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The Big Book of Barbecue Side Dishes
By Rick Browne
ISBN: 1416205357
Publisher: Sellers Publishing
Publication date: February 2009
Format: Paperback
List price: $16.95 
Type: Barbecue; Side Dishes; Entertaining
Sample recipe: Grilled Avocado with Strawberry-Mango Salsa
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive coffee-table Biblical stature
Competition: outclassed follower in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
# of recipes: <50 <100 <200 <300 ≥300
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: 7-Eleven airfare required online pantry supermarket
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose bare-bones full-figured educational
Time conscious: unconscious outright lies white lies realistic honorable
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant balanced generous
Photos/drawings: none distracting decorative instructive 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 considerate work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging tolerable clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy dubious years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: non-existent hard-to-find spotty sufficient every page
Table of contents: AWOL frustrating passable useful excellent
Index quality: none tragic adequate good a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writer: beginner food writer writing cook personality auteur
Cook: unknown self-taught chef teacher celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short almost there satisfactory exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward best 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: It's so easy to grill up a hunk or multiple hunks of meat. It's often not as easy to know what to serve alongside. This book comes to the rescue, with more than 125 side-dish recipes especially suited to accompanying grilled main dishes.

Written by the host of the PBS series Barbecue America, the recipes are grouped in chapters that cover salads, breads, pasta, vegetables, rice, beans, casseroles, salsas, potatoes, and fruits. Some recipes are decidedly old fashioned; others are more current (we are not ashamed of our inclination towards the old favorites).

There is something here to offend everyone. There are some unexpected recipes – Yorkshire Pudding, for example, which we have never thought of as barbecue or picnic food, and Root Beer Barbecue Beans (substitute Cherry Coke, if you like). There is at least one recipe each that uses Velveeta, instant mashed potatoes, canned soup, and canned vegetables. There is a huge amount of butter used in Firehouse Rice and a huge amount of cream in Garlic and Parmesan Spuds, even by our standards. Why specify chicken stock base and water in one recipe instead of chicken stock (even if most people will use chicken stock base and water no matter what you write)? And in the Hawaiian Baked Beans, there should be some instruction about removing the pineapple core before cutting up the rest of the fruit.

Food snobs will not appreciate this book. But on the whole, there's a lot to like, and everyone else who has the responsibility for coming up with side dishes to accompany barbecue meals (or any other main dish, really) will appreciate the variety and the ease with which these recipes go together.


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