Slow Fire | Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe

 

It’s hard to imagine another smell that says “summer” more than BBQ.

Slow Fire: The Beginner's Guide to Lip-Smacking Barbecue

TITLE: Slow Fire: The Beginner’s Guide to Lip-Smacking Barbecue
AUTHOR: Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe
PUBLISHER: Chronicle Books
CUISINE: BBQ/Grilling

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Featured Ingredient: BrisketBeef Brisket Chart
Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef or veal. The beef brisket is one of the nine beef prime cuts. The brisket muscles include the superficial and deep pectorals. As cattle do not have collar bones, these muscles support about 60% of the body weight of standing/moving cattle. This requires a significant amount of connective tissue, so the resulting meat must be cooked correctly to tenderize the connective tissue. [Wikipedia]

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First Impressions
I’m a sucker of BBQ cookbooks, so, I’ll try my level best to be objective. It won’t be easy. Dr. BBQ (aka Ray Lampe), has near legendary status in the smoky sub-culture of BBQ. So, you’re learning from a true master of the grill. There are lots of beautiful color images by Leigh Beisch throughout the book. I just loved the books finished size. It made it very easy to keep it open while cooking. A big plus for me. Most recipes are contained to one page. Love the design artwork with the two-tone pages. There is a fair amount of reverse type. But, it is surprisingly easy to read.

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What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)
Tools & Techniques
Spices and Sauces
Ribs Rule the World
Pork, Glorious Pork
Beautiful Beef
The Birds
Anything But
The Necessary Side Dishes

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It’s hard to resist Rhett & Link. I know what you’re thinking…

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The Best of the Book (Our Favorite Recipes)

Superchicken Wing Rub Windy City Rib Tips
Competition-Style Pork Butt Homemade Pastrami
Smoky Skirt Steak Fajitas Smoked Flat-Cut Brisket with Coffee
Superchicken Smoked Wings Smoked Scotch Eggs
Planked Salmon with Soy-Honey Glaze Cheesy Mac and Cheese

 

Let’s just say that most of Ray’s recipes made my mouth water. Instantly! Were there one’s that rose above the crowd? But of course. The Roadside Barbecue Spareribs (p.56) seems like a recipe that most would be grill masters could easily tackle. I love Cuban food. So, the Cuban-style Leg of Pork (p.79), was an instant winner for me. It looks delicious. No lie. I’m making that soon. Keep an eye out here for the finished product. I know about the State Fair. And, I know about Disney. As you approach Frontierland, you can see a steady stream of people walking and eating. More like gnawing. They’re tackling giant, beautifully cooked turkey legs. It’s almost like they’re in some turkey induced trance. Anyway, if the State Fair Turkey Legs (p.129) come even close to those, then I say, “We have a WINNER!” Finally, the Bacon and Blue Cheese Coleslaw (p.161) would make a fine addition to any meal whether it was barbecued or not.

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Special Features
Slow Fire: The Beginner's Guide to Lip-Smacking Barbecue I like the fact that recipe names are included in the table of contents. It makes it easy to see what you’re getting yourself into. I guess you could flip to the index. But, the index is never that great to navigate for something like that. There is a lot of info on tools, equipment and cooker types. That’s expected since BBQ isn’t like cooking in your kitchen. It requires special stuff. A great excuse for me to accumulate extra gadgets! There is a Table of Equivalents (p.176). I think it’s a conversion chart in sheep’s clothing. I really should stop obsessing about that.

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Conclusions
Slow Fire, is a fun book. As, most BBQ/grill books are. There are some pretty intense ones on the market today. This one takes a much more laid back approach. That’s to my liking. The recipes here could keep your grill happy all summer long. Or, all year long depending on where you live. The recipes are of medium difficulty. Nothing that couldn’t be tackled by any would-be BBQ enthusiast. Ray is super creative. I like that. It’s not just another BBQ book. And, that’s good because it’s a pretty busy space. There are some truly unique recipes here that deserve your attention. This cookbook claims to be for beginners. And, lots of its elements are aimed at the novice. But, there is really something here for outdoor chefs of all experience levels. If you’re a near expert BBQer you needn’t turn your nose up at the thought of a beginner book. There is certainly something here for you too. So, dig out your pigtail, tongs and tin foil and get grilling!

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Culinary Expertise: 5.0
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

Slow Fire: The Beginner's Guide to Lip-Smacking Barbecue

Resources, Links and Press
Dr. BBQ’s Official Website
Follow Dr. BBQ on Twitter
Dr. BBQ’s favorite BBQ Joints
Slow Fire review: Top Ribs

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