you to be an active griller--to abandon the idea and aesthetic of the rigid, perfect, crosshatched grill mark like you find at an Outback or Wendy's--and to instead really move the meat around the grill in a way that it builds up more and more surface area, getting as much char and flavor on every micro-inch of its surface as possible. He prepares the meats by opening them up, either by hand--kind of pulling apart rib roasts or cracking the backs of chickens and stabbing the birds repeatedly (!)--or by cutting shallow, diamond-hatch scoring into the surface of leaner cuts to create more places for crust and char to form, thus letting more flavor develop. And creating more surfaces for the seasoning salts, herby and acidic bastes, and unbelievably delicious and sensible “board sauces” made right on the cutting board with the juices of the meats themselves, to adhere and cling to. Why no one has thought of the board sauce is a mystery and an example of Adam Perry Lang's genius. After basting the meat frequently throughout its cooking time with a basting brush made of a bunch of herbs--both beautiful and purposeful--you finely mince the tip end of the herb baster brush--which has softened in the heat and released the herbs' fragrant oils--and stir that right into the juices from the rested grilled meat. It is a stroke of brilliance. Utterly freaking delicious and simple and smart.

I first caught on to the obsessive genius of Adam Perry Lang and his relationship to meat over ten years ago when I wrote a piece about him for Saveur magazine. At the time he was the chef at Robert's Steakhouse on the west side of Manhattan, which served the best meat in New York City. Everyone who came to know it agreed that it blew the city's famed steakhouses out of the water. At the time Adam was aging meat weeks and even months longer than anyone, anywhere. His walk-ins had an elaborate setup of thermometers, fans, humidifiers and stainless steel metro shelving--and a fastidious date and time labeling system as well. He rotated huge racks of beef, attending to the temperature, humidity and “velocity,” as he called it, of cool air circulating in the room with a near mania. He was obsessively sourcing meat, flying out to see growers and buyers and packers throughout the Midwest and Texas to understand everything he could about grass and grain and corn. At the same time, just to give you a sense of his energy, he had opened Daisy May Bar B Que and was competing on the national barbecue circuit. And winning!

All this to say, there is no single person or team working with meat today who knows more or who has more to share and to learn from.

This book is suited for professionals and amateurs alike, men and women, from back yard pit masters to fire-escape kettle-grillers, for dads whose favorite weekend activity is centered around the Weber to die hards who will find themselves shoveling a path to the grill deep in winter just to cook from its pages.


“Perry Lang has rewritten the rules of grilling. His latest book, Charred & Scruffed, is a bible for a new kind of charcoal-fired religion.”

Bon Appetit

“Full of serious barbecue how-to with plentiful photos.”

Better Homes & Gardens


“If you know a person ready to get his―or, hello, her―Ph.D. in grilling, this will blow his (or her) already expanded mind.”

New York Times Book Review


“In this book, [Adam Perry Lang] shares the creative theories and techniques that have made him a perennial award winner on the national barbecue circuit.”

Martha Stewart Living


“A whole new way of looking at grilling.”

 –Orlando Sentinel


“Well-written and easy to follow recipes . . . nothing short of revolutionary.”

 –Austin Chronicle


 “Inspiring and loaded with great tips.”

Charlotte Observer


“Adam Perry Lang is the Yoda of grilling. This is his third book on the subject and his most in-depth yet.”

The Daily


“A perfect handbook for savory summer foods, with new techniques for cooking meat, fish and poultry on the grill, plus tips and tricks for fantastic sides.”



 “A new sort of twenty first century barbecue. . . . Any serious backyard barbecuer who follows these recipes will very quickly leave the rest of neighborhood pit masters wallowing in ashes.”



 “New grilling techniques for achieving crunchy crusts, succulent meat and perfect side dishes. If this sounds complicated, it isn’t. [Perry Lang has] made it easy.”

Providence Journal


 “An elegant and inventive barbecue cookbook.”

Library Journal


“No one knows more about cooking food over fire than Adam Perry Lang, and his techniques are all here.”

–David Chang

"Breaks newgrilling ground with well-written recipes."

--Fine Cooking


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan; Second Impression edition (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579654657
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579654658
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Adam Perry is an adventurous chief and he comes up with some great ideas for the BBQ aficionado.
However some of his most interesting recipes (finishing salts,spackles) require a dehydrator and a convection oven which I do not own. Otherwise it is a good read with some great recipes. If you have a dehydrator and a convection oven and love to BBQ this book will not disappoint.
Note: The "four seasons blend" was much less salty with 1/2 cup of sea salt.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished reading Lang's "Charred & Scruffed." All in all, it's an excellent book. I really like how he breaks new ground with outdoor cooking, and pushes the envelope in technique and method. I own a lot of BBQ and grilling books, and most of them read the same. Lang is different, and I like that. That said, there are a couple of complaints that prevent me from awarding a full five stars. First of all, if you don't own a convection oven or a food dehydrator, a couple of appliances not typically associated with grilling meat, then many of the recipes here are worthless or will be lacking in the end. If you want to use the techniques in this book, well, you're going to have to invest money into an appliance or two. Second gripe: this book does indeed break new ground. This is new stuff, different and unfamiliar. As such, there are techniques here that need to be explained in much more detail than is given in this book. One example: Lang goes over how to prepare a "mature and level bed of coals," but only states that you have to even them out, "lightly tamping them down to a uniform height of 4 to 6 inches." Really? Now six inches of coals in a Weber kettle (Pictured in the book) is a HUGE amount of fuel. The pic shows the Weber almost all the way full of lump charcoal - easily about 10lbs worth if the kettle is indeed filled up. How, exactly, is he building this huge fire? How many chimneyfuls of lump charcoal are we talking about here? How did he light them? There's absolutely NO details on how to create this bed of coals at all. I've been grilling for years, and I've never seen any such thing - which is why I actually liked the book - but since it's all new, Lang needs to go into much greater detail. Unfortunately, he does not.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came across this book at a bookstore and based on a few recipes I decided I had to have it. It is a way to take your grilling to the next level. Mr. Lang has a solid understanding of BBQ iand can present it in a very Alton Brown manner. I have already made 4 of the recipes and they were a huge hit!!
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Format: Paperback
More than a cookbook or a set of recipes, this book talks about specific grilling techniques that will help you increase the flavor that you bring to the table. At each step of the way - from seasoning the meat before you get to the grill to the time you put it on the plate - Adam Perry Lang shows how to add layers of flavor. None of the techniques are hard, and if you incorporate just two or three of them into your grilling routine you'll get great flavors and many compliments.

I watched a cooking demonstration featuring Adam at Central Market in Dallas, where he spoke, grilled, and then we ate. One of his recipes is "Rib Roast Done Like a Steak", which involves a three rib rib-eye steak that gets flattened down to about 3 inches high using a ... Baseball Bat! Aside from being good eats, it was fun to be in the front row of the demonstration when the steak tartar started flying.

The salts take some elapsed time to prepare, but are not hard to do. I've found a good substitute for a convection oven or a dehydrator, since I don't have either of these. I spread the salts on a baking tray on some parchment paper, then put the tray in the attic for a few days. A nice hot summer day dries out the salt very effectively. As an aside, my printing of the book has the Worcestershire Salt at 1 cup of salt to 1 cup of Worcestershire sauce, which I found to be too much liquid. I backed it down to 1/3 cup of sauce, similar to the other salt recipes, and it came out great.

Adam Perry Lang is a master griller; he's also a nice guy. He autographed our books and spoke with my son (who is an aspiring chef) after the event and was very pleasant.

I highly recommend the book. Buy it & let me know what you think!
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By A Customer on September 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best and most original BBQ books I have ever used. I've tried at least 10 recipes out of this book and each has turned out fantastically. Friends and family are asking me for the recipes. I wish I could take credit for them but I give them Adam's name and this book to look up. The favorite so far has been the shrimp on a cedar plank directly on the coals. The smokiness adds enough flavor but not too much to make these overbearing. These stand out as an appetizer that no one will stop talking about the rest of the supper. The basic marinade and the bastes are very easy and I suggest you don't skip over either of them. I did have to take out the pepper flakes since I'm in MN and anything spicier than kethcup is shunned. However, even without they taste great. (I've used the pepper flakes as well and it is even better). All in all I highly recommend this book to any budding backyard BBqer.
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