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Not your ordinary barbecue

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
summit daily news

Just in time for Memorial Day, Steven Raichlen orients barbecue lovers to 309 recipes he discovered in 60 countries.

The hefty, 638-page book takes tasters on “an electrifying journey around the world’s barbecue trail,” with award-winning cookbook author, journalist and PBS television host Raichlen breaking down all the ingredients you’ll need to grill the most scrumptious cuisine. Yes, cuisine. We’re not just talking throwing some ribs on the barbie and slathering sauce on. Raichlen takes grilling to the next level with fire-charred vegetable dips; made-from-scratch naan finished with pumpkin, poppy and nigella seeds; and even grilled ice cream.

The collection is a culmination of Raichlen’s five-year journey ranging from Australia to Indonesia, Asia, Russia, Europe, Kenya, Morocco, South and Central America, Mexico, Canada, and of course, the good ole U.S.

Each recipe includes an introduction to the food (for example, “lechon” is Spanish for suckling pig, under the Philippines’ “lechon manok,” or lemongrass rotisserie chicken), a list of ingredients (for this one, Raichlen assures cooks that despite the alarming number of components, prep time shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes), Just the Facts (exactly what kind of fish sauce to use), stories about Raichlen’s travel and grill masters he met along the way, as well as a primer on each country, its flavors, condiments, must-try dishes and more.

Photos – more than 600 of them – range from those of the countries and their residents to full-pagers teasing the dish or step-by-step instructions, for example, how to spatchcock a chicken.

Introductory chapters acquaint readers with the discovery of fire and the invention of barbecue, from slow smoke roasting to direct grilling over a hot station. In fact, Raichlen presents a time line of 2 million years in barbecue history – in 2,000 words. The last chapter provides all of the nuts and bolts of live-fire cooking, including grilling methods, fuels and lighting, the six “most important” types of grills (open, covered, vessel, smoker, rotisserie and campfire), and how to clean and maintain equipment.

But what makes “Planet Barbecue!” most fun is its expositions of each country. Learning about the dishes -and even how to eat them – as well as all of the countries’ vital barbecuing statistics and people profiles, enhances readers’ experience with not only the food, but also the place.


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