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Serious Barbecue:
Smoke, Char, Baste, & Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking
By Adam Perry Lang, with J.J. Lang and Amy Vogler; photos by David Loftus
ISBN: 1401323065
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication date: May 2009
Format: Hardcover
Number of recipes: 133
List price: $35
Type: Entertaining: Barbecue
Sample recipe: Marinated Skirt Steak with Garlic and Cilantro
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive encyclopedia coffee-table
Meal part: all breakfast/brunch lunch dinner dessert
Competition: outclassed a bit behind in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: airfare required online specialty store supermarket pantry
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose minimal complete educational
Time conscious: not conscious bald lies white lies realistic scout's honor
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant ample generous
Photos/drawings: none drawings b&w photos occasional color mostly/all color
Art contribution: disappointing distracting decorative beautiful glorious
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine kind work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging ok clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy delicate years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: hard-to-find spotty sufficient most pages every page
Table of contents: missing frustrating minimal helpful excellent
Index: none confusing adequate nice a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writing history: beginner writer/journalist food writer writing cook personality
Cooking heritage: unknown self-taught teacher chef celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short satisfactory successful exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward good friend mom
Value: ouch! a little pricey worth splurging on the money a deal
Overall rating: skip it good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

Comments: How committed are you to barbecue? Does a recipe with five or more distinct processes (a brine, injection, baste, paste, seasoning blend, herb bundle, wrapping mixture, braising base, glaze, finishing dressing, mustard moisturizer, finishing sauce, resting butter, and/or BBQ sauce) encompassing as many as 40 ingredients scare the innards out of you? Or does it get your juices going?

Because this is probably the best barbecue book on the market. It's just not for the faint of heart. Or those who don't like books with lots of words.

Adam Perry Lang is a classically trained chef whose early/mid-life crisis involved finding out that he liked barbecue as much as or more than fancy French food. So he entered (and won) a number of barbecue contests, opened a barbecue joint in New York City, and created recipes that confident cooks will love to recreate on the grill, in the smoker, and over open flames.

He is relentless in adding flavor to meat, making herb bundles to mop on a sauce, rather than using silicon brushes. He pours flavored butter on the cutting board so that the meat soaks up flavor as it rests and again when it is cut. He doesn't seem happy unless there are at least three processes (or four or five or six) and a dozen steps in the instructions taking the meat from start to finish (actually, there are a number of simple recipes, but they all jack up the flavor).

Lang also claims to offer at least one recipe for any cut of meat in the supermarket. So if you picked up something huge and inexpensive, you should have a great recipe available. If you picked up something expensive for a feast, likewise, you should have it under control. Chapters cover pork, beef and veal, lamb, chicken and turkey, side dishes, basic recipes (several sauces, herb bundles, sprays, butters, crumbs, dressings, etc.), a lengthy section on "barbecue basics," a short section on the science of barbecue, and a section on where you can buy specialty meats, and tools, and ethnic foods, and other ingredients and seasonings.

If you want to take your barbecue to the next level – or many next levels – this is the book with which to do it.


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