More BBQ & Grilling - Cookbook
04/07/2016 - 06:00Filed in: Cookbook | Review | Big Green Egg | BGE
One of the things I love about this time of year (March, April & May) is it marks the time when a new round of Grilling & BBQ Cookbooks hit the shelves. The cookbook I was most looking forward to was: More BBQ & Grilling for the Big Green Egg and Other Kamado Style Cookers by Eric Mitchell. This cookbook came out last week and was the follow-up to his first cookbook: Smoke It LIKE A PRO on the Big Green Egg & Other Ceramic Cookers. This Blog entry will review this new cookbook, which I’ve already made two recipes from in under a week. The RIB EYE TOMAHAWKS recipe went straight to my favorite recipes list here on the site. I am expecting great things from this cookbook.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I have met Eric Mitchell and his wife Cindi about 10 times over the last 3 years. They cook at my Big Green Egg dealers twice yearly Customer Appreciation Day. Tarantin Industries, the New England Big Green Egg distributer uses their services for cooking demos throughout their dealer network. Additionally they cook at the NewEGGland fest every June. I have had the pleasure of sampling their food and they both are great ambassadors for the Egg. So yes I have met them and I like them as people and love their food. And sure I would also buy a cookbook to support a fellow New England Egghead. But that is the extent of it. If the food wasn’t good I wouldn’t have written a blog about the cookbook or this one. For me the food comes first, and having sampled many of the recipes first hand before the first cookbook was published. I knew they were great!
BACKGROUND:In the Introduction section of the book, Eric Mitchell mentions he got started with the Big Green Egg in the year 2000. He is now up to 6 Eggs. In 2006 he and his wife Cindi decided to try their hand at the competition BBQ circuit and became KCBS (Kansas City BBQ Society) members and judges. In 2007 they joined NEBS (New England BBQ Society) and won rookie team of the year honors. Their team, Yabba Dabba Que, has won many awards. They have twice competed in the prestigious Jack Daniels invitational competition in Tennessee and once at the American Royal invitational championship. As I mentioned earlier Tarantin Industries had employed them to appear at various Big Green Egg cooking demos held by their dealers. This is where I first met them in the spring of 2013 at Oasis Hot Tub & Sauna’s Customer Appreciation Days. They totally blew me away with the types of things they were making on the Egg. At this point I realized that there were really no limits to what you could make on the Big Green Egg. The only real limits were those you imposed upon yourselves. In addition to great food Eric and Cindi patiently answered questions from potential customers, Egg newbies (like I was at the time), as well as long time Egg users. They appeared at Tarantin’s annual NewEGGLandfest, where I was again blown away by the wide variety of foods coming off their Eggs. I couldn’t have been happier when I was told a cookbook was in the works.
SMOKE IT LIKE A PRO:I reviewed SMOKE IT LIKE A PRO in a Blog entry around this time last year and gave it high marks. There were dozens of recipes I wanted to try. I had planned to spend last summer cooking my way through the book. Unfortunately that never happened and I unexpectedly had a nearly 6 month hiatus from regular grilling. As it is, I have made 17 recipes to date from this book. All of them were great to excellent. Five of them made my Favorites list, which is a lot from any one cookbook. Plus I still have a To Do list of recipes from SMOKE IT LIKE A PRO that I still want to get to. It is one of my favorite cookbooks and is the place I go to when I am looking to make something new and different. It is also a great book for people first starting out on the Egg, because the proper setup and vent settings are covered for each recipe.
MORE BBQ & GRILLING:This book and SMOKE IT LIKE A PRO are both similar and different. I will mention these differences where they occur below.
Organization: The books are organized differently. The background material on setting up and using the Egg are in the Beginning of SMOKE IT LIKE A PRO and are Chapter 10 in MORE BBQ & GRILLING. Much of this background material is the same in the two books. In my opinion this is fine because this was about the best background material I have seen in a grilling cookbook. Often this background material seems like fluff and filler used to achieve a certain page count. You are wasting your time even reading it. The material here is well worth reading and goes into areas many cookbooks miss entirely. There are some great tips on safety using the Egg and it covers those pesky Kamado grill flashbacks in great detail. Having this material within the cookbook you are currently using is a convenience, so I have no problems with it being very similar. SMOKE IT LIKE A PRO followed the intro material with chapters on the various types of cooking: Low and Slow, Roasting, Searing etc. All of the recipes for that type of cooking were found in that chapter. MORE BBQ & GRILLING has nearly 100 recipes and the chapters arranged by food type:
- Chapter 1: Bodacious Beef & Luscious Lamb
- Chapter 2: From Tail to Snout, It’s What Pork’s About
- Chapter 3: Glazed, Grilled & Roasted, Tender & Juicy Chicken & Turkey Recipes for the Whole Family
- Chapter 4: Lobster, Shrimp, MahiMahi & More From the Sea’s Bottomless Bounty
- Chapter 5: Handhelds, Apps & Selfie Sticks (Finger foods, apps & kebabs)
- Chapter 6: Accomplices, Slaws, Salads, Sauces & Veggies
- Chapter 7: Better Than a Brick Oven - Breads & Pizza on the Egg
- Chapter 8: Comforting Slow Cooked Casseroles, Braises & Stews
- Chapter 9: Just Desserts.
- Chapter 10: About the Egg, This is the background material I mentioned above.
I myself don’t have a preference as far as the organizational method used. Sometimes I say: “I’m in the mood for something grilled”. But just as often I might say: “I haven’t had lamb in a while, what can I make?” Either way works for me.
Big Picture-Recipe Types: This section may end up being something that relates more to me and my own history prior to getting these two cookbooks. And it is a little bit of an intangible. So your mileage may vary. What I am trying to say here: is these two cookbooks have some differences in terms of the types of recipes contained in them. They both have a wide variety of recipes, but in my mind SMOKE IT LIKE A PRO contains many recipes like CREME BRULEE, HERMITS, SUMMER SUCCOTASH (made on a wok). These are things I never ever imagined to be able to make on a grill. This is one of the things that excited me so much when this book came out. More BBQ & Grilling also has a wide variety of recipes, but many of them seem like new takes on things I have already made before on my gas grill or my first smoker. Granted I will often look for recipes that are different or unusual, so this my be why these items are more familiar to me than possibly some of you. What excites me about this book is the chance to revisit some items I have made and loved in the past. I will be using a different recipe and one written with the Big Green Egg (or other Kamado cooker) in mind. It will take advantage of things that make a Kamado grill unique. So for me at least, More BBQ & Grilling is like revisiting many old friends and revisiting them in fresh way. I am looking forward to making Beef Wellington, Santa Maria Tri-Tip, Matambre, Mediterranean Lamb Chops, Memphis Dry Style Ribs, Jerk Pork Butt…just to name a few. More BBQ & Grilling seems to contain many regional or international takes on things like ribs, wings and chops. SMOKE IT LIKE A PRO was like discovering some new friends I never thought I would meet. Both books also have some traditional BBQ recipes too, so don’t worry about finding something you have already made and liked in either of them. Honestly I don’t know if I could pick just one of these book to own, if I could only have one.
Recipes-Specifics: I really like Eric Mitchell’s recipes. A lot. As I said five, and now six of them are on my Favorites list here on the site. One of the reasons I like his recipes so much is some of these recipes are New England regional favorites. He grew up in New England, just like I did. I never saw myself making these things on the grill, any kind of grill. I love regional recipes from all over the US and I am sure folks from other parts of the country will love these. I have made some of the New England favorites from SMOKE IT LIKE A PRO for folks who aren’t from around here. They were a huge hit. The second reason I like Eric Mitchell’s recipes is they are relatively simple to make, but they always taste great. Some folks are able to do a lot with a relatively small amount of the right ingredients. Stephen Raichlen is another person who seems to be able to do this. Keeping things simple also helps let the natural flavor of the meat stand out. I don’t know if this ability to do more with less comes from Eric’s competition BBQ background or not. But I always look forward to making one of his recipes because I know it will be relatively simple to make and will taste like a million bucks. Those of you who are new to the Egg will also appreciate the setup procedures included with every recipe. How to set up the Egg, how to set the dampers through the cook, when to add the wood. I wish one or both of these books was around when I started cooking on the Egg. I had to learn a lot of this from the school of hard knocks. It isn't hard to cook on a Kamado, but it is different and you do have some new things to learn. This book holds your hand through this learning curve time.
Recipes-Quick Picks: Here is a listing of some of the recipes I am looking forward to making. I had to limit the selection to a short list, believe me there are still many, many more:
- Caribbean Strip Steaks with Onion & Rum Glaze (Chapter 1) N.Y. strip steak seared under high direct heat and finished over medium indirect heat.
- Beef Wellington (Chapter 1) This recipe simplifies classic Beef Wellington to turn a two day cook into a one day affair.
- Texas Beef Sausage (Chapter 1) I have been wanting to make my own smoked sausage and it looks like now I have no excuse.
- Rack of Lamb (Chapter 1) Can never get enough good recipes for this.
- Santa Maria Tri Tip (Chapter 1) I’ve been hoping to make Tri Tip on the Egg and this is the classic tri tip recipe that started it all.
- Matambre (Chapter 1) I made this several times 10 years or so ago. It should be even better on the Egg
- Spiced Mediterranean Lamb Chops (Chapter 1) They know how to cook lamb in that part of the world.
- Pulled Barbecue Beef (Chapter 1) I’ve only made this once before and I can’t wait to try it again.
- Competition Pork Ribs, Memphis Dry Style (Chapter 2) Although dry style ribs are not the normal way most us get our pork ribs, I think these are my favorite pork ribs.
- Cajun Pork Steaks (Chapter 2) I love pork steaks and I an guessing the Cajun seasonings will make them even better.
- Five Spice Baby Back Ribs (Chapter 2) Asian Style Ribs
- Fruity Pork Ribs (Chapter 2) Fruit and pork - a match made in heaven.
- Crown Roast of Pork (Chapter 2) I have adapted Crown Roast recipes for the Egg. This recipe was written for the Egg.
- Marinated Mojo Spatchcocked Chicken (Chapter 3) A juicy whole chicken with Caribbean spices.
- Crispy Grilled Chicken (Chapter 3) This recipe is said to give you the crispy skin you get from deep frying, but the chicken is grilled.
- Poultry Balls (Chapter 3) Meatballs made from chicken or turkey intended to be served with a sauce.
- Tandoori Chicken (Chapter 3) The Kamado is a relative of the Indian tandoor grill and can achieve the same high heat.
- Bourbon Maple Glazed Smoked Turkey (Chapter 3) The recipe name and the picture were enough to sell me.
- Expresso Chicken Breasts (Chapter 3) Uses a dry marinade made from coffee.
- Fish and Shellfish (Chapter 4) I am not an expert in seafood grilling and I don’t eat shellfish, so I will disqualify myself. Let me just say there appear to be some amazing recipes for seafood and shellfish lovers alike. As a native New Englander, I image Eric Mitchell is an Eggspert on making fish and shellfish recipes on the Egg. I plan to dip my toes in the water and try some of these myself.
- Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers (Chapter 5) Holiday themed ground turkey burger.
- Turkey Lime Grilled Nachos (Chapter 5) I’ve made nachos on the grill before and they were excellent. These look to be the best yet.
- Indonesian Beef Satay (Chapter 5) The high heat of the Egg should be ideal for making these.
- Lamb Souvlaki (Chapter 5) Greek marinated lamb kebabs.
- Columbian Beef Kebabs (Chapter 5) I am looking forward to these because they really no how to make great beef dishes in South America.
- Sweet Stuffed Visalia Onions (Chapter 6) I’ve been seeing recipes for stuffed onions for about a year now, and I am looking forward to trying this one.
- Cheddar Cheese Straws (Chapter 7) Baked dough and cheese dish that comes out looking like french fries,
- Whole Wheat Pita Bread (Chapter 7) I have yet to bake Pita bread. What better way to start than a recipe written for the Egg?
- Corn Tortilla (Chapter 7) I have been thinking of getting a tortilla press and trying my hand at making tortillas, now I have a recipe for grilling them.
- Naan (Chapter 7) I love Naan and am looking forward to trying a new recipe for this.
- Rustic Country Bread (Chapter 7) Once again I love the idea of a recipe written for the Egg.
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes (Chapter 8) This casserole uses both potatoes and sweet potatoes and looks and sounds delicious. Looking forward to trying this soon.
- Un-debatable Brunswick Stew (Chapter 8) Brunswick stew is one of my favorite stews and every version is different. IMHO you can’t have enough Brunswick stew recipes and this will be made soon.
- Sweet Potato Pie (Chapter 9) I have never made or tried this Southern U.S. dessert and now I have no excuse.
- Honey Melon Steaks (Chapter 9) A melon cut into 1/2” thick “steaks” is brushed with a glaze and grilled. Sounds intriguing.
- Cinnamon Rolls with Bacon (Chapter 9) Bacon and cayenne added to classic cinnamon rolls sounds really interesting. Can’t wait to try it.
- Dessert Pizza (Chapter 9) I’ve always wanted to try one of these and now I have a recipe written for the Egg. Time to stop making excuses.
- Apple Hand Pies (Chapter 9) Deep fried fruit pies are a favorite of mine and I am guessing doing it all myself will be 10X better than a Hostess Fruit pie (a guilty pleasure of mine).
CONCLUSION:Eric Mitchell’s second cookbook certainly doesn't suffer from sophomore slump. I would be hard pressed to choose between this one and SMOKE IT LIKE A PRO. Fortunately I don’t have to choose between them. If you are going to try one first, I would suggest going to a book store that carries both books. The background and setup information is similar between the two books. Flip through the recipes in both and see which one has more recipes that are favorites of yours or that you always wanted to try. Start with that book. Who is this book for? Everybody really but here is why:
- Everyone who wants great recipes, no matter what grill they own. Most of these recipes can be adapted for other grills.
- Any newbie Egger will benefit from the wealth of set-up and temperature control information.
- The Owner of another brand of Kamado grill will find the setup to be nearly identical.
- A intermediate or advanced Egghead will find plenty of great recipes and new techniques to try.
I can’t recommend this cookbook highly enough. For me it is a Must-Have.
BACK TO BBQ BLOG 2016
ARCHIVE OF BLOGS: 2016
INDEX OF BLOGS: ALL YEARS