The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke

Planet Barbecue

I pre-ordered this book when it was announced in the early spring of 2010 and I couldn’t wait for it to finally arrive. When it did arrive I was knee deep in some other cookbooks and summer grilling magazines, so it took me a while to crack this book open andactually use it. Now that I have started using it, I am amazed at it’s scope and the wonderful variety of recipes. Steven Raichlen spent time traveling around the world in search of the best barbecue. The book has recipes from 60 different countries.

IMG_1160-Blog-300x225 . IMG_1168-Blog-300x225
Rotisserie Pineapple was a simple to make dessert which tasted great & made for great theater

My favorite Steven Raichlen cookbook is HOW TO GRILL What I like most about it is the sidebars with pictures illustrating the various techniques needed to make the recipe. Some of his other books are purely recipe based with very few “How To” pictures. This is fine assuming you have ammassed the necessary skills or have a copy of HOW TO GRILL and can pick up the techniques there. Planet Barbecue is illustrated with over 600 pictures. This is very important, since once again you are involved with new techniques and new cooking methods. There are also sidebars describing the region the food comes from or talking about a renown chef from that region. It would probably make a good coffee table book. I have had people that have no intention of making anything from the book, sit there and look at it for an hour. They’ve looked just for the pictures and information about the various barbecue cultures from around the world.

IMG_1387-Blog-300x225 . IMG_1394-Blog-300x225
Chicken Tikka Kebabs from Indian by way of Persia, had a two stage marinade that gave them both great flavor and great tenderness

Steven Raichlen’s Primal Grill TV show on PBS focusses on barbecue recipes from around the world, most of which are taken from this book. The current season, Season 3, in particular has been primarily recipes taken from this book. You can visit the Primal Grill website (link below) and look under Season 3 to find some sample recipes from Planet Barbecue. Season 3 only has a few first-run episodes left to go, but Planet Barbecue reruns often show up on the Create Network on cable. It is nice being able to see a recipe being made, particularly if it using a technique unique to some region of the world. I will also mention that some of the recipes on Primal Grill are made using the native grill or oven: an Indian Tandoor oven, a South American wood grill. All is not lost: Most of the time he mentions or shows how to do it with equipment the average person would own, but not 100 percent of the time. The Planet Barbecue cookbook is pretty god about explaining how to do it with stock North American gear. When Raichlen made the CHICKEN TIKKA KEBOBS he used a tandoor oven or a hibachi. Well there is no reason you can’t use a grill. One other thing to watch for, is there are sometimes differences in the recipes between Primal Grill and Planet Barbecue. Some of it can be explained by adapting for standard cooking gear, but some of it seems like tweaks. Just make sure to follow one recipe or the other and you will be fine. The CHICKEN TIKKA KEBOBS are an example of this. On the TV show he uses bigger pieces of chicken 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” (7.5 x 7.5 cm) vs. 1” x 1” (5 x 5 cm) for Planet Barbecue. He also makes more of the two stage marinade for the TV show, which is logical because you have more meat to cover. My point here is: You wouldn’t want to mix and match from the two recipes because you would end up with way too much or way to little marinade.

IMG_1506-Blog-300x225 . IMG_1527-Blog-300x225
Now I’ve had highly seasoned & smoked beef ribs before. But who knew simple seasoned rotisserie beef ribs could be so flavorful? Throw in a spicy dressing & you really have something.

So what have I liked that I’ve made so far? In a word: Everything. Between new combinations of spices or new ways of cooking, everything has been a bit of a revelation. It is so much fun trying new foods or new flavors that have never graced your mouth before. If I had to pick a favorite it would be the meal I made two weeks ago consisting of the MECHOUI OF LAMB WITH BERBER SPICES and the MOROCCAN GRILLED PEPPER SALAD. I have come to love Moroccan food with it’s wonderfully complex blends of herbs and spices. This meal was no exception. My dad, who as a rule does not like lamb surprised us all by loving this one. He even wanted to eat the leftovers I sent home with my mom, which he has never done before. My working theory on that one has to do with the way Moroccans cook their lamb - Well Done. This lamb was taken to 190 degrees as opposed to the 140 - 145 degrees we often cook our lamb to here. Another tasty dish was the BEEF & LAMB KOFTAS which are highly seasoned ground meat kebabs. Last night’s PIRI PIRI CHICKEN WINGS from South Africa were wings that had a bold and totally unique flavor.

IMG_1467-Blog-300x225 . IMG_1480-Blog-300x225
Mechoui of Lamb & a Grilled Pepper Salad - both from Morocco. A lamb so good even a lamb hater loved it.

I think what is most exciting to me is I’ve already had some truly great meals from this book and I’ve barely scratched the surface of the 300 plus recipes it contains. The 8 dishes I’ve made so far have been relatively easy to make and have offered wonderful new flavors. Most of these items are foods I probably never would have run across otherwise. All I can say is if you like trying new things, both in terms of cooking methods and combinations of ingredients, get this book. If you are unsure if you would like the food go to the Primal Grill website (link below). Check out the recipes from the episodes in Season 3. Most of them are from this book. If you try a couple, I think you will find there is a lot to like. I am 8 for 8 so far. Every time I make something, I find two or three other recipes I want to make. This is the start of a long and beautiful relationship.

Here are links for the Picture Entries for the items I’ve made from Planet Barbecue so far. There is also a link for the Primal Grill website where some of the recipes from Planet Barbecue can be found.

PRIMAL GRILL Website Entry with Recipes from the Primal Grill TV show on PBS. Many of these recipes are taken from Planet Barbecue.
  APRICOT CHUTNEY (Stuffing for Fruit Stuffed Leg of Lamb) - Lamb Picture Entry
  BEEF & LAMB KOFTAS Kebobs Picture Entry
  CHICKEN TIKKA KEBOBS Kebabs Picture Entry
  COCONUT GRILLED CORN Veggies Picture Entry
  PIRI PIRI CHICKEN WINGS Poultry Picture Entry
  SMOKED EGG PATE Other Picture Entry
  SPIESSBRATTEN Pork Picture Entry


blog comments powered by Disqus