Just like a nice, seasoned side of beef that has been grilled to perfection, served with some potatoes and a bit of salad it can be a great, complete meal. This book, offering over 150 different barbecue recipes and a shed-load of advice, is that dish in printed form!
Branded by grill manufacturers Weber, yet on the whole admirably shy about overt branding, i.e. no picture of the Weber logo on a barbecue or tool or something in every picture, this book could be the A to Z of grilling for the newcomer or learning, aspiring grillmaster.
Nothing is assumed and surely everything is covered. In some ways the book feels deceptively-dumbed down, perhaps due to the high-quality full-colour photographs and layout, but this is not a criticism as you just don't expect so much information until it flows out of the page at you! From the basics of barbecues and the interminable problem of lighting them (no excuse now to use gas) and the various arrangements of your fire to the different types of grill out there (gas, smokers, rotisseries, etc). Many tools, accessories and add-ons also come under the author's beady eye and here again one must praise Weber - in many pictures the Weber owner will recognise specific Weber products, yet you would never know if you solely relied on the book. A timer for example, is a timer and not a Weber timer, even though it is!
Recipes follow, split into the key sections of red meat; pork; poultry; seafood; vegetables and fruit. The recipes are written in a clear, friendly manner without being patronisingly simple or arrogantly complex. Photographs show the finished article and in many cases a lot of "steps" so you can follow step-by-step with the additional benefit of pictures (even though the text would placate all but the most uncertain of new beginners). The depth and range of recipes is great and you begin to get the feeling that you can do them all, and more besides, even with some customisation to boot! Not so many books give you that feeling. At the end is a great resource guide too, looking at things like rubs, marinades and sauces. As if you have not got sufficient background information already, there is then even more focussed advice about the key meat and seafood types, freezing, grilling, maintenance of your barbecue. Maybe it would be easier to try and work out what you have not been told.
For the prospective grill-owner (or someone looking to trade up) there is also a brief but useful guide to selecting your barbecue and this similarly adopts the brand-neutral approach. Safety tips and a great, detailed index close off this book. There are many "complete" books that can cover a subject and over time new ones replace old favourites. This might be one of those. It can be as complete as you want it to be although this reviewer believes that once you get the bit between your teeth and become an accomplished grillmaster this will be just one of many, many books you will find yourself acquiring because, well, they are there!