Summer Reading

GOODS: Best outdoor cookbooks

ice cream

Homemade Gelato

There’s no dearth of summer entertaining and grilling cookbooks on bookstore shelves these days, but in the process of testing recipes for this story, the following tomes were particularly helpful.

Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue (Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, 2005)

The scientific minutiae and step-by-step guides that lie within this hefty manual from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine (affiliated with the popular TV show America’s Test Kitchen) serve to educate the amateur barbecuer as well as the seasoned backyard griller on everything from the pros and cons of gas and charcoal grills to recreating Texas-style barbecued ribs at home.

The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining: Spirited Recipes and Expert Tips for Barbecuing, Charcoal and Gas Grilling, Rotisserie Roasting, Smoking, Deep-Frying and Making Merry, by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison (Morrow Cookbooks, 2006)

“Party time tips” are sprinkled throughout this 544-page ode to outdoor cooking and entertaining. From “Seasoning 101” to “How to Build a Fire,” this book covers all the bases for a memorable outdoor get-together.

Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue: Barbecue Your Way to Greatness With 575 Lip-Smackin’ Recipes From the Baron of Barbecue, by Paul Kirk (Harvard Common Press, 2004)

Certified master barbecue judge and Kansas City “baron of barbecue” lets us in on the secrets of world-famous ’cuers and offers us delicious recipes and anecdotes from his adventures in the cutthroat world of barbecuing championships.

How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques, by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2001)

The king of barbecue bibles provides an illustrative, straightforward instructional guide to ’cuing with over 100 recipes, more than 1,000 instructional photographs and endless tips for stocking the essential tools and building a succesful fire.


GOODS: Disposable grills

Does barbecuing conjure images of an über-male grunting in front of a $5,000 stainless-steel supergrill, wielding an enormous pair of tongs? At the opposite end of the spectrum, disposable grills are a cheap ($3-4) option for those only interested in dipping a toe into the barbecuing way of life—and also a resourceful way to take the ’cue with you, even far from that custom-designed patio. The grills usually consist of aluminum pans (like the disposable ones sold for turkey roasting around Thanksgiving) filled with briquettes and a cooking grid on top—perfect for grilling dogs and burgers just about anywhere. And when you’re done, just toss it into the nearest trash bin. Chains such as Fred Meyer (888-247-4439) and Rite Aid (800-748-3243) carry disposable grills; some even come with a stand so you don’t have to get down on your hands and knees to cook your supper. —Chad Greenwood