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Slow Fire: The Beginner's Guide to Barbecue Hardcover – April 11, 2012

113 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ray "Dr. BBQ" Lampe has been barbecuing professionally for over 20 years and is a cook-off champion. He has written 5 cookbooks, including Ribs, Chops, Steaks & Wings. He lives in Florida.

Leigh Beisch is a San Francisco-based photographer whose work can be found in Ribs, Chops, Steaks & Wings.

"Famous Dave" Anderson, founder of the successful barbecue restaurant chain Famous Dave's of America, is a grilling and bbq expert, best-selling author and motivational speaker.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (April 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452103038
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452103037
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

I was a truck driver in Chicago for 25 years and cooking in BBQ contests was a hobby that started back in 1982. When the trucking business had run it's course and was done I moved to Florida to sell BBQ in a parking lot. I taught a few cooking classes and wrote a few articles and the next thing I knew I was writing my "Big Time Barbecue Cookbook". Since then writing cookbooks and traveling to promote them has become my full time passion and I'm loving every minute of it. I still cook contests when I can and do some cooking classes. My schedule is usually up to date at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Dean501 on May 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are new to BBQ smoking in my opinion there is no one book you can buy. Everyone that writes one has a point of view. What I have found is you really need a core of three books I have found helpful and then possibly two more. Also there is a lot on the web, but there is one site I have found particularly helpful. That said if you only buy one buy this one.

I have tried smoking before with bullet grills with some success, but it takes a lot of minding. I finally broke down and bought the Texas Traeger pellet grill just for smoking. I love it. Now the problem is most cookbooks on smoking do not address this type of smoker head on so if you want to lean how to really use one I have found you need to look at a variety of sources.

Here is my take:
Once you understand temperature in relation to smoke and timing you can translate any indirect recipe to a pellet grill or any other type of smoker. There are some tricks/tips that will enhance the cooking, but in the end it all comes down to temperature and time.

Here are the books that I have found most helpful in descending order. I would invest in all five if you are serious about this. I look at two things; technical information and recipes.

Slow Fire by Ray "DR. BBQ" Lampe - Excellent from a technical standpoint. A great foundation in terms of understanding smoking (slow cooking) and good basic recipes. It is the first book I would buy.

Backyard BBQ The Art of Smokology by Richard W. McPeake - Great in terms of technical. If you study this book along with Lemke's you will really get a handle on the technical aspects of smoking. The recipes are pretty basic, but that is OK if you are new at this.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By John Dawson on June 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was recently sent a review copy of Slow Fire: The Beginner's Guide to Barbecue, the latest book from Ray "Dr. BBQ" Lampe. I've long been a fan of Ray's books, going back to his first, which I used as a guide when I started competing in barbecue cook-offs.

Ray is a very accomplished trucker-turned-barbecue-man. You can read the long list of his achievements at his site. What I like about Ray is his unpretentious and no-nonsense approach to barbecue. He has strong opinions and, true to his Chicago roots, he's not bashful about telling you what's on his mind. In other words, he keeps it really real, and I dig that.

It's interesting to me to see how Ray's books have continually matured through the seven years that he's been writing. Slow Fire really highlights that maturation. The first thing I noticed is that this is a beautiful book. The layout is pleasantly clean and the photography is gorgeous. You can immediately tell that this isn't your average barbecue cookbook.

As the title indicates, this book is intended for beginners. Barbecue is a paradox. It's a simple cuisine that can be deceptively complicated and intimidating. Over time cooks have managed to complicate what started as a very simple and humble cooking process, so much so that the average Joe is afraid to tackle it. This book cuts through the smoke and gets back to basics.

A beginner's book has to walk a fine line. It has to be simple and approachable while providing enough knowledge to build confidence, but not so much that it scares folks away. That is especially true in barbecue. One can very quickly get bogged down by expensive equipment, arcane terminology and philosophical arguments. That's not the case here.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Eric Mortensen on December 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I recently received a smoker as a gift. What I love about this book is that it not only provides great recipes, but it also provides information on how to cook different types of meat in a smoker. For a new smoker cooker, this information has been helpful in making me comfortable using a smoker and to know how to become a better then average smoker cooker.

Some of the best information I found in this book was:
1. Discussion of the different types of tools you need to use while smoking meat
2. Discussion about the different types of wood you use to add smoke flavor and the type of flavor each adds
3. Information about different types of smokers - for those who are looking for a smoker
4. Whole section on high quality rubs and sauces you can use - I found that it was a useful knowledge in creating your own rubs and sauces
5. Guidance on how to cook different types of meats - ribs, pork, beef, birds, and other things.
6. Many of the recipes also contain additional smoking and meat preparation techniques to help you be an even better cook with a smoker.

I plan on using this book as a reference to help me with meat smoking for a long time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brocky on May 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got into the hobby of smoking meats when I bought a kamado grill about a year ago. Not knowing anything about the subject, other than I love the taste of great barbecue, I thought A good book or two might enlighten me on some helpful techniques for creating some quality product. "Slow Fire" by DR. BBQ Lampe was the very first book I purchased. And although I've purchased several other bbq cookbooks since then, this book is always the one I keep coming back to. What am I saying ? This book is about the ONLY one I really needed. The book is well put together, the recipes are pretty simple and straightforward, and the pictures are excellent. Do what this book tells you and you'll soon be turning out food that will make you forget all about eating out at your favorite bbq joint. Seriously, I ate at a decent bbq place in Arlington, VA a while back but my very first attempt at a Boston Butt (pulled pork) had me saying to myself, "Shoot, I can do better than this".

The book begins by telling about different types of smokers and continues by explaining how different types of woods affect the flavor and color of your meats. It then provides recipes for a couple of basic rubs and several different types of barbecue sauces; a couple of red barbecue sauces, my personal favorite...a yellow (mustard) bbq sauce, Dr. Pepper bbq sauce, banana ketchup (you heard me right), and some others. I've tried both of the rubs and several of the barbecue sauces. The yellow barbecue sauce goes so good with pulled pork, it'll make you want to slap yo mamma; while the banana ketchup also goes good with pork. But it wasn't something I'd make a habit of. It is different though and worth a try.
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