With Memorial Day behind us, grilling season is fast approaching, and with it all the unresolved questions of the past.
Like, can I cook chicken drumsticks so they’re not charcoal outside and bloody inside? Or, how can I get the most out of this seriously expensive fresh swordfish steak?
Or even, after the unkind remarks about my grilling skills the last time I offered guests frozen beef patties, how can I cook a burger that brings not only joy, but apologies for being snotty?
“The Grilling Book” has all the answers you need, whether you’re a rookie at outdoor flame-meets-food cooking or a seasoned veteran looking to blow the competition away at a grilling-centered backyard chef throwdown.
“When I was a kid, my father used to drench charcoal briquettes in lighter fluid, and he’d engulf the big black kettle grill in a tower of flames,” Bon Appetit Editor Adam Rapoport writes in the introduction. “He’d then grill a big slab of cheap steak until it was blackened and overcooked.”
The book carries the Bon Appetit brand proudly into hardcover territory with chapters that provide basic instructions for the novice, and fine points for the more sophisticated.
Nothing is taken for granted in the introductory chapter, called “Grill Prep” because it’s about the thinking a cook should do, and questions they should answer, before starting any fires. “So when it says season it well with salt and pepper, what’s that mean exactly?” Here’s the full-page answer.
The photographs are one of the book’s selling points. They’re full-page so they provide enough detail to guess if you’re doing it right, and they’re beautiful enough to provide inspiration when you’re not sure what you want to cook.
Chapters include chicken, burgers and dogs, beef, pork, lamb, fish, shellfish, flatbreads and pizza, sides and salads, drinks and sauces. All of the 380 recipes in the book were previously published in Bon Appetit magazine, Rapoport notes. That means that each one has passed muster in the Bon Appetit test kitchen, which doesn’t seem to have much time for recipes that merely taste good, and aren’t a feast for the eye as well.
They’re also world-tested. Yes, “The Grilling Book” will help you make a dynamite ribeye steak or beer-can chicken. It’ll also help you get the hang of grilled clams with lemon-ginger butter, and Cambodian style ginger-honey baby back ribs. “If there’s one form of cooking that unites the cultures of the world,” Rapoport observes, “it’s grilling.”