Saturday, June 05, 2010

Cookbooks: Ribs, Chops, Steaks & Wings by Roy “Dr. BBQ” Lampe

A couple of years ago, we liked The NFL Gameday Cookbook quite a lot, even though it was clear that the book didn’t focus precisely on author chef Roy Lampe’s area of expertise. However Lampe’s Ribs, Chops, Steaks & Wings (Chronicle) focuses on just that and very tightly. Before very long it’s clear that this is the book that Dr. BBQ was meant to write. Vegetarians can run for cover, but Fox does’t mince words or ideas. Lampe states his bias right off:
Ribs, chops, steaks and wings are the star attractions at any meal they are part of. These are simply the most revered and tastiest parts of the cow, pig, and chicken.
As one would expect, Ribs, Chops, Steaks & Wings focuses very tightly on the topic at hand. Forget the dishes that might accompany BBQ. Forget anything you might do with potatoes. Or rice. Or even grits. Lampe's book never forgets its mandate and meatlovers are the richer for it.

Lampe begins with the necessary technical matter, including that burning question: “Charcoal? Or gas?” As might be expected, Lampe’s answer is not cut and dried, although he’s clearly interested in nuance, and he offers some of that up here.

There are words about tools and rubs and sauces, but the bulk of the book is given over to the food itself. Apricot-Glazed Baby Back Ribs. Coffee-Rubbed Pork Chops. Back Wrapped Chicken Wings and Filet Mignon Stuffed with Blue Cheese. Many, many more.

In a sea of books about barbecue, Ribs, Chops, Steaks & Wings is a standout. Well illustrated, Well designed. Well executed. Make no mistake: this is one book that is just as concerned with the steak as it is with the sizzle.



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