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

Fire It Up! - Cookbook Review

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There are three cookbook author’s whose newest efforts I will always buy without even looking inside. The first author is Stephen Raichlen, the second is Jamie Purveyance who authors Weber’s cookbooks. Lastly is Andrew Schloss and David Joachim whose last cookbook MASTERING THE GRILL is among my top three favorite cookbooks. Fire It Up! is their second effort. I was walking through Barnes & Noble and saw this book on a shelf with other new offerings I turned it over to read the description on the back cover. When I saw it was by the authors of MASTERING THE GRILL, I simply started walking to the cash register.


This reuben panini grilled a slice of thick corned beef before it gets diced up and added to diced Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. The rye bread gets coated with a mustard butter blend before grilling. End result: A familiar yet different take on a reuben.

MASTERING THE GRILL was one of my favorite cookbooks. I particularly liked the fact they felt cooking was equal parts art and science. Knowledge of both are the keys to successful cooking. This book continues that methodology, but does a little better job mixing the science into the art. The author’s present the recipes plus provide the background information needed for success. This background info can consist of techniques for choosing the right cut, describing proper prep or cooking techniques. What I like about these recipes is you can make them knowing you are armed with all of the tools and techniques needed for success. Many cookbooks leave things out or assume everyone has the same knowledge level. This cookbook has many unique recipes and arms you with everything you need to make it.


This “simple” 14 ingredient BBQ sauce was one of the best I’ve ever had. This Smokey Rib-eye with Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe took a not so great steak and elevated it to a new level.

Fire It Up! is just over 400 pages and contain over 400 recipes. There are a total of 15 chapters. The first chapter describes Grilling Methods and Equipment. The second chapter consists or recipes for spices, rubs and marinades used for the main recipes throughout the book. The remaining chapters are categorized by the different food types. There are some of the usual suspects like Beef, Pork & Lamb. Most cookbooks will have a few Veal recipes mixed in with the Beef. Fire It Up! has a whole chapter on Veal. It has some other unusual chapters too. In addition to Lamb, there is another chapter on Goat, Bison and Other Game Meat. There is the usual Chicken and Turkey chapter, but there is also a whole chapter on Duck, Goose & Game Birds. The is a chapter on Fish, followed by one on Crustaceans & Mollusks. The remaining 4 chapters a Vegetables, Fruit, Cheese, Dairy Food & Eggs and lastly Bread, Sandwiches, Cakes and Cookies.


How many times have you put something in the marinade AFTER you’ve grilled it.? This Grilled Cod Escabeche recipe had you put the fish in the marinade for 6-48 hours AFTER it was grilled. The fish was wonderful and this recipe represents some of the creative recipes in Fire It Up!

Now I probably won’t make some of the items such as goat, bison, game birds etc. But then again you never know. I’ve got friends who hunt and in the past have offered me some of the fruits of their labors. In the past I’ve said no because I really didn’t know how to cook these items. Next time I might just say yes because Fire It Up! contains reliable recipes and background information that will allow me to be successful. How do I know this. Easy, Mastering the Grill got me through some recipes that were problems in the past. They explained the keys to success and if necessary used some new techniques to achieve it. I’ve made 24 recipes from MASTERING THE GRILL and now Fire It Up! and they have all turned out perfectly. The directions were clear and precise and the resulting dishes have been consistently above average or better. this gives me the confidence to try anything in the book, including recipes for new food types I’ve never made before. Fire It Up! not only covers food groups that are unusual, it also covers some unusual cuts of meat in the more common Beef, Lamb, Pork & Poultry categories. The usual cuts are well represented plus some unusual ones. In beef you have things such as Beef Heart Kebabs, Bourbon Braised Marrow Bones, Barbecued Oxtails, and Barbecued Beef Cheeks. Although I have only owned the book for a few months, I would dare say there isn’t too much you can’t make. And make it with confidence the authors have your back.


These nachos featured turkey thigh meat with a spicy rub and a spicy filling that was definitely not the same old, same old.

What have I tried so far? I started off making TWICED GRILLED REUBEN PANINIS. These put a different twist on the classic reuben, by grilling a thick slice of corned beef and then dicing it and mixing it with diced Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. These are placed on slices of rye bread which have been coated with a butter and mustard blend. It is about the best reuben I’ve tried. The next item was a steak recipe called Smokey Top Sirloin with homemade BBQ sauce. This recipe was intended to take a less than ideal cut of steak and make it memorable. There was a marinade and rub employed plus a the BBQ sauce. I couldn’t find a top sirloin and so I used a cheaper grade rib-eye to great success. I renamed the recipe to SMOKEY RIB-EYES WITH HOMEMADE BBQ SAUCE here on the site. The steak was tender and tasty and the BBQ sauce was among the best I’ve tried. Next up was GRILLED COD ESCABECHE which used a very spicy rub on the cod, which was then grilled. The marinade went on AFTER the cod was grilled. The fish went in the marinade for 6 to 24 hours and is served at room temperature. It was outstanding! I then tried some BBQ TURKEY POBLANO NACHOS which was a new twist on an old favorite. Yesterday I made CHIMICHURRI BEEF KEBABS WITH YAMS & CHORIZO. These were different than any kebabs I’ve made before and were fantastic.


These Chimichurri Beef Kebabs with Yams & Chorizzo featured unusual ingredients (yams & chorizzo) and added a chimichurri sauce to bring out the flavors in everything.

So if you are looking for a well thought out cookbook that will give you new twists on old favorites as well as some new recipes for items that will hopefully become new favorites, check out Fire It Up!. Also if you want some more recipes like you find in Fire It Up! be sure to check out MASTERING THE GRILL.






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