Raichlen has put together a great book on all the things that add flavor to our grilled, BBQ’d, and smoked foods. As is his style, he adds a biography for each of the recipes that explains where it comes from or where he discovered it and what it goes well with. He also includes a few recipes that include both the meat and the accompaniment. I wish he had more pointers to recipes from Project Smoke or the Barbecue Bible to help provide more illustrations of what goes well together. A lot of it was “this goes well with grilled beef”, but I wish I had just a few more examples of which flavors go well together. Especially when talking about bastes and butters that would likely be combined with rubs, seasonings, or other flavorings. Speaking of which, he has lots of sections with definitions and I now know the difference between those.
I think this is a great accompaniment to someone who’s already a grill master or pit master to help add some creativity to their traditional output. It’s not a how-to book like his other books (because those other books already exist), it’s a book to expand your horizons.
Final note, it’s been interesting to compare Raichlen to Meathead. Raichlen was classically trained in Paris (unless I’m misremembering) and gravitated towards BBQ recipe authorship. Meathead was a reporter who moved towards book writing. Meathead’s recommendations come with scientific backing while Raichlen’s are rooted in a mix of trial/error and classical recipes. They compliment each other well although I tend to err on the side of Meathead when they disagree since he and Dr Blonder seem to really love the scientific method.