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The Cook's Illustrated Guide To Grilling And Barbecue Hardcover – May 30, 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews

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Smokin' Hot in the South: New Grilling Recipes from the Winningest Woman in Barbecue (Melissa Cookston) by Melissa Cookston
"Smokin' Hot in the South" by Melissa Cookston
Explore how to use fire to craft more than 85 Southern-influenced recipes enhanced with the cultural flavors of Mexico, France, and Asia. Learn more | See related books
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This hefty volume features a didactic tone that corresponds to the mission of the magazine of the same name, bringing scientific scrutiny and rigorous testing to home cooking with extremely detailed recipes and illustrations. With chapters on major ingredients and accompaniments—beef, pizza, vegetables, rubs, etc.—the book illustrates such tasks as recreating Texas-Style Barbecued Beef Ribs at home (hint: don't use bony scraps), grilling a whole turkey (small turkeys work best) and preparing lobsters for grilling (split them in half lengthwise). The editors distinguish between grilling (which uses fast, direct heat) and BBQ (slow, indirect heat); weigh in on the virtues and shortcomings of gas and charcoal grilling; and address other puzzling grill-related issues. They warn readers that grilling and barbecuing are fraught with potential problems, and the book, while well researched, tends toward the negative (e.g., "If you slice meat straight from the grill, say goodbye to its juicy flavor.... There's nothing you can do now, but next time take this precaution"). Yet this approach is ideal for those who are nervous about outdoor cooking and want to know what to expect. For fans of Alton Brown–style minutiae, this is a prime resource. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

This book has been tested, written, and edited by the test cooks, editors, food scientists, tasters, and cookware specialists at America’s Test Kitchen, a 2,500-square-foot kitchen located just outside Boston. It is the home of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and Cook’s Country magazine, the public television cooking shows America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen Radio, and the online America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Cook's Illustrated; 1st edition (May 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0936184868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0936184869
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 1.1 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
`The Cook's Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue' by the editors of `Cook's Illustrated' magazine may be the very first book you should get on the title subject. Unlike the charcoal only coverage of the excellent `The Thrill of the Grill' by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, this book gives equal coverage to charcoal and gas, although it does not address grilling with raw hardwood.

The first thing which impressed me about this book is that early in editor in chief Christopher Kimball's introduction, the point is made in no uncertain terms that good grilling and barbecue is hard to do. Doing it right requires both book learning and experience. The second thing that impressed me about the book was that I found lots of very good general information on techniques. I was expecting not much more than an anthology of grilling and barbecue recipe articles from the magazine as I see in many other `Cook's Illustrated' books. I was not surprised with the quality of this information, as `Cook's Illustrated' always provides reliable, albeit somewhat uninspired advice.

One thing I find true of the `Cook's Illustrated' books is that they are fun to read. Every other page seems to have a sidebar of interesting opinions about everything from Santoku knives to catsup (Heinz is the best). I suggest you take opinions on ingredients such as vinegars or olive oils with a grain of salt, as there is a good chance that a minority of available brands were tested and their testers tend to play it safe. When they say they were surprised by their results, it's time to sit up and take notice!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Cook's Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbeque" is in my opinion a "must have" book for anyone wanting to learn or improve his/her outdoor cooking skills. This book, copyrighted in 2005, appears to me to be an updated and revised version of the similar "The Best Recipe Grilling & Barbeque" book copyrighted in 2001 (which I bought at the same time). After reading through both books, I do not see any reason for purchasing the 2001 book.

The "Illustrated Guide" contains over 450 recipes, but those recipes are only one part of the great information this book presents. The book opens with the basics of "grilling" versus "barbequing" and discusses the differences between charcoal cooking and gas cooking. There is a lot of information and recommendations on products (cooking equipment and tools) needed for successful outdoor cooking. In the cooking chapters (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, vegetables, etc.), the "Illustrated Guide" gives much more than just recipes. The book describes how to choose the food (e.g. which cut of beef, what size chicken, etc.) and how to prepare it before cooking, including seasoning. Then, the book describes a step-by-step procedure for cooking the item; the book gives separate instructions for charcoal cooking and gas cooking.

The book's "claim to fame" is that the authors/cooks perfected each instruction/recipe through extensive trial and error, and that the reader can benefit from the writers' experience and their detailed instructions.

On my gas grill, I recently grill-roasted the book's "Beer Can Chicken" (for which I used lemonade- the recommended alternate to beer) and my family all agreed it was the best chicken we had ever eaten. I also recently followed the book's instuctions to select, buy, season and grill strip steaks.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I gave this book to my brother for his birthday. He is a BBQ addict - once flew to Memphis for a week, just to do BBQ research. He rarely finds anything of interest in most books or magazines. He loves this book and within the first 20 minutes of reading it (while we finished assembling his birthday cake) he announced, twice, that he had "found something". Having found the perfect gift, I couldn't be more pleased.
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Format: Hardcover
While one can not truly barbeque on a grill, this guide gets you as close as possible. Good grilling is not rocket science but this book explains what many have learned only through trial-and-error. When trying a new receipe, I always compare it with this guide. While I may prefer sauces and rubs found in my other six grilling books, this is my Bible on how to apply them. Buy this book first and use it as your standard when reviewing others. Of course, like all receipe books, you must use your own good judgement. For example, one receipe says start your salmon fillets skin side down while another says skin side up. (I think skin side up is the right way to go to get better marking and to make it easier to see how cooking is progressing.) I use this book and I give it to my friends. Enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover
The number one thing you need to know is that this book is exactly what you've come to expect from a Best Recipe book -- a self-contained guide to its subject with a mix of content for this book and content from other books. It's certainly worth buying if you're in need of a reference for live fire cooking; though rather less exciting than The Barbecue! Bible, it does an expert job of filling in the technique and science things that Raichlen leaves out. And the book covers not only meat, but vegetables, an increasingly important aspect of outdoor cooking. An immense number of variations and side dishes -- maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like slightly more than the usual CI book -- makes it an excellent browsing book as well, but it doesn't compromise its typical get-it-done function.

That said, it's got a few flaws. First off, there's vanishingly little effort spared on grilled desserts; maybe that's a little much to expect from Cook's (which in general doesn't tend to try to be particularly tricky or avant-garde) but there's only a few scattered grilled fruit recipes. Second, and this is more a factor of it being a second edition of a relatively old book, there's quite a few recipes that CI has since superseded, the most glaring being their somewhat unusual approach to grilled pizza (essentially an herbed flatbread with pizza toppings; it has since been replaced with a more traditional Providence-style crust from the America's Test Kitchen TV show). Neither of those are really a reason to not recommend it, since there's always people who want the older recipes.
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