Food & Drink

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

205234c3b37d0c6b7785_Ray_Lampe_Slow_Fire_a.jpg
c5a9617cfbfa107ad759_Ray_Lampe_Slow_Fire_b.jpg
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 cook out, 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 if 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 DIY manual than cookbook, the first portion of the book reviews the tools of the trade and explains that good b-b-q is cooked at 225 – 250 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 and reasons of this particular cooking method. Broken into chapters based on the headliner of your meal (beef, pork, poultry) readers can 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 – lets face it, salt is cheap. Here the rub recipes have that wonderful balance of flavors that will leave 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’re 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

Passaic Valley

Passaic County CASA Recognizes Volunteer Child Advocates at Annual Event

May 15, 2018

WAYNE, NJ - More than 50 staff members, volunteers, and board members from Passaic County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) celebrated the impact of CASA volunteers at the organization's Volunteer Appreciation Brunch on April 28, at Laurelwood Arboretum in Wayne. T

his annual event recognizes Passaic County CASA volunteer advocates and the difference they make in the lives ...

DeCroce’s Bill Consolidating Suicide Prevention Programs Into One Office at Health Department Clears Committee

May 16, 2018

TRENTON, N.J. – Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce consolidating the state’s two suicide prevention programs into one office won committee approval. The bill (A3645) creates a suicide prevention council in the Health Department. It passed the Assembly Human Services Committee 6-0. 

“Searching for information can be very frustrating when you ...