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

Webers Time to Grill

I’ve written blog entries about cookbooks I’ve liked before, there is nothing new about that. But this time out I am writing a blog entry about a cookbook I haven’t even used yet. I am so excited about this particular cookbook, I can’t wait to get the word out. It is Weber’s Time to Grill by Jamie Purviance, author of Weber’s line of grilling cookbooks. I am a big fan of Jamie Purviance’s Weber cookbooks dating back to Weber’s Big Book of Grilling. I have made over 50 recipes from his books and they have all been very good, if not excellent. That is why after looking through this book yesterday I can recommend it without even trying any of the recipes. Let me first give a little background before talking about this latest book.

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The book also has a companion web site optimized for viewing on mobile phones.

Jamie Purviance’s cookbooks have been growing in scope, both in terms of the variety of foods he is making and in terms of sophistication. One of the things I have always liked about Jaimie Purviance’s recipes is he manages to keep the degree of difficulty relatively simple. You get something great to eat and you don’t kill yourself making it. His cookbook from 2 years ago, WEBER’S WAY TO GRILL, made a big plunge into world food and used new more sophisticated techniques. Last year they made a bit of a change of pace, issuing not one but two cookbooks which were specialized and not general: WEBER’S CHICKEN & SIDES and WEBER’S STEAK & SIDES. These books focussed on just one type of food: Chicken or beef steaks, and some sides that would go well with the various dishes. It was an interesting approach and I have learned a lot from these two books. That brings us to this year’s Weber’s Time to Grill.

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The recipes are presented in pairs of short & long time recipes for similar dishes. The short time recipes are represented by the red down arrow next to the name. The longer time recipe uses the red up arrows. These shots are from the mobile phone website for the book.

Weber’s Time to Grill takes a new approach and the word Time in the title gives a clue to this new approach. These days many folks are pressed for time during the work week, but would still like to make something beyond hot dogs and burgers. On the weekends there is often more time available to grill. This book addresses both needs. Half of the recipes can be made in a relatively short amount of time and half of them require more time. At first blush I thought they were also easy and difficult, but looking at the recipes none of them are particularly difficult. This is one of the reasons I’ve always like Jamie Purviance’s recipes. You get great meals, but the recipes are relatively simple. The first thing you will notice about this book is it’s unusual square shape. The book is 10” x 10” x 1” thick (25 x 25 x 2.5 cm) and this helps accommodate the short time / long time format of the book. Every recipe is able to fit on a single page, complete with photographs. The recipes are presented in similar pairs - for example: 1 short time kebab recipe (Peppered Beef Sirloin Kebabs) which takes 22 minutes on the left hand page and one longer kebab recipe (Peruvian Beef Sirloin Kebabs) which takes an hour on the right hand page. I really like this approach for several reasons. It is great having a bunch of quick recipes to make when you are pressed for time. Then if you find a quick recipe you like, you know there is a longer version of a similar recipe you can try when you have more time.

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You can add recipes to a grocery list which you can have on your smartphone when you are at the store shopping.

The book starts off with about 30 pages called “Grilling Basics” which is similar to sections found in many other grilling cookbooks. This one is more comprehensive than most. The categories are “Stocking Your Pantry”, “Prep School”, “ Rub”, “Marinades”, “Sauces” and “Dressings”. I will say many of these sections are done better than their equivalents in other cookbooks. The “Prep School” section is well illustrated with many pictures that make doing the prep easy. The “Rubs”, “Marinades”, “Sauces” and “Dressings” sections are collections of recipes for making those items. Actually I can’t remember other cookbooks I own with a “Dressings” section. Following the “Grilling Basics” section are the main recipes, categorized by food type. You’ll find “Appetizers”, “Red Meat”, “Pork”, “Poultry”, “Seafood”, “Eggs”, “Vegetables” and “Desserts”. The “Eggs” section is interesting because most of the recipes are for breakfast on the grill. Following the recipes is a section called “Resources” which has grilling guide charts, as well as maintenance and safety tips for the grill. Next there is an “Index” section and a final section called “Top 10 Tips”. I’ve been pouring over the recipes and I can see me staying quite busy throughout the summer making many of these. There are over 200 recipes which means 100+ quick recipes and 100+ longer recipes.

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The mobile website also provides a Grill Timer-which I would caution you not to use and a Grilling Guide. See below for my thoughts on the timer.

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The Grilling Guide is organized by Food Type then by Cut. It also has a description for how you tell when each cut is done.

The other interesting thing about this book is it has a tie-in to a mobile smartphone friendly website. Going to this website you establish an account and then log in. On the Time to Grill website you will find grocery lists for all of the recipes. The site is organized by the same food categories as the book . When you find the recipe you want, you can add it to your grocery list. Your grocery list can contain multiple recipes. The app also has a grill timer which may be of interest to some users, but I would say DO NOT USE THIS TIMER. The timer is web based and this makes for some weaknesses. The first flaw is there is no audible alarm, just a popup. If your phone is sleeping when the timer counts down to zero, you see or hear nothing. Worse yet, if you switch apps and then go back to the Weber web app the timer resets to zero. IMHO this timer is a recipe for disaster. A far more useful feature is the Grilling Guide which give you grilling times based on type of meat, the cut and it’s thickness. There is also a page for each cut that tells you how to check for doneness. This will be a handy guide to have out at the grill with you. Particularly if it is an impromptu grill session at a friends house. It would appear from all the pictures I used from the mobile website, that I am really jazzed about this. Honestly I am not-but I figured it might be a big plus for some other folks. Since I haven’t made any recipes from this book yet, these were the only graphics I had at this point in time. For me: I have recipe software I use and a better Grocery List app on my iPhone. I also have FAR better timers on my iPhone - as I mentioned this timer is dangerous. The grilling guide is handy but once again I have other apps that do the same thing. One good about this mobile website is you can access it from the supermarket. So if I get to the store and find I can’t get some ingredient, I can switch to Plan B and make another recipe and I can access that recipe’s grocery list right at the store. Or if they are having a great sale on some cut of meat I can switch to Plan C and find grocery lists for recipes that use that cut.

I am really looking forward to making recipes from Time to Grill. It has a wide range of recipes from here and abroad. I think the variety of this cookbook is what excites me the most. That and the fact that even the longer time recipes don’t take that long and aren’t super hard. While I love Adam Perry Lang’s recipes, they tend to be somewhat complex and time consuming. After doing a few of those Adam Perry Lang recipes back to back you’ll appreciate recipes like these that eat great and don’t take an undo amount of work. Based on the other Weber cookbooks by Jamie Purviance, which are among my favorite cookbooks, I am expecting some great eats coming from this cookbook. Within the next day I will be trying out the Cinnamon French Toast, which is a quick recipe from the eggs section. I’ll be baking my own Country Style White Bread and I am really looking forward to this first run. So if you are a fan of the other Weber cookbooks like me, keep your eyes out for the newly-released
Weber’s Time to Grill.


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