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Serious Barbecue: Smoke, Char, Baste, and Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking Hardcover – May 5, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lang is serious about being serious, and that starts with his credentials. His career began at Le Cirque; he then moved on to Daniel, Carnevino in Las Vegas, and a stint as a private chef. Along the way, he opened Daisy May's BBQ, one of Manhattan's best barbecue shacks. Thus, with four-star knowledge, he brings pork, beef, lamb and the lowly chicken to the open flame with a mix of science, anecdote and a wide array of seasonings. The chapter on pork begins not only with a look at the importance of fat but also the importance of collagen and the differences between commodity and heirloom pork. There's an interview with Dave Arnold of the French Culinary Institute that explores the relation between heat and meat and why foods stick to hot surfaces. His recipe for a marinated wet-aged rib eye explains that the wonders of Worcestershire sauce have to do with the flavor-enhancing qualities of anchovies and tamarind. Nearly every entry is composed of several brief preparation recipes, since each meat is uniquely paired with a seasoning combination for specific reasons. Before cooking the spit-roasted spring lamb, for instance, one must make a basting butter, seasoning blend, herb bundle and glaze. Even something that looks simple, like the delicious classic, burnt ends (a take on barbecued brisket), involves a mustard paste, a seasoning blend, a wrapping mixture and a finishing sauce. Seriously. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In his introduction, Lang immediately lays out some confrontational assertions: “Barbecue does not just mean the slow-cooked, smoke perfumed meats of the South. It also means the charred, juicy direct-grilled meats . . . what I’ll call ‘Yankee barbecue.’” He applies himself just as rigorously to this high-heat, backyard grilling as he does the indirect, leisurely methods of traditional barbecue, which leads to a nicely balanced book that may offend some purists but could well become the go-to resource for those who only care about the divine marriage of meat and fire, no matter the form. He goes on to outline the fundamentals in a remarkably thorough manner, covering grill types, differences in smoking woods, and blueprints for marinades, brines, and sauces. Each subsequent chapters focuses on a certain meat, including a discussion of their barbecue-friendly characteristics, tips on selecting the best cuts, and a wealth of recipes that should be comfortable for most dabblers in outdoor cooking. An enlightened guide that cares more about killer food than long-held beliefs. --Ian Chipman

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; First Edition edition (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401323065
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401323066
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read enough of this book, to be able to say; "I think it's a great book." I own a lot of barbecue related cookbooks and I have had the great good fortune, as the moderator of BBQForum.com, to have read over 700,000 posts to the forum by BBQ people. So I have been exposed to a lot of barbecue. This is one of the best books, about barbecue and outdoor cooking in general.

In 2005 I did a podcast interview with Adam and I have read his detailed posts to the forum. I have never actually meet Adam in person. However, I know a little bit about Adam. He knows how to cook and not only that, he knows what happens to food when it's cooking and can explain it to you. The book really focuses on layering flavors. So, when people taste food cooked the way he explains it, they are in for taste treats, one after another.

With all my 14 years of daily exposure to the wisdom of some of the top barbecue cooks in the country and all the cookbooks I have read, you would think I would have a good grasp of the situation. But, in reading this book I am learning a lot of new things.

I don't hand out these compliments lightly. This is not just a "low and slow pure barbecue" cookbook but he carries his knowledge of "pure barbecue" (he has won prestigious "pure barbecue" awards to back this up) into all levels of outdoor cooking. There is a lot of direct grilling and indirect smoking information. I don't care if you're an expert cook or a beginner, you will get a lot out of reading this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I think that Adam Perry Lang has become the E.F. Hutton of barbecue enthusiasts......when he talks, barbecue people listen.....even a few of the pros! In this book, Adam cuts right to the chase and dispels all of the rhetoric about what is and isn't barbecue and how it should and should not be cooked.

I love the way he builds flavor profiles by layering the ingredients and the steps of the cooking process, using some procedures that many barbecue purists frown on when making barbecue. It's pretty amusing reading the recipes that call for foiling as a step to making good barbecue. Whatever works to make the best barbecue he can, Adams isn't at all bashful about doing it. I like that!

I also love that there is no "I'm a better barbecue cook than you" ego written throughout this book, unlike a couple of those written by a self-titled "dr" of bbq. This book reads like Adam's sitting out on the deck with his feet propped, having a cold one with pals and talking Que. No sarcastic anecdotes here.

With over 100 barbecue related cookbooks in my arsenal as reference and many cooking techniques I thought were pretty sound, Serious Barbecue has me rethinking some of the ways I make barbecue. A must own barbecue book!
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Format: Hardcover
I am already a fan of Adam Perry Lang, as I have eaten at his restaurant, Daisy Mays, on numerous occasion and have always loved the food.

I bought Serious Barbecue: Smoke, Char, Baste and Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking, because both my husband and I love to barbecue. I make my own sauces--and they are miles better than any commercial sauce--but was ready to try some new recipes.

I have flipped through the book and recognize recipes that I have already had at the restaurant--and will definitely make them. Some winners include Short Ribs with Fleur de Sel, sticky drumsticks, and Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Banana and Brown Sugar.

I like the different cooking methods Lang employs, and intend to try all of them this summer.

Keep in mind, however, that many of these recipes take time and many ingredients to make. The short ribs, for instance, require several steps to make. Lang believes the BBQ is best when the ingredients are added in stages--this makes for complex flavors and an unbeatable texture. The ribs first get a mustard moisturizer, then a seasoning blend, next a wrapping mixture, and finally, the finishing dressing.

So you don't cook from his book when you're in a hurry. My plan is to have a few BBQ parties this summer and cook from the book.

If you enjoy BBQ, buy this book! You will be amazed at the difference the proper cooking method and homemade sauces make to your food.

Highly recommend!

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The three most important things to know about this book are the following: (1) the recipes are more complex than the usual barbecue/grilling book, each one is an investment of time.
(2) the book includes a mixture of grilling recipes and slow smoked barbecue recipes and either type of recipe is well worth the book.
(3) the results are fantastic!

I would prefer to have cooked from the book a little more before posting the review. I have probably made 5-6 recipes from the book, including both barbecue and grilling recipes. But since the recipes have produced uniformly fantastic foods, I am not too worried about extrapolating from my experience to the book in general.

A little more detail on (1).
the recipes are a little more work than the usual. What does this mean? It means that most recipes have three steps. The meat is prepared using an injection, marinade, or brine. Then a custom dry rub is applied after brining, then during cooking you will apply a sauce or glaze. Often there is another step during cooking such as wrapping in foil, basting, etc. Making all these various flavor layers/toppings, etc is time consuming and requires a lot of ingredients. However, most of the ingredients are easy to find and easy to assemble, it just takes time so plan ahead. These are not recipes you decide to do 30 minutes before you eat.

(2)A mixture of barbecue and grilling recipes.
The book includes a great selection. Most all of the classic slow cooked barbecue meats are covered in this book, pork shoulder, pork butt, brisket, chicken, etc. etc. But for each one, there is a unique touch, slight changes to the classic smoking process that increase complexity and flavor.
Read more ›
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