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Dinosaur Bar-B-Que:
An American Roadhouse
By John Stage and Nancy Radke; Photos by James Scherzi
ISBN: 1580089712
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication date: May 2009
Format: Paperback
Number of recipes: 104
List price: $19.95
Type: Entertaining: Grilling & Barbecue; Restaurant
Sample recipe: State Fair Sausage & Pepper Sandwich
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 all/mostly 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: This is not a subtle book – it is in fact a book with personality. It is the paperback version of the hardcover book that came out in 2001, and is based on the cooking (and jazz, motorcycles, bathroom graffiti, and tattoo art) of the "honky-tonk rib joint" of the same name in Syracuse, New York (and now Rochester and New York City, as well.)

In addition to the history of the roadhouse and its colorful founders, chapters cover starters (wings, drunken shrimp, Creole Deviled Eggs, salsa, guacamole, Mississippi-Style Catfish Strips), beef, chicken, fish, lamb, pork, sides (slaw, rice, beans, Cajun Corn, fries, corn bread, Garlic & Cheddar Grits), soups and leftovers (hash, jambalaya, Texas Red Chili, Soulful Stew), desserts, and barbecue staples. The last section includes "Mutha Sauce" (which is used in nearly every recipe), and Creole Seasoning and Mojito Marinade (which only seem like they're used in every recipe), and a variety of other rubs, seasonings, dressings, and stocks.

That the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is grounded in upstate New York, but mixes Cuban, Memphis, Texas, Cajun and other cooking styles and ingredients seems barely worth mentioning. After all, the book implies (well, screams), shouldn’t people in the Northeast (and with the book – people everywhere) have access to Southern barbecue and flavorful ethnic "grub" anytime and anywhere? What's geography, after all, when you can whip up Drunken Spicy Shameless Shrimp with Brazen Cocktail Sauce, Not Your Mama's Meatloaf, and Dinosaur-Style Ribs in the comfort of your own kitchen and on your own grill?

And yes, we did mean to state that the layout is cluttered and kind, the legibility is challenging and clear, and the overall tone is trying too hard (occasionally) and that of a good friend. It is, after all, a book with personality….


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