Smokin’ good cookbooks
By Doug Mosley
Eric Mitchell is known to many readers of this publication as a member of the New Hampshire-based Yabba Dabba Que competition barbecue team, which has had a level of success to have qualified for the Jack Daniels and American Royal. Mitchell is also an author with his first book, Smoke It Like a Pro on the Big Green Egg & Other Ceramic Cookers, reaching best-seller status. That book was very favorably reviewed in this space and, if memory serves me correctly, I believe I characterized the book as the missing manual for the Big Green Egg.
Mitchell didn’t wait long to capitalize on that success, penning his second book within a year of releasing the first. The new book, More BBQ and Grilling for The Big Green Egg & Other Kamado-Style Cookers ($21.99, Page Street Publishing Co., 224 pp.), picks up where the first book left off. Honestly, I didn’t think Mitchell left any ground uncovered the first time but he found plenty to fill up the pages of a second really-great book. Mitchell does say in his introduction that the second book’s recipes are “adventurous and fun to make” which is another way of saying he ramped up the creativity.
Since the first book went into great detail on the technical side of cooking on a Big Green Egg, this book bypasses the tutorial and goes straight to recipes. As before, these chapters are interestingly title (i.e., From Tail to Snoot, It’s What Pork’s About; Better Than a Brick Oven – Breads & Pizzas on the Egg). All the basic food categories are covered, including sides and desserts. This time in beef he offers up Beef Wellington and Korean Bulgogi; in pork there is Competition Pork Ribs, Memphis Dry Style and Candied Pork Belly; in poultry there is Marinated Mojo Spatchcock Chicken and Indian Spiced Turkey Breast. There’s plenty more in seafood, burgers, breads and just about everything else you can cook on the versatile Big Green Egg.
Congratulations are due to Mitchell – he is off to a successful start as an author. I can’t wait to see what he does next, particularly since there can’t be a third book on the BGE, can there? We’ll be eager to find out.
Who here doesn’t love those Brazilian churrascarias? C’mon, this is a publication dedicated to barbecue – I know everyone here adores meats cooked via live fires! Those places are awesome and even though I know better, I always fall victim to grazing too much off of that eye-popping salad bar before the endless run of gauchos bearing spits of delectable meats starts charging at my table. Nonetheless, a trip to a churrascaria never disappoints and now one of the leading restaurants, Texas de Brazil, is providing us with an inside look through the new book, Churrasco: Grilling the Brazilian Way by its culinary director, Evandro Caregnato ($30, Gibbs Smith, 216 pp.).
This is a beautifully done book, including the opening three chapters that serve as a sort of introduction, first telling the author’s personal story and then of Brazil and churrasco as a cuisine and an experience. That’s followed by a how-to, including instructions on building your own gaucho grill. Then it’s on to two chapters of recipes. In the chapter on Traditional Gaucho Cuisine, there are Fire-Roasted Picanha and Gaucho Kebabs. From the chapter on Texas de Brazil Favorites, there are Parmesan-Crusted Pork Loin, Roasted Leg of Lamb and Gaucho-Style Beef Ribs. Each chapter also includes sides and desserts.
I really enjoyed this book, especially in how it covers churrasco completely from the story behind it to the great food. I have no doubt that you’ll like this book as well.
As much as we all enjoy being outdoors – especially when it comes to cooking – it’s no surprise to know how many homes these days have fire pits, whether it’s the self-built kind with bricks or the metal fire pits that are available at every home improvement store. And once you have a fire pit of your own you’ll very soon be cooking over it, likely beginning with hot dogs and s’mores and then progressing to burgers or steaks on a grate over the fire. Well now there is a new book that can provide even more ideas, Fire Pit Cooking by Vanessa Bante ($15.99, Gibbs Smith, 128 pp.).
This book makes the assumption that we all know how to do hot dogs and s’mores, so if you’re looking for that you’ll find it missing from these pages. Instead it launches right into new creative ideas such as Donut Grilled cheese Breakfast Sandwich and Breakfast Biscuit Cups in the chapter titled At Sunrise. Other parts of the book are subdivided into the equipment you would use to cook, such Fire Pit Fries or Flame-Grilled Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla prepared with a grilling basket. You’ll even find dishes like Maple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Steamed Mussels with Mustard Sauce in the Wrapped in Foil section (we always called those hobo packets). And just so you won’t be disappointed there are some s’mores recipes, but I’d dare say they’re not the sort you may have tried before – Rice Krispie Treat S’mores and Cookie S’mores with Hershey’s Chocolate.
All in all, it’s a great book with an original slant on its topic and will surely provide you with some show-off ideas for the next time you have the neighbors over for drinks around the fire pit. Enjoy!
When I saw this last book, I instantly knew it would have a certain level of appeal around here. If you know anyone who has ever overdone it a bit – if you know what I mean – and arose the next day feeling significantly less than their best, this is a must have book for them.
Coming to the rescue of those who are suffering the “brown bottle flu” on the morning after is the new book, 101 Hangover Recipes: Beat the Booze With These Tasty Recipes For Morning-After Munchies by Dan Vaux-Nobes ($19.95, Ryland Peters & Small, 144 pp.). And while it may not be the first book geared to recovery for the overimbibing sort, it is easily the best cookbook version I’ve come across. There are over 100 recipes, each one complemented by a full-color picture of the finished dish. The recipes are grouped by chapters, which go (in order) Juices, Smoothies and Shakes; Breakfast; Quick Fixes; Healthy and (Pseudo) Scientific Meals; Hair of the Dog Cocktails; Hunger Busters; Carb Loading and Sugar Bombs. Those chapter titles just seem like the sort of categories you’d need to choose from when you come forth on the day after.
You’ll find recipes for Morning Cleanser and Rocket Fuel in the chapter on Juices, Smoothies and Shakes. If those don’t revive you, take a look at the offerings in the Hair of the Dog Cocktails chapter – Corpse Reviver, Vodka Espresso and The Elvis, among others. The solid food offerings include A Good Bacon Sandwich, Crunchy Roast Pork, Ultimate Restaurant Burger, Huevos Rancheros and The Greatest Cookies. For the record, I didn’t find an option anywhere that instructed one to put on a cap and dark sunglasses and head to the McDonald’s drive-thru.
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