Cookbook Review: Gastro Grilling by Ted Reader
May 15, 2014
Barbecue and grilling cookbook season is upon us and we’ve got a sneak peek at one of the most intriguing titles – Gastro Grilling: Fired-Up Recipes to Grill Great Everyday Meals by Ted Reader – courtesy of Chris Grove of NibbleMeThis.com.
Prolific grilling author, Ted Reader, has a new grilling cookbook out just in time for the longer days and shorter nights.
I was curious as to what the “Gastro” would be, since in some “pubs” it has come to mean snooty, overpriced and over produced food with gels and foams. Ted understands that connotation and put’s it out of the way in his opening:
“Gastro does not imply pretentious when I’m involved. Gastronomy means “the art and science of good eating.” There are other definitions in play, but I like this one. It’s simple and the truth and unpretentious, like me and my food.” - Ted Reader
Ted has had amazing grilling and BBQ experiences all over. For example, just this week he was at Niagra for the Beer n’ BBQ festival cooking with other major BBQ players like DivaQ and Dr BBQ. Great times for sure, but he admits that his real satisfaction comes from grilling in his backyard and that is what Gastro Grilling is about.
Fired-Up Recipes To Grill Great Everyday Meals
by Ted Reader
Pintail (part of Penguin)
$25 ($18.30 at Amazon)
Available in soft cover and kindle editions, Gastro Grilling weighs in at 373 pages and sports some 135 recipes. It is organized into Party Starters, Side Kicks, Sandwiches, Meat, Poultry, Fish & Shellfish, Drinks, and Desserts. The introduction does a good job of covering the basics and grilling options. Sometimes the intro section of grilling books can drone on but Ted keeps it light with witty turns of phrase and comments. Each major section also has mini-intros with general information to supplement the recipes in that section. I like how that is put together.
Ted is the kind of cook that likes to play with his food. Much like Adam Perry Lang, Ted’s recipes get the cook involved with a lot of stuff to do, which is fun to me. Things like making a salmon and shrimp stuffing for a bacon wrapped scallop or building a plank box for Love Potatoes come to mind. There is a lot of wrapping, deboning, injecting, and long marinating periods. That is my style of cooking so I ate this book up.
Gastro Grilling also involves playing with toys and gadgets using absolutely vital grilling tools (that’s what we’ll tell our spouses anyway), which is also something I enjoy. He utilizes grilling stones, planks, and the like. He has a really cool way of cooking poultry using two skewers (although it reminds me of the scarecrows in the 1968 Planet of the Apes). Hell, he even gets you to use a wheelbarrow if you are so inclined.
The first recipe I tried was his Grilled Mojo Chicken. I didn’t have a whole chicken handy so I used the marinade for a family pack of wings. After they cooked, I tossed them in a jerk compound butter that I had made using 1 stick of butter, 1/2 tsp jerk seasoning, 1/2 tsp seasoned salt, and 1/4 tsp sugar. I cooked them on one of our kamado grills using a raised/elevated cooking grate. Quite tasty!
Some of the recipes I can’t wait to try are:
- Brown Sugar Butter Crusted Shrimp with Red & White Cocktail Sauces
- Baked Sweet Potatoes with Hot Buttered Love Injection
- Stone Grilled Butter Burgers
- Smoked & Grilled Beef Ribs with Beer Schmeer
Mike McColl is the photographer and Mia Bachmaier is the principal food stylist. Both did great work, producing mouthwatering pictures that make you want to try out the recipe. The book is loaded with quality, full and half page color photographs. Most are of finished dishes but step by step photos are used in a few places where needed.
Gastro Grilling is good for anyone wanting to elevate their level of grilling. Even if you are just starting out, you will learn a lot from the recipes and techniques offered. But I think it is ideal for the more advanced grillers, who sometimes yawn at most grilling books. If you are bored with grilling because you’ve “done it all”, Gastro Grilling will wake up your backyard cooking!
If you have the “set it and forget it” mindset for grilling, then this book probably isn’t best suited for you. But for anyone else, I’d recommend it.
Rank (Out of 5)
4+ stars: good cookbook with value added tips, photos, guides, and other content