Customer Reviews: Smoke & Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue (Non)
Automotive Deals HPCC Amazon Fashion Learn more Discover it $5 Albums Fire TV Stick Health, Household and Grocery Back to School Handmade school supplies Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer TarantinoCollection TarantinoCollection TarantinoCollection  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Segway miniPro

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

There seems to be something about barbecue that turns everyone who writes a book about the subject into the very best expert on the subject. On the cover of `Smoke & Spice', Cheryl and Bill Jamison are touted as `America's Outdoor Cooking Experts'. Of course, similar statements and similar broadsheets of praising blurbs appear on the books of Paul Kirk and Steve Raichlen. The authors go a long way to explaining this phenomenon when they open the first chapter with the statement that `Real Barbecue is bragging food... pitmasters develop into natural boasters'. It is important to note that this book is very serious about `real barbecue', as distinguished from grilling, which is a very different thing. Please note that this review is based on the Second Edition published in 2003 by The Harvard Common Press.
As a linguistic purist, I am extremely happy to see that both the Jamison's and Paul Kirk clearly characterize barbecue as a low, steady heat method using hot smoke from wood while grilling is a high heat method where smoke is either incidental or even something to be avoided. The Jamison's even expand the lore of barbecue for me beyond Steve Raichlen's excellent introductory essay in `BBQ USA' when they explain that southeastern (as in North Carolina and Tennessee) pork barbecue and southwestern (as in Texas) beef barbecue arose from two entirely different sources, coalescing around styles developed in Kansas City and Chicago.
As much as barbecue experts like to blow their own horn, they also seem much more willing to credit colleagues with contributions to the field. As the Jamisons are mainstream cookbook authors who happen to be experts on barbecue, they cite virtually the entire pantheon of American food writers, including James Beard, James Villas, Robb Walsh, John Thorne, Calvin Trillin, and Chris Schlesinger.
All of this babble is primarily to indicate that for barbecue fans, this book is great fun to read, even if you don't even look at the recipes. But, if you do look at the recipes, you will find great sources for barbecue excellence.
Part One of the book lays down your barbecue basics, and I strongly recommend that this be read by anyone considering any of these recipes. True barbecue technique is difficult. It may be more difficult to achieve good results as it is to make some of the more arcane creations in the French culinary repertoire. What's worse, it needs equipment that are not standard equipment in an American kitchen, and, it is equipment that MUST be used outdoors. If you do not want to deal with these things, get a book by Bobby Flay and a good grill pan. The authors do briefly discuss stovetop smoking, but assign it a minor role in the world of great barbecue technique.
Part Two contains the recipes. The first chapter covers dry rubs, pastes (wet rubs), marinades, and mops. This collection of condiment recipes is not as extensive as the one found in Paul Kirk's `Championship Barbecue' and it does not include recipes for staples like homemade catsup or homemade Worcestershire sauce, but since Kirk's book is about competition and the Jamison's book is not, you will not find too much overlap if you own both.
The second chapter of recipes covers the pig. Almost every recipes includes it's own recipe for rub, mop, and other mix. For those of you who harbor any doubts about the commitment needed for barbecue, note that almost every recipe begins with the phrase `The night before you plan to barbecue...'. These recipes require a lot of work. They are the sorts of things the average working American family will be able to manage on maybe a few summer weekends a year. A dedicated barbecue hobbyist will probably manage once or twice a week. The pig chapter owes much to the Carolina style of barbecue and includes recipes for a `Carolina Sandwich Slaw', a `Memphis Mustard Slaw', and spice mixes from New Orleans to Los Angeles. The chapter finishes with recipes for what to do with successfully barbecued shoulder. If you have a good commercial source of barbecue, these recipes alone are worth the price of admission.
The third chapter of recipes covers beef. One of the hallmarks of beef barbecue is that it specializes in especially tough cuts of beef such as the brisket, skirt steak, and flank steak as well as ribs. The chapter also covers a fair share of `aftermarket' recipes for hot dogs, hamburger, meat loaf, and hash.
If I were ever tempted to do true barbecue, it would probably be to do lamb. The next chapter covers this plus goat, veal and game meat. Mexican goat barbecue or cabrito is a subject all its own, on which Robb Welsh, for one, has written extensively.
The next chapter covers chicken and other fowl such as turkey, duck, quail, and pheasant. Chapters on fish and vegetables round out the smoking recipes. Oddly, recipes for sauces which many think are essential to barbecue are placed near the back of the book, including a recipe for a famous catsup precursor. The very last chapter includes a great selection of side dish recipes, including slaws, beans, potatoes, greens, biscuits, cornbread, and muffins.
As good as the side dish recipes are, you would probably do as well or better for them with a classic non-barbecue source such as `James Beard's American Cookery' if you were not planning to go the full nine yards with the barbecue technique.
Of the three heavyweight barbecue books I have reviewed, this is the best for true home barbecue, but it is not the very best it could be. For as detailed a technique as barbecue is, requiring very specialized equipment, the total absence of pictures is baffling. If you plan to embark on true hot smoke low and slow barbecue, please find a good survey of equipment such as you may find from Consumer Reports to supplement this book.
66 comments| 259 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 28, 2004
Smoke & Spice is a recipe book for traditional low temperature long duration barbecue. If you are looking for a book on gas or charcoal grilling, look elsewhere. If you are looking for a `how to' book on smoking, look elsewhere also. If you are looking for a picture book, this isn't it. If you are looking for a compilation of every style of open fire cooking from around the world, or recipes with dozens of ingredients and complex processes, you would be well advised to look at one of Steven Raichlen's books, as he seems specialize in "everything including the kitchen sink" grilling books.
However, if you are looking for a book at covers the bases of traditional American barbecue, sauces and rubs, `Smoke & Spice' is the book to have. Most of the recipes here are for smokers fired to temperatures ranging from 180-250 degrees, which is the traditional barbecue method. Having traveled extensively and sampled barbecue from the various regions with the traditional methods, rubs and sauces myself, it is clear that the authors are well acquainted with the various regional styles. Sauces and rubs are very faithful to the traditional regional recipes. The updated edition also offers a number of recipes for non-traditional barbecue and complimentary side dishes, both traditional and non-traditional.
While I have many other books on barbecue, recipes I've collected on my own and my own recipes I have developed, I have found that Smoke & Spice contains the recipes that I keep coming back to. Most of the rubs and sauces have no more than a half dozen ingredients, which is the case with most traditional recipes. The great flavor of traditional BBQ comes from long slow cooking over a smoldering smoky fire using ingredients that can be found in any store, and that is what is presented here. My copy of this book is spattered with sauce and is covered with notes, and that's the highest compliment I can pay to any cookbook.
Finally, to correct misinformation offered by another reviewer, the health risks in open fire cooking are from high temperature grilling, not low temperature smoking as addressed by this `Smoke & Spice'. Grilling produces smoke from fat dripping on hot coals or metal that contains benzopyrene, a potent mutagen and carcinogen, which then sticks to the meat. Offset firebox smokers, water smokers and Kamado style ceramic cookers that cook at temperatures lower than 250 degrees and normally use drip pans do not burn meat drippings and thus do not pose the same health risks as gas and charcoal grills do.
0Comment| 75 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 7, 2003
I am cooking/smoking up a storm with this wonderful, super tasty cookbook. I can't stress enough how simple the recipes are, or how much flavor their rubs and marinades add to meat and fish. My family is licking their fingers and begging for more! I am a beginner at smoking and I am still managing to turn out delicious food. ANYONE can use this cookbook to enhance the flavors of the meats and food they cook even if you don't own a smoker! Just the rubs alone are worth the price, however if you have a smoker watch out! I went to a BBQ restaurant the other day. Sigh, it was pitiful compared to even my first rib effort using this book. I can never eat at another BBQ restaurant again, doesn't even compare to what I cooked using this book. I plan to work my way through every recipe!
0Comment| 44 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 3, 2012
I bought this book after getting my first smoker (Weber Smoky Mountain - I highly recommend) and while it gives a good run-down of how to smoke (what temps to shoot for, amount of time to smoke, types of smokers, what woods to use) the recipes are hit-or-miss. The rubs I've tried have been good (pork rib - don't recall the name, pork shoulder - Renowned Mr Brown, and beef brisket - Dandy Dan's Brisket), but not great and the sauces all tasted VERY sour. While I understand vinegar is a big component to many regional sauces it shouldn't be the biggest flavor component - the Memphis Magic sauce says it should be smoky and spicy where it tastes like spicy/hot tomato vinegar. The Vaunted Vinegar sauce tastes like cayenne and vinegar. There is no balance. Both are off the charts in two directions - sour and hot/spicy.

The only side I've made has been the Ms White Delights slaw which was too runny/not creamy. The sides are typical BBQ sides - slaw, potato salad, etc and most don't require the smoker. However, there are some that do, but I don't like to start my smoker for anything less than a few hours and the cook times for many of the smoked sides is 20 minutes to 1 hour.

I would say that the book is good for a beginner (temps, times, smoker types, and wood suggestions), but beyond that it loses it's value quickly.

For rubs, start with a basic 8+3+1+1 method (8 parts sugar, 3 parts paprika, 1 part salt and 1 part of whatever you want) and make it your own - it's much more fun that way.

For wood, typically you'll see fruit woods (cherry, apple, etc) with pork; oak and hard nut woods with beef, alder with fish (light smoke won't overpower the fish).

Temps should fall around 200 - 215 degrees for beef/pork and between 150 - 160 degrees for fish.

Cook times are about 1 1/2 - 2 hours per pound to reach the internal temp required to be safe.
0Comment| 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 2, 2003
I cook on a competition bbq team. I was just reading Paul's review and he is correct but here are a few tips. First and foremost, you need to cook at 200 degrees if you are doing real bbq. The brinkman is a difficult smoker to use because of two reasons: 1. It has no air vents at the bottom or top of the grille so it is difficult to dampen airflow. The dampening of airflow (restricting it) allows you to burn your fuel at a pace that will cause consistant temp. It also comes without a thermometer. These two issues make the brinkman difficult to work with. I recommend the Webber Rocky Mountain Smoker for those of you just getting started. It's a little higher in price but well worth the investment.
Use only hardwood charcoal and don't use lighter fluid. Buy a charcoal chimmney and light it with newspaper to get it going. Fuels contained in grocerystore charcoal and using fuel taints the tase. Don't use only raw wood to cook with... When using raw woods for flavor enhancement, start the wood with your charcoal and add the wood only when the entire surface of the wood is white and ashy. You won't see smoke but you'll still get great smoke flavor. Good luck!
11 comment| 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 23, 2005
This book is an absolute must have for any person who likes to BBQ, the recipies are easy to follow and produce tremendous results. I just purchased my first smoker a couple months ago but I can fool people into thinking that I'm a seasoned vet with all the knowledge this book provides. This book is not only recipies; but fuel types, optional cooking methods, and they throw in some history too. I'm going to keep this short because I can go on and on about this book, but I would highly recommend it to any person at any level who wants to expand the range of foods they cook as well as learn some new spins on old favorites. Lastly you will learn a lot of useful things about smoking that will shorten the learning curve needed to cook for 2 or 20 people. A+++
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 31, 2013
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.

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.

Smoke & Spice by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison - OK technical, but once you have that down from the first two books good recipes and good guidance on time and temperature,

Championship Barbecue by Paul Kirk - Good technical compliment to the first two above. This however is more a smoke and grilling cookbook as more than half the recipes are grilled ones. He also has a habit of trying to replicate indoor recipes to the grill. I have no idea why you would do that. A lot of the recipes seem like let me throw this against the wall and see what sticks. That said he has some good smoked ones and his mustard slaughters really work, Thought everything using them would taste like a hot dog, but they enhance the flavor with no mustard taste. Obviously I am a little conflicted by this book.

BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen _ more of a grilling cookbook, but he has some good smoker recipes. I am a fan of his for grilling; I have five of his cookbooks. Again from a smoking perspective this is the last of the five, but it and his others are great if you grill as well.

Last do poke around the website It is not just about ribs and has a wealth of information.

Do not assume that any of these recipes will be spot on in terms of your particular grill. As all the authors say you have to learn your grill so do not try any recipe for the first time for company. As many of the authors say smoked BBQ will be ready when it is done.

Again it is all about learning about time and temperature for your particular grill.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 3, 2012
I read one review where someone had written that a book teaching someone how to smoke isn't necessary. Well--it is for me. I recently purchased the Masterbuilt 30" Electric Smokehouse on Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Electric Smokehouse Smoker, Black but have only used it once. The smoker only comes with about 3 recipes which wasn't going to get me far since I know nothing about smoking foods.

My wife helped me find this book. Turns out it's like the BBQ Bible, bbq as in low and slow cooking with woodsmoke. This book gives me authentic recipes to cook bbq in the Texas, Memphis, Kansas City, Carolinas styles and all others in between. Not only does it tell you techniques for cooking meats and produce and cheeses, it gives you recipes for authentic rubs and sauces, and how and when to mop while the food is being smoked. It even goes into different types of smokers and utensils.

I've barely cracked the cover of the book and I'm in smoker's heaven. This is the cookbook I was looking for. Even if I never get to the point where I enter competitions, I'm going to be the best backyard smoker in my neighborhood.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 21, 2012
This book is a must-have for any serious fan of barbecuing. The recipes are well written and are cross-referenced for additional sauces, side dishes, and liquid refreshments.

What impressed me the most was the way the appropriate seasoning rubs, the mops, the sauces were all included on each recipe when applicable. I have not yet looked at every recipe, but from my first glance I realized that this book was well-written, and espouses the use of low and slow temperatures for some of the best smoked and barbecued food you will ever taste.

This book will become my barbecuing reference for all time in the future. The authors know their barbecuing; the recipes speak for themselves.

This book receives 5 stars and my personal word that you will enjoy reading and barbecuing the recipes from this book.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 18, 2005
This was the second BBQ book I ever bought, and it is the one that I have referred to the most. The pages show it. This is a GREAT gift idea for someone who is starting to BBQ in their backyard, or if you are looking for a good overview of the art for your own personal cooking. This book and Paul Kirk's Championship Barbecue are the best ones on my shelf, and I can not recommend either of them highly enough. These recipes tend to be a bit Southwest, but they make sure and cover ALL styles and regions of BBQ. This is a must have book in my opinion.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse