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25 Essentials: Techniques for Smoking
By Ardie A. Davis
ISBN: 1558323937
Publisher: Harvard Common Press
Publication date: April 2009
Format: Hardcover, spiral bound
List price: $12.95
Type:Grilling & Smoking; Entertaining
Sample recipe:This Bird's for You Beer-Can Chicken
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:Author Ardie A. Davis says these techniques represent real, true barbecue, the hallmarks of which are "low-and-slow" vs. "hot-and-fast" cooking, with minimal seasonings (letting the central ingredient provide the flavor, rather than heavy sauces and spices). He says no matter how long the total cooking time, the smoking process should not last more than 45 minutes to an hour, after which point, the food tends to get bitter.

This is the first book in a while with the courage to state that most of the recipes are only suited for charcoal or wood fires. Some of them take so long, they are not practical on gas grills (there are exceptions, and they are noted in the text). Each technique offers suggestions for the wood to be used to generate the smoke.

Among the 25 techniques highlighted in the book are smoking whole vegetables, high-heat smoking, glazing and smoking ribs, slathering and rubbing ribs, smoking brisket, rotisserie smoking, mopping, brining, marinating, smoking duck, smoking fish (whole fish and shellfish), spray basting and crisping, and creating a "bark" (crust). Recipes that highlight the techniques include starters and sides (onions, garlic, chile pie, chile poppers, root vegetables), and main dishes (salmon, trout, shrimp, brisket, short ribs, prime rib, tenderloin, spare ribs, baby back ribs, pork shoulder, chicken, turkey, duck, and more).

It's a little book, but it would be a great gift for someone wanting to broaden his or her barbecue horizons.


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