Food & Drink

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


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


Upcoming Events


Wed, March 21, 2:00 PM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Academy's 4th Annual Spring Splendor ...


Wed, March 21, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper


Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...

Councilwoman Checchio Honored as Woman of Excellence

March 21, 2018

Union County Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados, Vice Chairman Bette Jane Kowalski, Freeholder Linda Carter and Freeholder Alexander Mirabella congratulate Scotch Plains Councilwoman Rose Checchio at the Union County Commission on the Status of Women’s 26th annual Union County Women of Excellence dinner in Garwood. They were joined by New Jersey State Senator Nicholas P. Scutari, New ...


March 17, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2018 – Despite her rhetoric, U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12, failed Wednesday to deliver on her promise to make schools safer for our children.

The two-term congressperson was one of only 10 representatives that voted “nay” Wednesday afternoon on the STOP School Violence Act of 2018.

The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a ...

Former Rumson High School Student, 19, Arrested Possessing MSR-15 Patrol Rifle, Silencer, Explosive Chemicals

March 19, 2018

MONMOUTH, N.J. -  A former Rumson high school student was arrested in Ithaca New York. Maximilien R. Reynolds, 19, was charged with Possession of an Unregistered Destructive Device/Silencer, False Statement in Acquisition of a Firearm and False Statement in Required Firearm Record. Specifically, he is alleged to have possessed an MSR-15 Patrol Rifle, 300 rounds ...

La tienda de comestibles Canela de Plainfield acogerá el evento de la tienda Healthy Corner

March 19, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - EZ Ride y la ciudad de Plainfield se han asociado una vez más con Canela Grocery and Deli para organizar un evento gratuito para los residentes que ofrece muestras gratis de bocadillos saludables, cupones, una rifa saludable de canastas e información nutricional. Atlantic Health también estará en el evento con una unidad móvil para proporcionar ...

Celebrando el Mes de la Historia de la Mujer

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Estimados Plainfield,

Yo fui criado por dos mujeres poderosas e generosas, y me pasaron principios y valores que me han guiado durante mi vida entera. Mi mama persiguió la oportunidad y busco una manera de proveer para su familia. Ella dejo la isla de Barbados para poder trabajar en los hogares de los Estados Unidos, creando e allanando un camino para que sus hijos lo ...

Innovador Plainfield

Estimados Plainfield,


El crecimiento requiere evolución, la evolución implica cambio, y el cambio conduce a la innovación. Plainfield está evolucionando. Nos estamos adaptando para cumplir con los requisitos del renacimiento que está formando el futuro. No podemos esperar cambio positivo y sostenible si continuamos con el mismo ritmo de las ...

Distrito escolar de Plainfield anuncia ganadores de Feria de las Ciencias

PLAINFIELD, NJ - La Oficina de Tecnología, Ciencias e Instrucción de las Escuelas Públicas de Plainfield anunció a los ganadores de la Feria de Ciencias 2018, en una recepción celebrada el jueves 1 de marzo de 2018 en la Escuela Primaria Clinton.

Veintiocho de los 178 estudiantes en grados 4-12 recibieron los máximos honores después de presentar ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

Lilli DeJong by Janet Benton

Lilli De Jong by Janet Benton (Doubleday, 2017)


“It's said that every woman's painful labor is God's punishment. Eve ate an apple, and God pours wrath on every mother. So the Bible tells it.” (p.320)

The story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which is the Biblical explanation for the extreme pains of childbirth, casts women in the role of ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)


Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...