No surprise that local pit-master Chris Schlesinger’s latest release, Grill It! (DK Publishing, 352 pages, $25), is a big slab of a book, packed with juicy photos and recipes: It’s like a Texas T-bone with a table of contents. What is surprising is that Schlesinger, co-owner of Cambridge’s East Coast Grill, still has a lot to say about the art of grilling. After all, he and collaborator John “Doc” Willoughby, executive editor of Gourmet magazine, have already been on a veritable hot streak with License to Grill, The Thrill of the Grill, Let the Flames Begin, and How to Cook Meat.
What makes Grill It! stand out, though, is first the tiptop photography: Publisher Dorling Kindersley is known for lavishly illustrated titles (it puts out the superb Eyewitness Travel guides, for instance), and that gives Grill It! extra appeal.
Not only is each smoke-roasted chicken and grilled sirloin skewer shown in lavish, full-page detail (the better to gauge how close your end result matches the master’s), but there’s also a wealth of instructional close-ups of properly lit coals, different grill setups, and so on.
Also, the how-to information is blessedly straightforward (the two pages devoted to “Knowing When Food Is Done” should save novices a lot of heartbreak), while the recipes are appropriately adventurous (super-fiery West Indian chicken breasts with sour orange mojo, grilled figs with blue cheese and crispy ham). All in all, Grill It! is one smart investment for the outdoor gourmet.
Mark your calendar: Chris Schlesinger will be at the Institute of Contemporary Art on 6/27 to talk barbecue and sign copies of his cookbooks. Free with museum admission, 6:30 p.m., 100 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-478-3100, icaboston.org.
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