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25 Essentials: Techniques for Grilling
By Ardie A. Davis
ISBN: 1558323929
Publisher: Harvard Common Press
Publication date: March 2009
Format: Hardcover, spiral bound
List price: $12.95 
Type: Grilling
Sample recipe: Perfectly Grilled Burgers
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: This small book sets out to prove that grilling is not rocket science – it just requires the mastery of a few essential techniques, well, 25 of them.

More than a few have to do with the use of special equipment – grilling with a plank, a grill basket, a wok, skewers, a foil packet, foil-covered bricks, etc.; while others have to do with techniques for specific foods – duck, whole fish, fish fillets, shellfish, whole birds, chicken wings, corn, peppers, fruit, etc.

Along the way, you wind up with recipes for starters, main dishes, side dishes, and one dessert (the grilled fruit). It's a little hard to see where some of these are essential "techniques" and not just recipes: grilling with a marinade, grilling burgers, grilling ribs, for example, but there is probably at least one lesson to be learned from each, so we'll give full credit for 25 grilling techniques. Almost all are relevant to gas and charcoal grills, though grilling directly on coals (Technique #6) obviously can't be done with gas.

There are a few terms that missed the book's "basic tool kit" – mumbo sauce (a barbecue sauce developed in Chicago in 1957, but used here generically) and cast-iron Tuscan grill (a grill rack on raised legs), among them.

The author judges barbecue contests under the name Remus Powers, the "founder of Greasehouse University," which bestows the Ph.B. (doctor of barbecue philosophy) degrees. It's a very straightforward book from someone you'd expect would be more of a character, even if only using the written word….


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