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Barbecue & Grilling Cookbooks – Mastering Barbecue – Stines

Mastering Barbecue by Michael H. Stines is chock full of great grilling tips, recipes and techniques. Chef Stines convinced me of the awesome value of brining poultry to keep it moist, and prevent drying out. His “Spicy Poultry Brine” recipe combines salt with pickling spices, peppercorns, vinegar and 10 other everyday spices from your cabinet. He also includes brining recipes for pork, salmon and fish.

It’s May, and that means warm weather here in Maryland. Time to get out the Weber Kettle and Char-Griller Pro and do some serious cooking! As Joshua Bousel said over at SeriousEats.com
“there are two seasons each year: grilling season and the other”.

While I’ve been cooking on the grills since early April, I’d like to start off with a look at one of my “go to” cookbooks. (click twice on that back cover, and you can read it just fine)

Mastering BarbecueMastering Barbecue Back Cover

The first thing I read about was ribs! For ribs, Chef Stines recommends soaking them in
a gallon of water and 1 cup of white vinegar for 20 minutes. When I asked Chef Stines what this was all about, he emailed this:

I’ve always soaked ribs in the vinegar-water solution primarily to “clean” the surface of the ribs. Often ribs are coated with moisture and I find the soaking helps prepare them for the mustard and rub. I’m not sure if the soaking actually tenderizes the meat to some extent although the acid in the vinegar should tenderize the surface of the meat.

I usually cook spares, especially for competition, and always remove the silverskin from the back of the rack. I think the vinegar solution helps there also making it more receptive for the rub. With baby backs, I also remove the silverskin (when possible).

I have to admit, soaking the ribs did “clean” them, the silverskin was easier to remove, and they felt as if they took the rub better. I’m not sure if any of this affected the taste, though.

The 10 Chapters in the book are:

  1. Good Stuff to know
  2. Rubs spices & seasonings
  3. Marinades, mops & bastes
  4. Sauces – sweet, sour & spicy
  5. Beef – steaks, briskets & roasts
  6. Poultry – chicken, duck & turkey
  7. Pork – chops, loins & butts
  8. Ribs – racks & slabs
  9. Seafood – fish, shellfish & crustaceans
  10. Vegetables – grilled, smoked & roasted

With TONS of recipes, tips and techniques, this book has something for every backyard chef!

There are 60 rub recipes, more than 50 mops and marinades, and 50 different sauces.

I wish I could do this cookbook justice, but I’m not a book reviewer… I just know what I like, and this book has helped me dozens of times last summer and into this season.

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