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Our Favorite Grilling Cookbooks

If your summer grilling routine feels a little stale (burgers again?) turn to one of our favorite grilling books from recent years, which offer innovative techniques, inspirational ingredient combinations and vivid, delicious photos that will light your fire.

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    Project Smoke: Seven Steps to Smoked Food Nirvana

    Reading Steven Raichlen's latest book, you may well wonder: Is there anything I can’t smoke? The recipes go well beyond the usual suspects of ribs, brisket, and chicken and include such items as smoked slaw, potatoes, Camembert, bread, meatballs, a Manhattan, and even cheesecake. The detailed directions, instructions, illustrations, tips, and charts contained in this well-designed book will help guarantee success.

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    Red, White, and ‘Que: Farm-Fresh Foods for the American Grill

    Though it’s not the fanciest reference out there, this is the kind of book you’ll turn to when you’re in the mood to eat something you just know is going to be good. It's not strictly vegetarian but emphasizes grilling goodies from the garden. The salad chapter alone is worth the price of admission, with 17 different craveable entries, including Grilled Peaches, Country Ham, and Frisée with Sorghum Drizzle and Blistered Green Beans with Buttermilk Dressing.

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    The South’s Best Butts: Pitmaster Secrets for Southern Barbecue Perfection

    In Matt Moore’s new book, there are at least five photographs of him chowing down on barbecue as he travels the South, documenting the people and places behind the region’s best 'cue. Beyond the lively writing that makes you feel like you’re along for the ride, there are the mouthwatering recipes. As the title suggests, many are for pork, but there are also recipes for chicken and turkey, plus tasty sides and sauces.

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    Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling

    Considering the title of this debut cookbook from Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn, you won't be surprised that the bulk of the recipes involve meat. But what you’ll really buy this book for is the sheer abundance of grilling and barbecuing information that takes up about half of its 384 pages. The most fun bits to read are his myth-busting diatribes, including counterarguments to the following statements: “Meat needs to rest after cooking,” and “Flip your meat as little as possible.”

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    Fire & Smoke: A Pitmaster’s Secrets

    If you've forsaken your charcoal grill for the convenience of gas, the tantalizing recipes in Chris Lilly's book will inspire you to wheel your kettle grill out of retirement. Lilly’s not anti-gas; he’s just “a huge fan of the flavor charcoal imparts to food.”

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    Charred & Scruffed

    Outdoor cooking enthusiasts will have a great time experimenting with chef and pit-master Adam Perry Lang's innovative techniques like “scruffing” (roughing up meat to create nooks and crannies for seasonings to cling to), “hot potatoing” (flipping, turning, and moving meat to control the build-up of heat and create a delectable crust), and “clinching” (cooking meat directly on the coals for the crunchiest crust). In great detail, Lang describes his methods for layering on flavor throughout the cooking process with rubs, basting sauces, and finishing salts.

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  • Where There's Smoke
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    Where There’s Smoke: Simple, Sustainable, Delicious Grilling

    With a focus on fruits and vegetables, award-winning chef Barton Seaver's beautiful new grilling book stands out from the mass of meat-obsessed barbecue books. Its compelling recipes mingle the delectable flavors of seasonal produce with hints of smoke and fire. There are also informative ingredient guides, which include sustainability information that’s more practical than preachy.

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    Around the Fire: Recipes for Inspired Grilling and Seasonal Feasting from Ox Restaurant

    Like Ox Restaurant in Portland, Oregon, which features a huge wood-fired grill in the middle of the dining room, this debut cookbook from the husband-and-wife chef/owners is very grill-centric. The wonderfully eclectic recipes reflect their vision: Argentinian-style grilling infused with both the bounty of the Pacific Northwest and Gabrielle’s Ecuadorean roots.

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