Spring is coming-and so are the barbecue books! "BBQ Queens" Adler and Fertig like to wear tiaras when they grill. They are members of an all-women barbecue team that competes on the national barbecue circuit, and they give cooking classes and demonstrations throughout the country. In their latest book, they provide hundreds of recipes, including a big "A to Z of Grilled and Smoked Veggies, Cheeses, and Pizzas," along with tips, stories, and profiles of other "Grill Gals." Some readers may find the tone a bit precious (e.g., "this is really a girly-girl recipe, with ruffles and ribbons"), but the recipes are easy and appealing. For larger collections. The idea of New York City chef/Food Network personality Flay writing a healthy-eating cookbook, complete with nutritional analysis for each recipe, seems somewhat incongruous. Perhaps it has something to do with his recent 40th birthday-or maybe it was the number of carbphobic customers holding forth in his restaurant dining rooms. In this follow-up to Bobby Flay's Boy Gets Grill, Flay offers mostly simple recipes (including some based on "good carbs," as he refers to complex carbohydrates), from Zucchini Succotash to Beef Filet with Arugula and Parmesan to Grilled Apricots with Bittersweet Chocolate. He seems somewhat subdued in his latest effort, with the bold, lusty flavors that usually characterize his cooking style less in evidence. Nevertheless, this is sure to be in demand. The Jamisons are veteran cookbook authors and grilling aficionados (see Chicken on the Grill and Born To Grill, among others). This time, they offer easy recipes for casual backyard entertaining. The first chapter, "Spontaneous Combustion," provides tips for successful parties, and their flavorful recipes, from Butterflied Thai Pork Tenderloin to Shrimp with Lemon Chive Sauce, should keep both guests and hosts happy. For most collections. Karmel is another barbecue queen, a former spokesperson for Weber grills who's well known on the circuit (she's a member of a team called Swine and Dine, and she's frequently a judge at barbecue competitions). Her big book is packed with information and mouth-watering recipes. A thorough introductory section offers invaluable tips and techniques for all types of grilling and barbecuing, and each recipe chapter opens with a primer on the basic ingredient and a handy chart on cooking times and recommended grilling methods. Karmel refers to her "culinary schizophrenia"-the result of her "love [for both] down-home Southern cooking and traditional French cuisines"-but inspiration for her recipes comes from all over the world: Lamb Tenderloin with Hazelnut Butter, Gingered Tuna with Wasabi Dipping Sauce, and Smoked Oysters with Fresh Cranberry Horseradish Relish. Useful as both a reference and a source of delectable recipes, Karmel's book is highly recommended. Negrin (Rustico: Regional Italian Country Cooking) has a decidedly different perspective, as her early grilling experiences were at her family's weekend house in northern Italy. A food writer and cooking teacher, she now lives in New York City but leads cooking tours in Italy. Her appealing new book offers fresh, vibrant, and simple but sophisticated recipes for outdoor cooking, from Lobster, Lemon, and Mint Salad to Peppery Rosemary-Rubbed Rib-Eye Steak. Full-page color photographs illustrate many of the recipes, and, despite the book's small size, Negrin includes a vast amount of information on ingredients and techniques, along with other helpful culinary tips. Highly recommended. Sinnes's book is an updated edition of his gas-grilling book, originally published in 1996. He has revised the text and added 100 new recipes, but it has an oddly dated feel to it: he regards grilled asparagus as rather exotic, and, at a time when grilled vegetables are showing up on fast-food menus, asserts that "most home cooks think grilling vegetables is somewhat unusual." There are also several slightly old-fashioned recipes, and it's surprising that a book devoted to grilling would call for bottled jerk seasoning and store-bought barbecue sauce. Only for comprehensive grilling collections. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A. Cort Sinnes, "the King of the Gas Grill", is an award-winning author of more than 20 books including the Grilling Book, The New Gas Grill Gourmet, and the Grilling Encyclopedia. He also contributes to Fine Cooking and Cook's Illustrated. Sinnes lives in Napa, California.