Last year I received a copy of BBQ Bash: The Be-All, End-All Party Guide, from Barefoot to Black Tie  ($16.95) by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig. I quickly flipped through the pages, but since it was October, I stored it on the book shelf.
Then two weeks ago I was sitting on my couch, looked up, and swore BBQ Bash jumped out at me. I scooped it up and started reading. To find out why I couldn't put this book down — even on the bus — .
- It's written by two females, the BBQ Queens, so instead of taking a stereotypical manly point of view, the tone offers a refreshing anyone-can-do-it attitude.
- Filled with hundreds of mouthwatering recipes, helpful tips, party plans, interesting lists (example: 15 different flavored butters), general information on grilling, smoking, and barbecuing.
- To the authors, barbecue is a 24/seven, 365-day-a-year thing — meaning there is something for everyone.
- The party plans are festive and fun. They include such themes as A Black-Tie Barbecue, Home For the Holidays Barbecue, and A Cozy Dinner a Deux.
- There're plenty of cocktail recipes, too.
- Lack of photos. There's a small color photo spread in the center of the book that features 14 images. Other than that, the book is photo-free.
- Some of the recipes call for specialty ingredients like artisanal prosciutto, peppadews, and tarragon vinegar.
- Other recipes are uncreative and rely on store-made products. A salmon recipe is little more than salmon fillets marinated in Italian dressing and Seafood Magic rub.
- There's no index or list of the drink recipes making them hard to find.
Recipes: Each recipe is followed up with helpful pointers: to "deck it out" (make the dish seem more formal), to "take it easy" (simplify the recipe), to "change it up" (meat, herb, and cheese substitutions), and to "raise a glass" (alcoholic beverage pairing suggestions). Here are some that caught my eye:
- Rioja-style grilled pork tenderloin tapas
- Limoncello spritzers
- Big Easy grilled beef tenderloin, Zinfandel-glazed baby back ribs with a kiss of smoke
- Blue cheese coleslaw
- Grilled Winter-greens with warm cranberry port-vinaigrette
- Grilled chocolate crostini
- Dulce de leche sauce
Imagery: As mentioned above, there are only 14 color photos. The rest of the book is filled with curvy illustrations.
Overall: If you do a lot of outdoor entertaining and don't mind a cookbook without images, this book is perfect for you!