Wicked Good Barbecue – Book Review

Wicked Good Barbecue – Book Review

Wicked Good Barbecue

For Father’s Day I received a copy of Chris Hart and Andy Husbands barbecue book, “Wicked Good Barbecue” from my son Liam.  This book has been on my wish list for a while and I was quite pleased that as a 6 month old he remembered. Smart Kid!  I have been reading it for a while now and realized that it is so good that I need to do a review of it on my blog.

A little background.  Chris Hart and Andy Husbands are professional barbecuers who won the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue Competition with their team IQUE.  I have competed against Chris Hart a couple of times and he knows what is up.  Most recently I competed against Chris Hart at the Sam’s Club Qualifier out on Long Island, NY.  I had him over to my bbq camp and he was gracious enough to sign my book.  I picked his brain a bit and I must say that these guys know what is up.  These guys have the credential and their book did hold up to the hype.

Usually when you get a barbecue book you get a watered down boring book that has a rub recipe.  This book puts all prior barbecue books to shame. Not only did they include the recipe for their rub and sauce, they included their method of cooking competition chicken.  All 25 steps.  As a competitor I was amazed that they actually gave all of the steps.  You could follow the recipe and place in the top ten at any contest with the recipe in the book.  This is amazing!

The one recipe that totally threw me was the Seven-Layer Dip of Disbelief.  We are talking about a dip with the following layers.

  1. Old Bay Shredded Beef Short Ribs
  2. Crab Remoulade
  3. Beef Tartare
  4. Smoked Salmon Spread
  5. Creamed Spinach
  6. Celery Root Puree
  7. Blue Cheese Crumble
  8. Then they threw in another layer of bread crumbs for good measure.
That is the most insane dip ever.  When I ran into Chris I had to ask if he actually made the dip.  It seemed to crazy for anyone to try.  He said that he did indeed try it and that it is great, and each component is great on its own.  With one recipe he got in 8 total recipes.  Genius!
Overall this is a great book.  It covers all of the basic KCBS categories.  The rib recipe is the recipe he used to win the Jack.  Can’t beat that.  I totally recommend this book.  You can pick it up at your favorite bookseller or online at Amazon.


Book Review: Weber’s Charcoal Grilling

Book Review: Weber’s Charcoal Grilling

Jamie Purviance has done it again. Weber’s Charcoal Grilling is the perfect book for the summer.  This book has all of the basics for the beginner and over a hundred recipes that even an expert would love.  This is the best book I have come across for the charcoal lover.

When Weber puts their name on something it has to be quality. From the Grills to the Grill tools to the Cookbooks. When they say step-by-step they really mean step-by-step. They include photos on how to prepare the grill, prepare the meat and vegetables and proper ways to cook the meat and vegetables. I love this book as each recipe is written in a similar way to my blog posts. Straight forward, step-by-step photos with a little character thrown in for a little extra pizazz.

As soon as I opened this book I started planning meals.  The first recipe that I tried was the BLT salad.  With charred bread croutons and fire roasted tomatoes, this was a salad for men and women alike.  Heck, the main ingredient is bacon.  Who could not love this salad.  After making it, I declare, All salads made by me must have fire roasted tomatoes on them.  It was one of the most delicious salads I have ever eaten.

Overall this is my new favorite cookbook ever.  Just like Weber’s/Purviance’s other book, It takes the mystery out of grilling.  It is a single resource that includes everything a griller would need to know.  If you know a person that just picked up a grill or a long time griller that could use a few new tricks to spice up the summer barbecue, you should get them this book.  I consider myself a pretty experienced griller and this book has taught me a few new tricks.

On a side note – If you are Jamie Purviance and you ever find yourself in Richmond, VA email me.  I would love to share some recipes and grill.

Weber’s Charcoal Grilling is available wherever books are sold and is available on Amazon here.

Book Review: The Cocktail Primer

The Cocktail Primer
The Cocktail Primer

This weekend my friends came over and helped me build a home bar in my basement.  It is pretty sweet.  I will post pictures once it is finished.  However, this was the perfect time to Review the Book, “The Cocktail Primer” by Eben Klemm.  This is a great book on the basic cocktail.  It goes over the makeup and level of complexity of each drink and further links the drinks together by drink family.  Along with drink recipes, Klemm discloses how to set up your home bar.  Everything from what spirits are necessary, to ingredients to have on hand all the way to the equipment that you will need.

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Book Review: Tips Cooks Love

Tips cooks love
Tips cooks love
The other day I received this book in the mail.  The concept of the book was intriguing.  Written by the culinary minds at Sur La Table with Rick Rodgers, Tips Cooks Love is a quick manual for home cooks.  It contains over 500 tips, techniques and short cuts that will make you a better cook.

This book is filled with tips and tricks to ease your time in the kitchen. Have you ever wondered how to bake even cake layers, how to perfectly roast a turkey, or the difference between the grades of meat. This book answers those questions and more. This book is organized alphabetically for quick reference. You are cooking eggs, turn to E and there is everything that you need to know. Fried, poached, hard boiled and even the difference between white and brown eggs.

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Book Review: The Bergoff Cafe Cookbook

Every Wednesday I review a cookbook and/or food related books to help weed out the good the bad and the ugly. This week I am reviewing The Berghoff Cafe Cookbook by Carlyn Berghoff and Nancy Ross Ryan. 

As a Midwesterner I frequent Chicago and I  have been to the Berghoff Cafe.  The Bergoff Cafe is a larger than life restaurant that is loud and extremely fun.  The best part about the Berghoff Cafe is their vast selection of Berghoff Beers.  I like the original Amber.  They also have amazing food.  My favorite is the beer cheese soup.  I discovered that they had a recipe for the soup in the book. 

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Book Reviews: Down Home With The Neelys

Every Wednesday I review a cookbook and/or food related books to help weed out the good the bad and the ugly. This week I am reviewing Down Home With The Neelys – A Southern Family Cookbook by Patrick and Gina Neely.

I am not the biggest fan of Down Home With The Neelys TV Show.  Not that I hate it, I think the food is great.  I find it quite lovey dovey and hard to watch.  You can only watch two people grind each other on the TV while they cook for so long.  I think the show would be a lot better with a little less PDA.  Based on that I figured the cookbook wouldn’t be the best.  However, I was completely wrong.  The book is nicely written, full of great stories and awesome recipes.

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Book Review: Weber’s Way To Grill

Every Wednesday I review a cookbook and/or food related books to help weed out the good the bad and the ugly. This week I am reviewing Weber’s Way to Grill – The step-by-step guide to expert grilling by Jamie Purviance.

I just purchased a quality Weber Grill and I figured if the grills were so nice, a cookbook with their name on it had to be of equal quality. I was not disappointed. This is probably the best step-by-step cookbook that I have ever read.

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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

One of my favorite cookies is the white chocolate macadamia nut cookie. Here in DC Macadamia Nuts are quite expensive so I have never picked them up. That all changed last Thursday when I went into the local giant and they had Macadamia Nuts on sale. Granted they were salted, but they still were extremely cheap.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie

As you can see, the cookies are jam packed with chocolate and nuts.

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Book Review: No Reservations

Every Wednesday I review a cookbook and/or food related books to help weed out the good the bad and the ugly. This week I am reviewing No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach by Anthony Bourdain.

I am a huge fan of Bourdain, I have all of his books. I enjoy all of them. Amazingly enough, this book was signed by Anthony Bourdain himself.  I ran into him at the DC Central Kitchen Food Fight.  He was hosting it with Jose Andreas.  He is one tall man with cowboy boots on.

I will not the celebrity encounter hinder my review of this book.

No Reservations is photo book of Bourdain’s journeys while hosting the TV show No Reservations. I decided to do this review in a question/answer format. You will see why.

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Book Review: The Scandinavian Cookbook

Every Wednesday I review a cookbook to help weed out the good the bad and the ugly. This week I am reviewing The Scandinavian Cookbook by Trina Hahnemann.  When I saw this book I had to have it.  Being Scandinavian in descent, I wanted to learn more about traditional Scandinavian cooking.  Yes, I am Swedish.  Hej – (“hello”).  This book covers recipes from all over Scandinavia, from Denmark to Norway and yes Sweden.

This cookbook is organized very differently than most. Actually, it is organized in a unique and extremely cool way. It is organized by month of the year, and the different types of food that you would eat during each month. Not just comfort food, but by the types of food that are in season. Seasonal cooking is a great to way to help the environment. Fresh corn shouldn’t be available in the winter. If it is, it has been shipped from halfway around the globe to your table. There is a lot of energy wasted in shipping food. Enough of me preaching, back to the book.

The cookbook starts out in January and goes through the months all the way to December. Along with the recipes there are a ton of great photographs of the food and seasonal pictures from all around Scandinavia. The photographs are amazing. Lars Renek is the man behind the beautiful photographs in this book. Bravo, Lars! Bravo! Even if I couldn’t read, this book would be amazing because of the photographs.

The recipes are equally amazing. A lot of the recipes are for Smørrebrød which are Danish open faced sandwiches.  They are preferably made with rye bread and are served with aquavit and beer.  They had me at sandwich and only sweetened the deal with the aquavit and beer.  The Smørrebrød come in all different types.  From flounder and shrimp with basil dressing to chicken and lovage salad.  I must admit, I had no idea what lovage was.  Lovage is a perrenial plant that resembles celery.  My favorite Smørrebrød that was in the book had to be the smoked cheese salad on rye.  Wow, a cheese salad.  The cheese used in the book is rygeost which is a soft smoked cheese from Denmark, but they say you can substitute smoked ricotta.  Along with cheese it uses a lot of the same ingredients that you would put into a tuna or chicken salad, but you substitute cheese for protein.  Amazing!  Why didn’t I think of this.  Scandinavian people are awesome!

The book also covers seasonal drinks.  From hot chocolate in the winter to red currant and strawberry smoothies in the summer.  Not all of the drinks are alcohol free.  Take for instance the elderflower cordial that utilizes fresh elderflowers picked when they bloom in June.  The elderflower cordial is diluted with champagne for a fresh taste of summer.

Being a Scandinavian cookbook there are plenty of seafood recipes.  There are recipes for almost every type of seafood.  From flounder to salmon to mussels to lumpfish roe.  I love seafood and usually find myself preparing most of it the same way.  For some reason when it comes to seafood, I am not creative.  This book has sparked my interest.  There is a recipe in here for cauliflower soup with grilled scallops.  The creamy cauliflower soup with the smokey grilled scallops topped with lemon, sounds delicious.  I am totally going to make this and post about it.

In all, I loved this book.  I love that it is organized by month and by what is in season.  It totally takes the guess work out of what to cook.  Open the book, turn to the current month, and make something amazing.  Although the cauliflower soup is listed in November, all of the ingredients are in season here in Washington, D.C.  It is my lucky day.  I would totally recommend picking up this book.  The recipes, pictures and stories are worth it.   Trina Hahnemann has written a great book.

The Scandinavian Cookbook is available wherever books are sold and is available on Amazon here.

Book Review: The Art and Soul of Baking

Every Wednesday I review a cookbook to help weed out the good the bad and the ugly. This week I am reviewing The Art & Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet. I love baking. I guess it is the engineer in me that loves the precise measurements and the ability to use cool cooking tools. Honestly, the fact that the recipes are so precise and need to be that precise is comforting to me. When it comes to precise measurements and exactness, this book does not disappoint. It includes conversion tables and measurements of ingredients based on weight. I love using kitchen scales. I may be weird, but this book is awesome.

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Book Review: 1001 Foods To Die For

Every Wednesday I review a cookbook to help weed out the good the bad and the ugly. This week I am reviewing 1001 Foods To Die For with Introduction by Corby Kummer. I have never been so excited to read a book.  I saw the name of this cookbook and I had to read it.  1001 foods that you must eat before you die, is that a statement or a challenge.  Either way, I am in. I love food and a book that introduces me to new cuisines and foods is exactly what I am looking for.

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Book Review: America’s Best BBQ

Every wednesday I review a cookbook to help weed out the good the bad and the ugly. This week I am reviewing America’s Best BBQ, 100 Recipes from America’s Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses and Restaurants. This book is co-written by Ardie A. Davis and Chef Paul Kirk. Both barbecue legends. Even being barbecue legends I don’t know how they pulled this one off. They went into the best barbecue restaurants in America and came out with recipes for some amazing food.

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