4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the basics, plus even more
I love this cookbook -- it's one of my favourites and most-used. I didn't have any "formal" barbecuing experience, so my skills were limited to grilling hamburgers and hotdogs. Even steaks were beyond my skill level, as I always over-cooked them, and never knew how to get the outside crispy while keeping the inside rare. Thanks to this book I can cook a...
Published on June 20 2004 by Leigh-Ann Gerow
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many ingredients
If you like a cookbook that requires you to have multiple ingredients per recipe, this book is for you. I like cookbooks that have useable recipes from things I probably have already in my home. This cookbook is too complicated. Just to make their "Basic Barbecue Sauce", you need to have 19 ingredients. I would rather pay 99 cents and buy it at the store. I...
Published on June 25 2001
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many ingredients,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Barbecue! Bible (Hardcover)If you like a cookbook that requires you to have multiple ingredients per recipe, this book is for you. I like cookbooks that have useable recipes from things I probably have already in my home. This cookbook is too complicated. Just to make their "Basic Barbecue Sauce", you need to have 19 ingredients. I would rather pay 99 cents and buy it at the store. I was truly disappointed with this book. I bought it for my husband and it has sat in the cupboard.
27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How can I put this?,
This review is from: The Barbecue! Bible (Paperback)Okay, it's not like there's any giant downside to owning this book, other than perhaps the money spent, but my question is - does anyone really need like 800 gazillion pages to learn how to cook a hunk of meat over a fire? I know this book's getting good reviews on here, but I'd be willing to bet that most of the reviewers haven't tried more than three of the hundreds of elaborate, time-consuming recipes in here. Everytime I crack open this book, it's like, "Hmmm....that looks pretty good, too bad it has 25 different ingredients, sounds complicated...that one's too much trouble, too...that's interesting, too bad I don't have a giant steel drum to turn into the smoker I'd need for this one...Gee, I've never heard of these spices, and I'll never get around to mail-ordering them...if I ever come across an entire, dressed goat in the supermarket, I'll have to come back to this one...", etc.
Having lived in Argentina for two years (serious barbecue country), and having put on tons of my own barbies since and attended loads of others, I guess I have a different perspective on the whole experience. In my mind, you don't really get points for how many hours you put in preparing your marinades, or how many different types of crushed spices you sprinkle on to your ribeye, or from how far away your recipe comes from, or how many recipes you've memorized or whatever. These are all ancillary considerations. Let's be honest: what matters most about doing a barbecue/grill is basically the admiration and glory a man receives by giving his guests a killer meal cooked over the more challenging heat source of open flame. The thrill of, and skill required for, cooking over that open fire is part of attaining this glory, but it's still about the performance's end result. It's like a rooster doing his mating dance, or a canary singing his song (I can think of a few other analogies, but I think they'd probably get edited). Anyway, barbecue is a performance by a male in which he shows off his superior talent. This is why no guy ever barbecues only for himself, and why no guy ever wants help from his wife while he's doing his barbecue (less glory). And this is why when you do a barbecue, you have to make sure the end result is better than any of the guys you invited could likely have done, and make sure all the girls are really impressed by your prowess with nature's primal elements. If you wind up giving your guests something average, or dud-like - well, that's some serious face-losing. You can laugh it off, but you'll still look weak. It's like stealing the ball, running down the court all by yourself, doing your lay up and missing.
Anyway, if I am right about this, you don't want to get this geek-festival book with 8000 recipes in it. You need a good understanding of basic barbecue/grilling techniques, and maybe at the most three super killer recipes (and believe me, there are a lot of fantastic barbecuers out there that just have one). It's like pitching - if you have two incredible pitches, you're a god, you're Greg Maddux or Nolan Ryan or Mariano Rivera. If you have 12 okay ones, you're driving a milk truck somewhere. Unfortunately, trying to find three totally killer grill recipes in this book is like trying to find three pro-life delegates at the Democratic Party's National Convention - who knows if there even are any, and even if they are, who has the time to try to figure it which ones they are? (And even if you did find them, do you have the time necessary to prepare an elaborate recipe, when a faster one may be just as good or better?) I think Mr. Raichlen's book would be far more valuable if it was pared down to maybe 70-80 discriminating pages of top quality advice, recipes, etc., rather than a dumptruck load of every last aspect of barbecue lore collected after a tour of the entire planet (which is literally what this is). Quality control, rather than just overwhelming quantity, would have been far more helpful.
My experience with barbecues is that often the finest are the simplest: Start with the best meat you can get (you can find out about the various cuts and their characteristics in any book about meat - for beef, I prefer rib steaks for all the marbling; the Certified Angus Beef brand you can get at Albertson's is usually good), salt them, don't burn them, and the bottom line is you're 80% of the way there. When you come up with a few of your own little twists, and a great sauce (the Argentine chimichurri is my fave - olive oil, oregano, garlic, some vinegar and a bit of parsley), you'll almost certainly have something as good or better than most of the over-compensating extravaganzas in this book.
I wish I knew of a more practical book on grilling/barbecue, but the truth is I don't really know of one that would set the would-be barbecue superstar on his way (not that it's that hard to get going). But, if someone is really serious, any text that takes time to explain the building blocks of how various foods work together, and what effects various cooking techniques have (in other words, culinary theory), will only help you nail down your one, two, or three superb open flame recipes (the magazine "Cook's Illustrated" is a pretty good start for this kind of thing).
Get this book if you want, but don't think you need it (or that you'll end up actually using its recipes). You'll do far better experimenting on your own, chatting with your butcher or barbecuing buddies, and getting an understanding of why great dishes work so you can then come up with your own.
I hope this has been a help to someone.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the basics, plus even more,
This review is from: The Barbecue! Bible (Paperback)I love this cookbook -- it's one of my favourites and most-used. I didn't have any "formal" barbecuing experience, so my skills were limited to grilling hamburgers and hotdogs. Even steaks were beyond my skill level, as I always over-cooked them, and never knew how to get the outside crispy while keeping the inside rare. Thanks to this book I can cook a perfect steak, make great ribs (thanks to "indirect heat"), and even cook whole chickens. It's also encouraged me to expand my grilling horizons, so now items like plantains and cuttlefish are grill regulars. I like to choose new recipes to try, so the variety is appealing. I have no problem stocking up on new items to try a recipe -- it's not going to kill me to go out and pick up a can of coconut milk, for example.
To answer one criticism that others have made, I grew up in Canada, and I had no idea that there was a style of cooking called "barbecue" (i.e. long slow cooking with smoke). To me, "barbecue" means you cook stuff on a grill, whether it be a gas grill or a charcoal grill. So, I had no confusion over the title - it said "barbecue" and it did exactly that -- it taught me to cook on a "barbecue".
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great guide to Grilling but no bible,
This review is from: The Barbecue! Bible (Paperback)This is a great though misnammed cookbook. Its a matter of semantics as to what you consider "Barbeque". The author certianly explodes the concept and pushes the envelope. "Worldwide Grilling Receipies and Accompanyments" would be a more accurate title.
That detail out of the way this is a great receipie book!. Hundreds of dishes from all over the world. I am rather fond of Asian food (southeast asian in particular) and there is no shortage of grills from that part of the world. Most of the other really juicey looking dishes come from South America or the Carribein.
The dishes vary from simple to complex but none of them too terribally complicated. The list of ingredients can look impressive and intimidating but after you have done it a few times its really not that bad. If you feel intimidated then it means you are ready to learn.
They do call for ingredients such as fish sauce and Tamarid paste that most Americans don't have stocked in their pantry. Unless you live in a big city with gormet or ethnic shops you may have some problems finding these things. But he does give sources for ingredients in the back. Also when he lists the receipies he does it in a form that is adapted to American tastes and ingredients your likely to find. He does mention the "authentic" ingredients as well just in case you feel daring.
The book contains a basic discussion on gas vs charcol, grilling techniques, times and temperatures. He makes it clear that grilling is not an exact science so at times he doesn't get all that specific. From a Barbeque "bible" I would have expected a bit more explicit instruction and coverage of the actual equipment and mechanics of cooking but he covers it well enough for success. I guess thats what his other book (complete with color illustrations of technique) is for.
This book is part travelog as well as receipe book. Personally I like this but some people consider it a waste of space. He goes into his personal experience with discovering some of the dishes as well as commentary about cooking style and flavor in different parts of the world (including the USA).
The book is organized roughly by type of dish. Starters (think drinks and chicken wings), beef, pork, lamb, ground meat, chicken, fish and sauces. Within those catagories he tries to get something from every part of the world. As a result many of the receipies are not directly grilled, they simply relate to grilled food (kind of like cole slaw and BBQ). There worth having regardless.
Conclusion- All and all I think this is a GREAT cookbook. If your a newbie to cooking AND grilling then your probably best starting off with something a little more conventional. But if your a moderatley experienced cook you should be able to hand this with no problem. Somewhat misleading title but if you take it for what it is you will not be disappointed.
PS - If you like this style of book and the international flair of these dishes you might check out "Terrific Pacific" by Anya Von Bremzen. You'll find similar ingredients and flavors as well as commentary.
5.0 out of 5 stars Grilling repetoire,
This review is from: The Barbecue! Bible (Paperback)If a cookbook can squeeze more than one recipe into my repetoire, it gets an automatic 5 stars. This book passes muster.
I think this is probably the only Raichlen work worth studying. Although the How to Grill book I would get instead for those who don't know how to tie their shoes culinarily.
He gets these recipes from people all over the world and many of them are outstanding. He must be very personable to coax them out of all those talents. I don't think he is a particularly great cook but he does know enough about grilling.
I think this will please gourmands who want to be able to extend their abilities to the summer get-together concept, but it will be a bit over the head of your average beergutted grill jockey. Most of my nascent grilling repetoire so far consists of variations on what I found within.
5.0 out of 5 stars wow,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Barbecue! Bible (Paperback)amazing depth. if you want a barbecue guide, this is the one!
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Have Grilling Reference!!,
This review is from: The Barbecue! Bible (Paperback)WoW! First of all I have been a grilling afficianado for 20 years.Probably put just about everything I could think of over fire.And figured I knew it all.WRONG!! The author has compiled a grilling book that is superb both to the novice and seasoned veteran.I have traveled to New Orleans and Southwest Louisana,Jamaica,and France in regards to food that is touched by fire LITERALLY! This is a gem for anyone who wants to taste international cuisine at its best.No photos,but who needs them!
It also is a history lesson pertaining to certain techniques.Especially Argentinian beef methods.My mouth watered as I read the 500 recipes and sauces,and I will try to make every dish mentioned.I rate this at a perfect 10+!! I reside in rural VA and have been to numerous PIG ROASTS and have had some of my own.My friends also want to purchase this excellent reference to touch up their methods.Plain enough,get this book!!
The author has outdone himself and he deserves the credit for his hardwork to compile all these interesting recipes! Also get the "HOW TO GRILL" Book,full of mouthwatering photos and techniques. A perfect 10+ AAAA+++
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book if you know what you are doing,
This review is from: The Barbecue! Bible (Paperback)This book is full of awesome, diverse recipies. Make no mistake, however, it will not show you techniques to develop your own recipes, but instead gives you several international dishes. This is not a "how to" guide but is simply a cook book, with tons of recipes to help you diversify your grilling repertoire. You have to try the honey sesame shrimp. Good golly they're good. So is the beer can chicken!
so if you are tired of barbecue chicken, lawry's salt covered stead, ordinary hamburgers and marinated chicken breasts, then get this book.
BE WARNED, SEVERAL DISHES REQUIRE SEVERAL HOURS MARINTATING TIME ... so plan ahead!!
3.0 out of 5 stars No Bible, just a decent intro for the casual cook,
This review is from: The Barbecue! Bible (Paperback)Judging from the other reviews I am sure that this book fills important needs but it sure does not do much for me and could have been better even on its own terms. It is a short cut for people who want to produce edible, decent food but do not want to learn that much about barbecuing and the cuisines that produced these recipes. Those aiming for higher quality barbecue, whether Thai, Turkish or even (actually, especially) Southern style barbecue will do much, much better elsewhere. Thus, it is a pretty decent if shallow introduction to the world of barbecuing for the beginning or casual cook. It aims for ease of execution, lack of unpleasant surprizes, diversity and inclusiveness rather than above average food quality. While the recipes and descriptions of techniques I examined do not contain much objectionable and are nicely presented, you will not become a pit master based on what you learn in this book, nor will you learn that much about the cuisines represented in the book. The recipes and the techniques are simplified and will produce reliable if not particularly distinguished food. If you aim beyond the if-it's-Tuesday-then-it-is-Belgium type of cooking, stick to books focusing on a particular cuisine. For example, those who would like to learn about Southern Barbecue would do much better with Barbecued Ribs, Smoked Butts, and Other Great Feeds by Jeanne Voltz or The Great American Barbeque Instruction Book by Clark Hale to name just two books. None of this means that there is anything wrong with this approach, actually it is a fine book for what it is, as Raichlien is a master at producing this types of books. My major objection to this book is its title and the fact that it is marketed as a comprehensive, last word on the matter when in fact it is not even complete at this beginning level, for the author actually stretched its contents over three books (another marketing ploy?). The other two books, How to Grill and Sauces ... should have been part of the "Bible."
5.0 out of 5 stars BBQ made EASY,
This review is from: The Barbecue! Bible (Paperback)I bought this for my husband and he found it so easy to use. We have fallen in love with the Memphis-style rub for ribs... A must for any summer evening!!!
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The Barbecue! Bible by Steven Raichlen (Paperback - Dec 9 1997)
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