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Six great books for grillers or barbecuers

  • Charlotte Observer
  • Published Tuesday, June 3, 2014, at 12 a.m.

We’re always torn when we look at new outdoor cooking books. Are they barbecue books or grilling books? As real aficionados of raking food over coals know, barbecue and grilling aren’t the same things.

Barbecue fans want intensive cooking projects that can take hours and involve large pieces of meat. Grillers want something they can cook on the patio for dinner.

Here are six new cookbooks that work for both groups.

“Fire & Smoke: A Pitmaster’s Secrets”

By Chris Lilly (Clarkson Potter, $24.99)

Lilly is executive chef of the Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q chain and a figure on the barbecue competition circuit. This hits both barbecue and grilling. It includes a primer on grill types from kamodo (Big Green Egg) to Cuban roasting box, and recipes for serious barbecue like St. Louis ribs and easier burgers and sides. Unusual: A whole chapter on pork belly and bacon and grilled cocktails, like grilled-peach sangria.

“Weber’s Big Book of Burgers”

By Jamie Purviance (Sunset/Weber, $21.95)

The beauty of grilling burgers is that you can go basic and get plenty of payoff, or fire up the inner foodie with ingredients like Camembert and red onion jam. This volume does it all. Does the world really need a quinoa and pinto bean “burger”? Maybe. A gaucho burger (ground chuck and hot Italian sausage) with fried egg and chimichurri?

“Guy On Fire”

By Guy Fieri (William Morrow, $29.99)

Fieri’s antics make us roll our eyes, but this plays to his strengths in party-ready food. It has a useful chapter on grilling basics and recipes that can shake up your patio life, like his famous Volcano Sauce.

“The Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook”

Edited by Pete Kaminsky (Sterling Epicure, $24.95)

Weighty, serious and a little dry, this brings together recipes from the Times food-writing stable, like Craig Claiborne and Molly O’Neill. It covers a wide range, from burgers to shellfish.

“Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond”

By David Ponte, Jamie Barber and Lizzy Barber (Sterling Epicure, $24.95)

Summer cooking ought to be fun, and this colorful book begs for a party, with recipes like a beer-can chicken twist based on the caipirinha cocktail and Parmesan-crusted pork tenderloin.

“Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room”

By Melissa Cookston (Andrews McMeel, $22.99)

Great title – and good book. Cookston is a serious barbecuer who has twice been Grand Champion of Memphis in May and now owns restaurants in Mississippi and Fayetteville, N.C. Her recipes are traditional favorites, like ribs and sides.

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