Top critical review
69 people found this helpful
Good for grillers looking to step up
on January 18, 2004
If you are have a metal charcoal or gas grill, and are looking to expand your horizons beyond basic grilling, this is a good book. If you own an offset firebox or ceramic kamado type smoker, but are still buying your rub and sauces, `Smoke & Spice' is a better investment. If you already own 'Smoke & Spice' you have better versions of all of the traditional recipes already.
The author includes Liquid Smoke in many of his sauce recipes, something that would make most experienced pitmasters cringe. Why put artificial tasting smoke flavor in a sauce when the food is being smoked already? There are indeed some interesting recipes from other cultures, and there is a useful though somewhat out of date listing for shopping sources for some of the more exotic ingredients. The chart of the effects of various common ingredients is very good, and would be very useful to any newcomer I should think. It is also a nice reference to have even for experienced pitmasters when thinking over new recipes.
In general however, I found that the recipes make use of too many ingredients, and yet when prepared tasted no better than traditional recipes I've been using for years and that are considerably less complicated. The reason is simple. Good barbecue gets it's flavor from being slow cooked at low temperatures with just the right amount of smoke, not because the cook used a dozen ingredients in the rub and another two dozen in the sauce. Everything from the cover layout to the number of ingredients called for and the sheer number of recipes makes me feel the author went for quantity rather than balance or quality.