Fire and Smoke
A Pitmaster’s Secrets
by Chris Lilly
Grill like a pro with the expert recipes and tips in Fire and Smoke.
World champion pitmaster Chris Lilly combines the speed of grilling with the smoky flavors of low-and-slow barbecue for great meals any night of the week, no fancy equipment required. Cook trout in a cast-iron skillet nestled right in smoldering coals for a crispy yet tender and flaky finish. Roast chicken halves in a pan on a hot grill, charring the skin while capturing every bit of delicious juice. Infuse delicious smoke flavors into fruits and vegetables, even cocktails and desserts. Fire and Smoke gives you 100 great reasons to fire up your grill or smoker tonight.
Overall Score: 3.6
As far as smoking cookbooks go this is pretty in depth. the first thirty pages are nothing but different kinds of smokers and grill and how to use them. Also, good information on the different kinds of wood you should use.The Chapters range from Grilled Cocktails, Sandwiches, Pizza, Ribs, and Grilled Deserts. They even have a chapter on sauces and dry rubs. My favorite chapter however is Barbecue Leftovers because these recipes are on the hardy side. Most of these recipes are for the extended family or a backyard party. So the leftovers chapter is vital for us smaller groups.
I tried to followed all of these recipes exactly as written but in this case, I needed tools I did not have Like a smokers and a charcoal grill. I Made due with a smoke box and gas grill instead.
Curry Chicken Satay
These were a great appetizer. Easy to make but did have a lot of clean up. The lemon grass was not to overwhilming and the curry flavore carried it. I served this with the Serrano Pepper Coleslaw and they were pretty good together. I also made a spicy peanut dipping sauce (not in the recipe book) and that was even better with the curry flavor.
Serrano Pepper Coleslaw
I’m more of a Creamy coleslaw guy but I have to admit that this vinegary spicy slaw was pretty good. Everything about this was easy and quick. The only thing that took time was slicing everything nice and fine. I started with a big mandolin but half way through changed over to my sharp knifes instead. Even though it has a Serrano pepper in it the recipe is not terribly hot. This would be a good companion to pork or fish…on or off a sandwich.
Creamy Creole Coleslaw
Normally I make a wide variety of dishes from the same book but I had another half of a cabbage so I made another one of his Coleslaw recipes. I’m not exactly sure what makes this Creole except that Creole mustered is one of the ingredients. There are ingredients I would have never thought to put in a coleslaw and yet it works. Tomatoes, peppers and onions are added to the more standard ingredients making this a cool variation on the traditional.
Pan-Seared New York Strip with Bourbon Cream Sauce
This recipe uses a iron skillet on the grill to sear the strip and cook the sauce. 10 minutes to cook and that crazy mesquite and bourbon flavor make this a new dish in my arsenal. Even though it was amazing I did have some problems making this. I don’t own a laser thermometer but unless you do it’s difficult to follow the direction of “heat the skillet to 500 degrees.” Also, that is really hot for a grill. I have a preheat setting on my gas grill that I believe got it close to the mark. The other problem is when you are cooking it that high there is a lot of carbon build up in the pan and when you add the cream and bourbon to the hot pan it totally pulls the carbonized pieces off of the pan and into your sauce. A safety issue I had was trying to pour the sauce out of that very hot skillet. Because you do it on a closed grill the handle gets 500 degrees too. And those things are not light and it was heating up my had inside the pot holder. The last thing that I didn;t expect was that the sauce was not as thick as I would have expected. So, great recipe with a few fixable flaws.
Apple Cider Ribs
It’s rare when you come across a recipe that will become the new way you do things. This is it for me. This is going to be my new baby back rib recipe from now on. Now, I couldn’t find apple jelly so I used apple-jalapeno jelly instead but being a small part of the recipe I don’t think it changed it too much. You could taste the apples and hickory smoke in the meat and so tender. My favorite part is that because of the cooking method used the bark doesn’t have a chance to get all dried out and tough. I think the only thing that could make this any better is if the recipe included some sort of homemade apple BBQ sauce to put on the meat instead of store bought BBQ sauce.
Hickory-Smoke Maple & Black Pepper Bacon
I have seen how to do this online but I’m only now comfortable attempting to cure bacon with this book handy. Takes a week and 5 hours to make but blows the store bought stuff out of the water. Mostly its hands off and sitting in the fridge and when you do have to do something it is quite simple. The flavor is very good and I feel sad that I haven’t been doing this my whole adult life. Now that I know that basics I bet I can make a wide assortment of flavors and styles of bacon.
For a soft cover book with easy to read recipes this is a pretty nice cookbook. The soft cover makes it stay open on any page easier when your hands are coated in wet rub. There is practically a photo for every recipe which I appreciate as well. Huge variety of recipes and a creative ones to boot.
I had no problem following the concise, easy to read, recipes. Although, to follow this book properly you need to really be into smoking and grilling and purchase some of the more hard core smokers tools.
I only made a few of the recipes and I think they were as good as some of more popular rib joint I have eaten at. I have eaten at some of the best and this book lets you make all that flavor in your backyard.
With all it has going for it there are very few recipes that lend themselves to the smaller groups so this brings the score down for me. The cocktails and the sauces section work for anybody. The recipes can be paired down without to much difficulty but this book is much more for the party people.
Singlearity Score: 2 out of 5
how single friendly the recipes are
Flavor Score: 5 out of 5
how tasty the recipes are
Easy Score: 4 out of 5
recipe difficulty level
Overall Score: 3.6 out of 5