Review: Steven Raichlen’s The Brisket Chronicles

I bought Steven Raichlen’s The Brisket Chronicles for one reason: to perfect my brisket smoking technique. I am a huge fan of brisket, and love making it. This book is without a doubt the quintessential book on brisket. And not just for smoking, either. All ways of preparing brisket are covered, from braising to grilling to even boiling.

This book is much more than recipes. It’s about technique, it’s about meat selection and quality. Every aspect of brisket cooking is covered. And covered well, with great photos on the processes that can be hard to detail in just words. Like trimming brisket. Trimming is an important part of the process and getting it wrong is going to make for a less-than-spectacular end result.

Although The Brisket Chronicles covers other things, the real focus and the real star is smoking brisket. All of the recipes from the best brisket joints across America are detailed. Bacon-wrapped, coffee-rubbed, old-school Texas-style, Kansas City-style, you name it, it’s in here. If you’re a brisket lover like I am, it’s enough to make you cry. But wait, it’s not just about US flavors. There are recipes for Asian brisket. And Jamaican jerk brisket.

If you’re into saucing brisket there’s plenty of recipes for sauces. And of course there are lots of rubs and seasonings too. And my favorite, burnt ends. And for the best you go to Tuffy Stone. And yep, the recipe is in the book too!

Side dishes, burgers, sandwiches… you name it. Anything you can make with brisket is in this book. It’s not a one-trick pony by any stretch. You’ll find a myriad of ways of cooking and serving brisket. Including one of my favorite things to make: pastrami.

I cannot say enough about Steven Raichlen’s The Brisket Chronicles. It truly is the only book you’ll ever need on brisket. It’s huge, has tons of photos and techniques and recipes. It’s incredible. I gave it top ratings on my ‘Mater Rater.

Review: David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop

This is not the first book on making ice cream and other frozen treats that I’ve had in my library. But oh is David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop ever the best and by far full of the easiest recipes. I found the recipes to not only be fantastic tasting, but all can made with pretty minimal effort and ingredients. That’s a big win in my book.

The Perfect Scoop starts out with the basics of making ice cream. You might be tempted to skip this section and skip to getting to making the good stuff, but you should read it at least once. It’s full of tips and techniques and information about ingredients that will help you make the absolutely best treats.

Next, we’re on to my favorite section, ice creams, frozen yogurts and gelatos. There’s an absolute ton of recipes in this section. Everything from ‘normal’ vanilla ice cream to basil ice cream. All well-written and none are scary enough to make the novice ice cream maker nervous. Not even 30 minutes after I got The Perfect Scoop I was making the chocolate-peanut butter ice cream. With only 5 ingredients it has quickly become a staple in our freezer.

Sorbets and sherbets are next. And there’s tons of recipes in this section, too. Really easy to make, and packed with fresh fruits. Proof you don’t have to use heavy cream to make a delicious frozen treat.

Granitas are in the next section of The Perfect Scoop. Making granitas is something very new to me, though I’ve seen it done on TV before. Darn near every recipe in this part of the book is on my to-do list. Again, all great stuff.

The last two chapters of the book are just fun. Sauces and Toppings contains everything you could ever need to turn your yummy ice cream from the second chapter of the book into something unbelievably good. Make your own marshmallow sauce. Or raspberry sauce. Or hot fudge. It’s all in there. And the Mix-Ins section? Even more great ways to customize your ice cream creations. Things like peanut brittle , fudge ripple, and truffles. Your friends and family will be amazed by the fact that everything in their bowl was made by you.

David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop is a great book for anyone interested in making their own fabulous desserts. It rates very high on my ‘Mater Rater scale.

'Mater Rater
For more of my reviews of cookbooks available for the Amazon Kindle readers, visit Kindle Thyme.

Review: Brother Jimmy’s BBQ: More Than 100 Recipes

Wow. Much more than a collection of recipes, Brother Jimmy’s BBQ: More Than 100 Recipes for Pork, Beef, Chicken & the Essential Southern Sides is an absolute delight. I picked up an eBook version of the book from our library and within minutes I had already bookmarked 10s of recipes that I had to make. Not wanted to make, HAD to make. Everything sounded (and looked so good) that I was already adding ingredients to my grocery list before I made it to the end of the first chapter.

If you have a grill or smoker, you need this book. Many of the recipes are simple, but delicious. Some are classics, but with slight twists that make you go ‘wow, what a great idea!’. Many are inspired by items on the menu of the incredibly popular Brother Jimmy’s restaurant in New York (and a few other places). The book is written by Josh Lebowitz, now the owner of Brother Jimmy’s. Like his letter at the beginning states, this book is meant to “bring a little Brother Jimmy’s” to backyard party or wherever you are cooking.

Brother Jimmy’s BBQ is divided into 11 chapters, plus an introduction for those just getting started. The chapters are: Rubs, Spices and Sauces, Condiments, Pickles and Slaws, Drinks, Starters, Soups, Stews and Sturdy Salads, Pork, Beef, Poultry, Seafood, and last, Dessert. Each section is packed with delicious recipes and notes, stories and tidbits by the author. Don’t just jump to the recipes, read it like a book. You’ll be glad you did.

I would normally tell you about some of the recipes but honestly, there are so many great ones I can’t even pick. I liked everything so much that the day after I got the book I made Brother Jimmy’s BBQ sauce, BBQ baked beans, blue cheese dressing (for dipping wings and mushrooms), marinated and grilled mushrooms (so good in the blue cheese dressing!) and Cajun-fried chicken. Every single dish was fantastic. I can’t wait to make more!

To be fair (and consistent) I do wish that Brother Jimmy’s BBQ had more pictures, but since I so loved the end results of what I made, I didn’t really need more pictures. I am going to take a little off my final score using the ‘Mater Rater but I very highly recommend this book. Go get it!

'Mater Rater

For more of my reviews of cookbooks available for the Amazon Kindle readers, visit Kindle Thyme.