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Goodcooking.com Cookbook Review---

Title: BBQ 25
Author: Adam Perry Lang
65 pages; Rigid Softcover $19.99 US
Publisher: 2010 HarperCollins Publishers, NY, NY
Reviewed by: Chef John Vyhnanek, June, 2010


The review---

BBQ 25 is an interesting title and refers to the twenty five recipes that are featured in the book. The author says that the 25 are the most frequent recipes that he and we cook most of the time. The moment you pick up this book you can sense something different. It’s colorful inside and out with lots of pictures depicting everything from ingredients, technique to the finished barbecued plate. An interesting feature is the binding of the book which folds out to allow for the book to lay flat for easy reading, somewhat like a children’s book, and to avoid having you lose the page of the recipe. The pages of the book are glossy and will allow you to wipe off any smudge that might get on it during the prep process while on the kitchen counter.

In the first few pages you will find a short but informative listing of terminology referring to BBQ along with some helpful hints. Diving in to the recipes, the pages are laid out in such a manner that one recipe along with a list of tools required and techniques used are on facing pages along with the recipe itself and the cooking method. (See the picture below.) The photograph that accompanies each recipe is top notch and will give a beginner or a pro something to compare their mis en place with. Mis en place is a French term used in cooking to mean everything in its place, all the ingredients for the recipe are placed on a tray and all are ready before the actual cooking begins.

I tried the recipe for BBQ Chuck Steaks # 3 on page 12 & 13. Chuck is one cut of meat that is often overlooked for grilling because it is fatty and tends to be a bit tougher than rib-eyes, sirloins or tenderloin. One advantage is that what it lacks in tenderness it makes up for in flavor---it’s a very tasty piece of meat. The restaurant chef’s secret to making it tender is to cook it to medium-rare and to slice it very thin and across the grain. So my recommendation is not to give a whole chunk to your guest but rather to slice it for them. The recipe the author uses has a very flavorful marinade and suggests marinating the meat for about 24 hours. I marinated for 3 hours and was very satisfied with the resulting flavor because I could still taste the beefiness if the steak. I followed the cooking instructions and used what the author calls “board dressing”, a blend of olive oil, chopped parsley, Kosher salt and ground black pepper. The board dressing was poured over the steak and the steak dipped in it before serving. The result---delicious!

There are other recipes with the great pictures through the book so whether you BBQ a pork tenderloin or lamb chops you will have great insight into the secrets of grilling. Author Adam Perry Lang has a nice book here, its meant to be kept grill side for quick reference. Do you know someone who loves to grill but who’s still a step or two away from being great? Well buy them this book and they will become a Grill Master or Mistress in no time!

Chuck Steaks & Leaner-Cut Steaks
Serves 8

Ingredients for Marinade

2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp grated or finely chopped sweet white onion
2 Tbsp grated or finely chopped garlic
2 Tbsp garlic salt
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 cup cold water
2 Tbsp pure chile powder
(optional)

Ingredients for Seasoning
Sea salt or kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil or vegetable oil
Baste (page 4)
Board Dressing (page 5)

Preparation
Marinade

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl or sealable plastic bag.

Mix and crush the ingredients with your hands, directly or through the bag, squeezing them to release the maximum flavor.

Put the steaks in the marinade and let them absorb the flavors for at least 1 hour, and up to 24 hours.
If marinating for longer than 3 hours, refrigerate the steaks.

Cooking Method
Direct Grilling

Preheat the BBQ to medium-high. Drain the steaks and pat dry with
paper towels, Season lightly with salt and pepper and glisten with canola oil.

Put the meat on the well-oiled grill and cook until rare (or cook
to desired doneness).

Press the meat as needed throughout the cooking process with a bacon press or foil-wrapped brick to maintain grill contact and baste regularly, using a regular brush or Herb Brush (see page 4);
flip the steaks as necessary.

When the steaks are nicely caramelized and charred on both sides, approximately 12 minutes total, they are done.

Pour the board dressing onto a cutting board and slice the steaks, turning to coat the slices.

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