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Where There's Smoke: Simple, Sustainable, Delicious Grilling
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2013
This book is a bit like a piece of good steak. A big thick meaty slab, oozing with goodness and whilst it might appear simple and straightforward it can also be as complex, as involved, as flexible as you want it to be.

At first glance you could think this is a great coffee table-type book, thanks to its general design and wonderful, engaging photography. You get to read a modest, yet interesting introduction to the author and what makes him tick before the focus is turned to the overall "mechanics of grilling". The author has a clear preference for "live fire" grilling rather than using a gas barbecue, yet gas grill owners need not feel left out of the love, even though there is an extensive look at the art and craft of grilling in a more traditional manner.

It was pleasing to note that the author even considered "workflow" issues, that is to say reducing your effort and stress whilst grilling through the planning of what you shall cook and a general order of doing things. There is even a look at typical wines that could accompany your grilled creations. Talking of drinks, the very first recipe in this book sets the stage, gives you a taste of things to come, for being different and intriguing - a refreshing blueberry-mint spritzer! There are plenty more drinks you can also make and they are not thankfully your typical common-or-garden variations on a theme too. So, the recipes... these are split into sections that are named in a form that this reviewer often sees on jaunty restaurant menus - setting the stage (soups, salads); stars (vegetables, accompaniments), fins & shells (fish, shellfish); wings (chicken, turkey, duck); hooves (beef, pork, lamb) and various basics.

Sure, there will be many everyday favourites possibly with a twist, such as Smoked Clams & Mussels or a Spicy Cucumber Salad but there are many, many other great recipes here through the entire "catalogue" that will have your eyes lighting up, even when it is a familiar combination of items carefully, artfully put together, yet on paper it would be so obviously, clearly simple and clear such as a Summer Corn Salad or Grilled Liver with Figs & Onions. Every recipe features all the key information (and more besides) you could want, including scene-setters, motivations, hints and tips. The instructions are clear and easy to understand, preferring to focus on step-by-step details instead of general assumptions. A great way to learn, no matter what level of grill expert you may or may not be. Sure, a few niggles, such as the measurements being only in imperial units and no approximation of a preparation and cooking time, but in the whole consideration of this book such things don't even scratch the surface of dissatisfaction.

This is a book you really must read sequentially through, at least once, for two reasons - to really get a grip on what you are getting and to soak up the various bits of knowledge liberally spread throughout. This book could easily have been cut in half, one volume for theory and one volume for recipes with the price unchanged and still it would feel a great investment. Do you want more? There is even a page devoted to further reading recommendations (both offline and online), a list of sources for some of the various ingredients (in the United States) and a top-rate index.

This reviewer sees new cookery and food books every day. Very few get to even see a place on the reviewer's own personal bookshelves. This one will be and in a place that is very close to hand. Summer is coming, time to start stoking the fires of the mind in readiness for stoking the outdoor grill.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2013
Ideas: 5; Accuracy of recipes: 2. Some phenomenal ideas - charred vegetables in the coals I'd never thought of and will use forever. However, some of the recipes don't come out well with the quantities specified -- the veggie burgers being almost a disaster. Had to almost double some stuff and cut others by half (beets especially) to make them edible and not fall apart.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2013
Bart Seaver has done it again. Where There's Smoke has some great insights into heat and flavor as well as his usual brilliant and well tested recipes. I confess that Bart reinforces my personal prejudice of real charcoal over gas... I have already bought two copies. One is headed to a young couple just getting married. They will thank me for life. And, let's not forget that it is a beautiful book (as is For Cod and Country) fit for the coffee table, the kitchen, the shelf by the grill...or bedtime reading.
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on August 6, 2013
Where There's Smoke is not just another book about how to throw large pieces of meat on a grill. It is a personal and compelling exploration into food and the wonders that can be done by smoking it or cooking it over an open fire. Many of the recipes - the butternut squash hummus and the veggie burger among them - have been revelations, especially for someone like me who previously saw grilling as somewhat of a hassle. While the meat lover will find an ample supply of ribs, steaks and poultry, the book truly distinguishes itself in its attention to vegetables (try the charred brussels sprouts with orange pecan dressing - you will not be disappointed!). Seafood, the mainstay of Seaver's first equally superb book, For Cod and Country, also gets a good amount of delectable attention, especially with a slew of seasoned butters and rubs that turn a nice piece of fish from succulent to transcendent. The recipes are clear, easy to follow, and each comes with a short narrative that gives it a personal touch. The book is beautifully illustrated and designed too.
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on January 15, 2014
Ordered this as a Christmas gift for my "amateur chef" brother-in-law who especially enjoys grilling and smoking. While I am not a cookbook guru, I was very happy wit this product - as was he. It is large with a textured cover and glossy pages inside. Flipping through it, it includes a lot of pictures and quite a few great recipes as well as grilling/smoking techniques. Great purchase.
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on June 4, 2015
this is an excellent book that has changed the way i grill and, as a result, greatly improved the finished product. seaver does an amazing job of explaining how and why to do things, and the brilliant graphic design makes things easy to follow. i love grilling, and i love this cookbook, which would be an amazing father's day gift for any dad like me.
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on August 4, 2013
Bought the book after hearing about it on NPR. Tried one of the pork recipes...best I have ever had. Also tried the chicken and veg kabobs on rosemary and was very impressed. So far, so good!
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on July 17, 2013
Excellent book! It basically covered every aspect of grilling and so many other complimentary sides and desserts.It was bought as a gift and well received!
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on September 14, 2013
I highly recommend this book.You will be glad you purchased it.
You will thoroughly enjoy and share the wealth please. Good stuff.
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on March 31, 2014
This is an excellent book for the novice and or the seasoned barbq'r, lots of helpful tips and recipes, highly recommended.
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For Cod and Country: Simple, Delicious, Sustainable Cooking
For Cod and Country: Simple, Delicious, Sustainable Cooking by Barton Seaver (Hardcover - May 3, 2011)
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