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May 29, 2017
Books for Better Outdoor Cooking
  • The Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook
    The Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook

    The Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook

    From the depths of more than a hundred years’ worth of archives comes The Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook. The book tells the story of the newspaper’s relationship with grilling, from the first mention of a barbecue in 1852 to Mark Bittman’s contributions a full 150 years later. It will have you grilling things you never imagined, like coleslaw and slices of poundcake.

  • Around the Fire
    Around the Fire

    Around the Fire

    At Ox, in Portland, Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton do a hefty amount of their cooking with the help of fire. Cocktails are tinged with smoked lemon syrup, greens are kissed by the grill, and peaches are lightly charred to go with a refreshing sweet corn panna cotta. In this book, the Dentons show us the varied, unexpected ways we can bring a little bit of smoke into almost everything on the table.

  • Home Cooked
    Home Cooked

    Home Cooked

    Some of the most alluring moments of this book are the pieces of courageous homesteading that Anya Fernald embarks upon—grinding and filling her own herbed lamb sausages or marinating her own sardines. But even those of us (and I’m not naming names) who will never, ever create our own perfectly uniform chains of sausage links will enjoy the DIY spirit of this book and the recipes for blistered green beans, grilled sardines, and grilled sweetbreads.

  • Franklin Barbecue
    Franklin Barbecue

    Franklin Barbecue

    There’s a reason Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, has a cult following and perpetually long lines. The restaurant has allegedly sold out of brisket every day of its existence over the last eight years. In this “meat-smoking manifesto,” founder Aaron Franklin tells the story of the barbecue destination that’s caught the eye of Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama with its brisket, ribs, and pulled pork.

  • Meathead
    Meathead

    Meathead

    It takes a special kind of deranged dedication to change your name to Meathead. Meathead Goldwyn got his start at the helm of aptly named amazingribs.com, blogging obsessively about grilling techniques and recipes. His book is a work of encyclopedic mastery—a detailed catalog of his research on the subject of barbecue, especially ribs.

  • Fire & Smoke
    Fire & Smoke

    Fire & Smoke

    In his ode to fire and smoke, Chris Lilly, the pitmaster of Alabama’s Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, considers grilling in its most elemental form. Looking beyond Alabama’s own barbecue tradition, he writes about the history and cooking qualities of some of most popular outdoor-cooking rigs around the world, chiming in on everything from the tandoor to the hibachi.

  • Book of Smoke
    Book of Smoke

    Book of Smoke

    At Buxton Hall BBQ, in Asheville, North Carolina, the focus is on the whole hog. The main feature of the menu is the platters and sandwiches made from the whole hog barbecue, and the drippings and leftovers from the pig go into Brussels sprouts, grits, and stock. In his Book of Smoke, Moss provides a detailed guide for building your own pit at home, or for the casual dabbler, ways to add smoky flavor to chicken wings, tofu, and grits.

  • Praise the Lard
    Praise the Lard

    Praise the Lard

    New York is not a city known for its barbecue, but Mike Mills is trying to change that. Mills is a partner at Blue Smoke and a cofounder of New York’s Big Apple Barbecue Block Party. His book celebrates the ways that smoking comes into play in many of New York’s cuisines, in things like pastrami, porchetta, and German sausages.

  • Pitmaster
    Pitmaster

    Pitmaster

    In this comprehensive guide, Boston restaurateur Andy Husbands hits all the trademark techniques and recipes of American barbecue—Memphis-style ribs, cornbread, smoky baked beans, and spicy collards. Rather than drawing from just his own menus, Husbands profiles a bunch of other revered pitmasters, like Steve Raichlen, John Lewis, and Billy Durney, and samples from their methods.

Nine of the best books out there for grilling, and smoking, and everything in between.

Outdoor cooking can mean a lot of different things depending on who you ask. It could mean cooking salmon on a salt block, baking bread in a brick oven, cold-smoking beets, burying an entire pig in a pit with some hot coals, or even setting a can of baked beans over a campfire just long enough to warm them through.

There are a lot of things you can do outdoors that aren’t quite the same in the oven or on the stovetop. Outside, you can cook things hotter and quicker, or for a longer time at a cooler temperature—permeating the vegetables and proteins with the taste of the smoke and the taste of whatever’s being burnt to create the smoke. You can caramelize glazed chicken wings and cure sausages, blister sugar snap peas and char eggplant skins.

But as with all things in the kitchen (or the backyard), some instruction can be helpful. Here are a few of our favorite books about cooking outdoors, from authentic Texas barbecue to modern homesteading. Click on the thumbnails to read more and to find out where you can buy the books.

Anna Hezel

Anna Hezel is the former senior editor of TASTE.