Summer always brings a spate of new barbecue and grilling cookbooks, and this season is no exception.
Some of the best instructional tomes of 2015 include: “Feeding the Fire: Recipes and Strategies for Better Barbecue and Grilling” by Joe Carroll (Artisan, $24.95); “Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto” by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay (Ten Speed Press, 29.99); and “Grill Nation: 200 Surefire Recipes, Tips, and Techniques to Grill Like a Pro” by David Guas (Oxmoor House, $24.95).
But several others caught our eye, with takes on grilling and smoking that are unusual, regional or personal, and include recipes that are easy to make.
“BBQ Bistro: Simple, Sophisticated French Recipes for Your Grill” by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig (Running Press, $20) is a title that might make Southern barbecue aficionados cringe. But their approach to “grilling with savoir faire” using lots of ingredients from the vegetable and herb garden is all about fresh. And recipes like Grilled Cauliflower Paillards with Orange-Olive Pistou are not only easy and delicious, but healthy, too.
“Southern Living Ultimate Book of BBQ: The Complete Year-Round Guide to Grilling and Smoking” by the Editors of Southern Living with pitmaster Chris Prieto (Oxmoor House, $24.95) is a great compendium of true Southern barbecue and local styles. But being “ultimate,” the book doesn’t ignore the fact that besides low and slow, Southerners do sometimes grill hot and fast. A good example is a super simple recipe for Lowcountry Boil Kabobs with Spicy Old Bay Butter.
“12 Bones Smokehouse: A Mountain BBQ Cookbook” by Bryan and Angela King, Shane Heavner, and Mackensy Lunsford (Voyageur Press, $24.99) is an exciting publication for anyone who, like Martha Stewart and Michelle and Barack Obama, craves the food at the Asheville barbecue joint. The book celebrates the success of DIY barbecue with signature recipes that declare no allegiance to the purists of regional style and often rely on very simple and sometimes unusual ingredients.
12 Bones owner Bryan King is an Asheville native who worked in Silicon Valley before returning to North Carolina with his wife Angela to take over the restaurant from founders Tom Montgomery and Sabra Kelley.
“Doing the cookbook was a big pain but obviously we’re excited to have it out,” King says. “It’s really a little surreal, to be honest. We’re not used to being published authors. We’re used to being knee-deep in pork and cooking ribs late into the night. But mostly it’s really been fun to share our recipes with everybody.”
Chef Shane Heavner has been working at 12 Bones for most of its decade-long existence. He says the restaurant’s barbecue reflects Asheville’s easy-going attitude.
“The Bible Belt is all around us, but we’re kind of in the eye of it,” Heavner says. “This part of North Carolina is a little different from the rest of North Carolina. It’s a little bit more open-minded and that’s kind of the way our barbecue is, too. There’s no reason to stick with just one style. And we just hate to be bored.”
That said, Heavner notes that most of the recipes in the book aren’t difficult and are consciously aimed at home cooks. “A lot of the recipes are really straightforward and easy,” Heavner says. “The main thing is we want people to use the book and not be frustrated with it.”
These recipes offer a variety of flavors for summer smoking and grilling.
12 Bones Whole Smoked Chicken
1 3-3½-pound whole chicken
2 tablespoons 12 Bones Chicken Rub (see below)
Wood chips for smoking
Smoked chicken is actually chef Shane Heavner’s favorite thing on the 12 Bones menu because it’s smoky but still moist and crispy on the outside. And it’s a great alternative to fattier pork.
Season your chicken with the rub, being sure to work the seasoning thoroughly over the entire surface. Chill the rubbed-down bird for one hour in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, soak wood chips in room-temperature water for about 30 minutes. Prepare the smoker or grill for smoking at a temperature between 260 and 275°F by pushing the charcoal briquettes to one side of the smoker or grill, or by turning on one side of a gas grill.
Drain the water from the wood chips. Once the flames are out and the coals are hot and covered in white ash, add wood chips or make a smoking packet for a gas grill. Place the chicken on the grill, on the opposite side from the heat, then close the lid of the grill. Smoke the chicken at 260 to 275°F, or until the internal temperature of the meat at the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°F, according to your meat thermometer.
Remove the chicken from the grill and then let it rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature. Add fresh coals to the grill in an even layer, or turn up the heat on the gas grill to medium-high. Once the grill reaches a temperature between 375 and 400°F, cut the chicken in half, and put it back on the grill, skin side down, letting it brown until the skin is perfectly crispy. Serve hot, or let cool and pull the meat for chicken salad.
Makes: 2 half or 4 quarter chicken servings
Per serving quarter serving: 258 calories (percent of calories from fat, 48), 35 grams protein, 4 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 11 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 103 milligrams cholesterol, 180 milligrams sodium.
12 Bones Chicken Rub
This makes enough for several batches of chicken. But it’s a good all-purpose rub that can be used in multiple applications.
1/2 cup paprika
1/2 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup granulated onion
1/2 cup fine-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne
4 teaspoons whole dry basil
1 tablespoon cumin
4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning
4 teaspoons dried sage
1/4 cup dry English mustard
1/2 cup iodized salt
8 teaspoons chili powder
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store what isn’t used in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Makes: about 3 cups
Per 1-tablespoon serving: 22 calories (percent of calories from fat, 18), 1 gram protein, 4 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, trace fat (no saturated fat), no cholesterol, 1,088 milligrams sodium.
12 Bones Brown Sugar Baby Back Ribs
These ribs are fit for a king — or at least a U.S. president. The sweet, brown sugar dry rub melts as the ribs are cooked, which forms a nice crust. They’re great dry, but a ketchup-based barbecue sauce would work just fine if you want to add a little extra something. If you’re a spice fan, try a few shakes of hot sauce.
1 rack of baby back ribs (note: when raw one of our racks weighs between 2-2.5 pounds)
Approximately 1 cup of 12 bones brown sugar rub. Use approximately 1 handful of rub per rack of ribs.
For the rub:
1 pound dark brown sugar
3/4 cup 12 Bones Chicken Rub
Wood chips for smoking
Lay rack on large platter or baking pan large enough for ribs to fit without hanging over the edges. Pat dry excess moisture with paper towels. If the surface of the ribs is too wet the rub will end up on the bottom of your smoker instead of on your ribs. Spread rub evenly over meat side of ribs with your hands and press into meat to form crust. See smoking instructions for Whole Smoked Chicken. Smoke ribs at 260 to 275 degrees for 2½ to 3 hours. After 2½ hours check for doneness by twisting one of the ribs in the center of the rack with tongs. Bone should twist slightly. If you like your ribs falling off the bone, continue to cook to desired tenderness. But be careful not to overcook; ribs will go from tender and moist to dry and grainy.
Makes: 2 half-rack servings
Per serving: 540 calories (percent of calories from fat, 59), 29 grams protein, 29 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 37 grams fat (13 grams saturated), 114 milligrams cholesterol, 1,812 milligrams sodium.
12 Bones recipes adapted from “12 Bones Smokehouse: A Mountain BBQ Cookbook” by Bryan and Angela King, Shane Heavner, and Mackensy Lunsford (Voyageur Press, $24.99).
Lowcountry Boil Kabobs With Spicy Old Bay Butter
Enjoy this coastal Georgia favorite in a new way with all the elements skewered on kabobs. Grilling the lemons heightens their flavor, and the Old Bay butter mixture infuses the kabobs as they grill. Keep a spray bottle nearby to help tame flare-ups.
1 pound small new potatoes
3 ears fresh corn
1 1⁄2 pounds peeled large raw shrimp
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 lemons, cut into wedges
12 (12-inch) wooden or metal skewers
1⁄2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1⁄2 teaspoon ground red pepper
Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Bring potatoes and water to a boil in a large Dutch oven. Boil 8 minutes. Add corn. Cook 5 more minutes or until potatoes are tender and corn is almost done. Drain.
Cut each ear of corn into 1-inch pieces. Thread potatoes, corn, shrimp, sausage, and lemon wedges onto skewers.
Combine melted butter, Old Bay, and ground red pepper.
Grill skewers 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally and basting with butter mixture.
Makes: 6 servings
Per serving: 612 calories (percent of calories from fat, 59), 37 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 41 grams fat (18 grams saturated), 268 milligrams cholesterol, 1,117 milligrams sodium.
Adapted from “Southern Living Ultimate Book of BBQ: The Complete Year-Round Guide to Grilling and Smoking” by the Editors of Southern Living with pitmaster Chris Prieto (Oxmoor House, $24.95)
Grilled Cauliflower Paillards with Orange-Olive Pistou
We saw Jason Neroni’s vegan dish served at Superba Snack Bar in Los Angeles, said “ooh-la-la!” and adapted it here. One large cauliflower will yield about six (1-inch/2.5-cm) paillards, with two of the slices being the end pieces. Only cut part of the core, because if you remove too much, the paillard will fall apart.
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 oranges, peeled, segmented, and coarsely chopped
1⁄2 cup green olives, such as Manzanilla or Picholine, pitted and coarsely chopped
1⁄4 cup golden raisins
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
Kosher or sea salt and
freshly ground black pepper
1 large head (21⁄2 pounds) cauliflower, part of core and green leaves removed
Olive oil for brushing
Kosher or sea salt
Prepare an indirect medium-hot fire in your grill.
For the Orange-Olive Pistou, stir the olive oil, lemon juice, orange segments, olives, raisins, garlic, and parsley together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Cut the cauliflower from top to bottom into 1-inch-thick (2.5 cm) slices and place on a baking sheet. Brush the cauliflower with olive oil and salt to taste. Place the cauliflower slices over the hot fire and grill for 2 minutes per side to get good grill marks, and then move to the indirect or no-heat side of the grill. Close the lid and grill-roast for another 10 minutes, until the cauliflower slices still hold together but are tender when pierced with a fork.
To serve, shingle or overlap the cauliflower slices on a platter and spoon the Orange-Olive Pistou down the center.
Per serving: 307 calories (percent of calories from fat, 52), 7 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fiber, 19 grams fat (3 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 269 milligrams sodium.
Adapted from “BBQ Bistro: Simple, Sophisticated French Recipes for Your Grill” by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig (Running Press, $20).