Love the smell of the charcoal and the look of those oh-so-perfect grill marks? Or having the family gathered around a plate of mouthwatering burgers? As fall approaches, and it cools down a little, it's just the right time to have a cookout. But if you're anything like us, your cookout menu might be a little…unoriginal. If so, check out these books for inspiration, tips on technique, and recipes guaranteed to shake things up.
Grill Every Day: 125 Fast-Track Recipes for Weeknights at the Grill
Chronicle Books, $24.95
By Diane Morgan
What it is: Great for anyone who doesn't want to wait for the weekend, this book makes things easy. For the beginner, there's advice on choosing a grill and the right tools (think: a gas grill with a built-in thermometer, not just standard heat settings). If you're more seasoned, check out Morgan's clever ways to work leftovers into your grilling routine. Not sold yet? Did we mention grilled bananas with rum and molasses?
Who it's for: The chill griller.
Bobby Flay's Grill It!
Clarkson Potter, $35
By Bobby Flay, Stephanie Banyas,
and Sally Jackson
What it is: The charismatic chef and TV
personality is at it again. In this, his newest and fourth book devoted to the art of grilling, Flay explores how to choose between a charcoal and gas grill, highlights lots of great sauce and rub recipes (try the Honey-Mustard-Mint Sauce), and even spices things up with some
unusual fruit treats.
Who it's for: The traditional griller.
The Barbecue! Bible
Workman Publishing Company, $19.95
By Steven Raichlen
What it is: More than ten years ago, award-winning author Raichlen set out to find the best in grilling around the globe. Three years and twenty-five countries later, this 500-recipe almanac was born. Now in its tenth-anniversary edition, this compendium has international flair and all-encompassing advice, so you can cook a mean Peruvian steak or perfect your classic North Carolina pulled pork.
Who it's for: The adventurer.
BBQ Bash: The Be-All, End-All Party Guide, from Barefoot to Black Tie
Harvard Common Press, $16.95
By Karen Adler and Judith Fertig
What it is: What's the point of doing all the cooking if you don't get to let loose and party a little? In addition to a ton of cool dishes (doesn't grilled-pink-grapefruit-and-orange salad with avocado make your mouth water?), Adler and Fertig offer great advice for making any get-together a success, from selecting a menu to choosing the drinks, and even making a play list.
Who it's for: The partier.
Country Living Eating Outdoors: Sensational Recipes for Cookouts, Picnics, and Take-Along Food
By the editors of Country Living and Kathleen Hackett
What it is: For those who know that a cookout is about way more than what's on the barbie, this book featuring outdoor recipes and sensational photography from Country Living magazine can make any meal a success. Not only does it tackle traditional grilling (think burgers and steaks), it fills the rest of the table with appetizers, salads, drinks, and even ice cream.
Who it's for: The hostess with the mostess.
The New Vegetarian Grill, Revised Edition: 250 Flame-Kissed Recipes for Fresh, Inspired Meals
Harvard Common Press, $16.95
By Andrea Chesman
What it is: Thought vegetarian grilling was an oxymoron? Think again. This revised and updated edition of the best-selling grilling book has fifty new recipes for the not-so-carnivorous, anyone looking to cut back on calories, or just someone who wants to mix up what they throw on the rack (pistachio quesadillas,
grilled white pizza, even pasta!).
Who it's for: The veggie lover.