By Chris Lilly
Clarkson Potter; $28.99
Thanks to world champion pitmaster Chris Lilly, I'm a reformed griller. Having forsaken my charcoal grill for the convenience of gas, I was so inspired by the tantalizing recipes and engaging writing in his newest book that I wheeled our old kettle grill out of retirement. Lilly's not anti-gas; he's just "a huge fan of the flavor charcoal imparts to food." That smoke makes barbecued ribs better is no secret, but smoked ice cubes? Whoa! These get put to great use in Lilly's amazing whiskey sour, which is baptized with the juice of charred lemon. Indeed, most of the recipes have a little something special about them, such as yuzu juice in shrimp kebabs or blackened butter for grilled lobster. Early chapters address some barbecue basics, but within a recipe, readers are expected to know their grill and how to keep it at, say, 235°F for 9 hours to barbecue a pork shoulder. Most of the recipes don't require anywhere near that amount of time on the fire, however, and the quick-cooking ones can easily-though blasphemously-be adapted to a gas grill.
St. Louis Cut Spare Ribs with Sweet Cherry & Blackberry Barbecue Sauce, p. 144 Three different elements-a dry rub, a liquid bath, and a glaze-join forces to make outstanding ribs, with just a hint of fruitiness above the smoke.
Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan-Herb Butter, p. 206 Butter flavored with mustard, cheese, lime juice, and more gets smeared onto the spears before grilling. The result is surprisingly subtle but quite delicious.
Photos by Ben Fink