Food & Drink

Slow Fire: The Beginner’s Guide To Barbecue by Dr. BBQ Ray Lampe | Book Review

205234c3b37d0c6b7785_Ray_Lampe_Slow_Fire_a.jpg
In the book "Slow Fire: The Beginner’s Guide To Barbecue," Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe explains how technique is the key to good barbecue.
c5a9617cfbfa107ad759_Ray_Lampe_Slow_Fire_b.jpg
Broken into chapters based on the headliner of your meat (beef, pork, poultry), the book allows readers to start thematically or jump around.
205234c3b37d0c6b7785_Ray_Lampe_Slow_Fire_a.jpg

NUTLEY, NJ — Burgers, franks, and the occasional steak are not barbecue. Before everyone gets their knickers in a twist and posts endless comments, let’s go over some of the basics.

Hamburgers, hot dogs and steaks are grilled, outdoors. Since barbeque is traditionally cooked outdoors that’s where barbeque somehow evolved to mean most any cookout, even ones that are catered by the local deli.

Real barbecue is cooked low and slow, its smoky and saucy, and did I mention it takes time, lots of it, at low heat, for a long time. Think brisket so tender it literally falls off the bone, with a knife used only to push the tender meat onto the fork. Yankees refer to this as “southern barbecue,” but gourmands know it simply as barbeque.

Sign Up for E-News

Enough of my rant, what about the book: "Slow Fire: The Beginner’s Guide To Barbecue" by Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe?

From the title, the book appears to be written for the novice, but anyone with a penchant for perfecting their barbecue techniques can benefit. Let’s face it, your ribs might rock, but your brisket might be another story. Written a bit more like a do-it-yourself manual than a cookbook, the first portion of the book reviews the tools of the trade and explains that good BBQ is cooked at 225–250 F for a long time. While barbecue is traditionally cooked over wood coals, it is possible to achieve great results on a gas grill — and Lampe confirms this (the trick is low indirect heat). And yes, even the traditional Weber kettle can be used. 

Lampe’s strength is explaining the techniques of and reasons for this particular cooking method. Broken into chapters based on the headliner of your meat (beef, pork, poultry), the book allows readers to start thematically or jump around. The recipes are easy and straightforward because at the end of the meal, the big difference between good barbecue and great barbecue is technique. Put another way, think of how most Thanksgiving turkey tastes about the same, but sometimes it’s a juicy wonderland; and other times we’d like to remember the holiday as being about getting together with family. The technique matters, and that same lesson holds true for barbeque.

My favorite part of the book is the rubs. Store-bought rubs often have an overabundance of salt — let's face it, salt is cheap. Here, the rub recipes have that wonderful balance of flavors that will leave you wondering why you ever bought the packaged stuff to begin with. Making your own not only produces something with more flavor than the store bought variety, but makes your barbeque truly your own. They are easy to make, can be done well in advance of your barbecue, and store well.

Of course a real barbecue includes sides and desserts. Lampe offers recipes for sides like twice-smoked cheesy potatoes, bacon and blue cheese coleslaw and the world’s greatest banana pudding.

At 200 pages, with 60 recipes, the book seems a bit small compared to some of the others out there. Stop a moment and think logically: Since most barbeque is done on weekends, and with 52 weekends a year, there is more than enough information here to have an endless number of feasts.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Belmar/Lake Como

Princeton Students Achieve Success: Bog Turtle Designated State Reptile

June 19, 2018

TRENTON, NJ — Legislation inspired by students from Princeton designating the endangered bog turtle as the New Jersey state reptile has been signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy.

“I am so proud of the successful effort of students at Riverside Elementary and their teacher, Mark Eastburn, to name the bog turtle as New Jersey’s official reptile,”  said Sen.

Could Monmouth Park's Haskell Invitational Be on Justify's Agenda?

June 13, 2018

ELMONT, NY — Triple Crown winner Justify came out of his stall to meet the media bright and bouncing on the morning after his gate-to-wire win in the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes.

When asked to assess his colt's win, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert reported, “We were watching replays of the race. He could have gone around again.”

The brilliantly colored ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_a38a751f90a4ce79ff11_bacsummertime5

Wed, June 20, 5:00 PM

Belmar Arts Center, Belmar

Summertime, Summertime

Carousel_image_4a1c64948c48a958cf1e_belmarwomansbookgrannyattic

Fri, June 22, 11:00 AM

Taylor Pavilion, Belmar

Belmar Woman's Club Book and Granny's Attic Sale

Carousel_image_7ae118156f1d20aed5df_bbppyanoeplaza4

Fri, June 22, 6:30 PM

Pyanoe Plaza, Belmar

Friday Night Concert Series: Chris Turner and the ...

Carousel_image_e39a6027bb97b7e5457b_jumblesale

Sat, June 23, 10:00 AM

Calvary Baptist Church, Belmar

Calvary Baptist Church's Giant Jumble Sale

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...

JCP&L Completes Inspections and Projects Before Summer to Enhance Customer Service Reliability

June 12, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ — Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) has completed inspections and projects across its 13-county service area, including Monmouth County, to enhance customer reliability in preparation for the summer season.

The work included upgrading transmission and substation equipment, upgrading circuits and trimming trees along power lines.

Helicopter patrols are ...

Facebook Provides Verification Badges for All TAPinto Facebook Pages

TAPinto and its 75 partner sites have been verified on Facebook with the social media platform's blue badge, which is given to news organizations that meet Facebook's authenticity criteria. 

Facebook gives the blue verification badge to "eligible brands, media organizations and public figures," based on factors that include policy compliance and public ...

Belmar and Lake Como

June 2, 2018

Belmar Police Department reported the following arrests occurred in Belmar and Lake Como from April 1, 2018 to April 28, 2018.

BELMAR

Ryan Miles, 33, of Belmar was charged with contempt on an outstanding warrant after his arrest on April 1 on Route 35 by Police Officer Patrick McGill.

Lisa Perrault, 49, of Long Branch was arrested on 16th Avenue on April 6 by Police Officer Patrick ...