From Publishers Weekly
Lang is serious about being serious, and that starts with his credentials. His career began at Le Cirque; he then moved on to Daniel, Carnevino in Las Vegas, and a stint as a private chef. Along the way, he opened Daisy May's BBQ, one of Manhattan's best barbecue shacks. Thus, with four-star knowledge, he brings pork, beef, lamb and the lowly chicken to the open flame with a mix of science, anecdote and a wide array of seasonings. The chapter on pork begins not only with a look at the importance of fat but also the importance of collagen and the differences between commodity and heirloom pork. There's an interview with Dave Arnold of the French Culinary Institute that explores the relation between heat and meat and why foods stick to hot surfaces. His recipe for a marinated wet-aged rib eye explains that the wonders of Worcestershire sauce have to do with the flavor-enhancing qualities of anchovies and tamarind. Nearly every entry is composed of several brief preparation recipes, since each meat is uniquely paired with a seasoning combination for specific reasons. Before cooking the spit-roasted spring lamb, for instance, one must make a basting butter, seasoning blend, herb bundle and glaze. Even something that looks simple, like the delicious classic, burnt ends (a take on barbecued brisket), involves a mustard paste, a seasoning blend, a wrapping mixture and a finishing sauce. Seriously. (May)
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In his introduction, Lang immediately lays out some confrontational assertions: “Barbecue does not just mean the slow-cooked, smoke perfumed meats of the South. It also means the charred, juicy direct-grilled meats . . . what I’ll call ‘Yankee barbecue.’” He applies himself just as rigorously to this high-heat, backyard grilling as he does the indirect, leisurely methods of traditional barbecue, which leads to a nicely balanced book that may offend some purists but could well become the go-to resource for those who only care about the divine marriage of meat and fire, no matter the form. He goes on to outline the fundamentals in a remarkably thorough manner, covering grill types, differences in smoking woods, and blueprints for marinades, brines, and sauces. Each subsequent chapters focuses on a certain meat, including a discussion of their barbecue-friendly characteristics, tips on selecting the best cuts, and a wealth of recipes that should be comfortable for most dabblers in outdoor cooking. An enlightened guide that cares more about killer food than long-held beliefs. --Ian Chipman