Weber’s New Real Grilling by Jamie Purviance, billed as “the ultimate cookbook for every backyard griller,” is a gorgeous book. At over three hundred pages chock full of beautiful full page pictures and detailed instructions, this tome is one that should be in the library of anyone who owns a grill in their backyard or on their patio.
Jamie Purviance graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and Stanford University and has written all of Weber’s cookbooks. Weber’s Way to Grill was a James Beard Award nominee and both it and Weber’s Smoke are NYT best sellers.
What I enjoy the most out of the book is the fact that it’s not just a book of recipes. Think about every barbecue or cookout you’ve ever been to – chances are the menu is the same. You have burgers, hot dogs, kabobs, or some other meat sizzling on the grill and everything else is prepared inside. You combine a piece of meat with a couple pieces of bread, eat some delicious vegetable or starchy sides, and that’s it.
How often have you gone to a place where you enjoyed a hickory-smoked beer can chicken? An entire chicken roasted on a grill? Probably not. (that recipe is on page 208). How often have you had seafood prepared on the grill? Seafood section starts on page 214 and goes through everything from scallops to shrimp to arctic char and whole fish.
Enough with the recipes, I said it was more than just a book of recipes, right? The value in this book is in the instruction. There are “skills” section that teach you how to sharpen a knife, what tools you’ll need, what spices you’ll want to stock in your pantry, and all those “basics” that a novice will need. It also goes into cooking instructions, which is invaluable if you’ve never grilled a particular product on the grill and don’t want to tragically mess up the first time (any experimenter will know you never get it right, we just try to avoid the tragedies!).
So I flipped to grilling seafood, something I’ve never done, and there are instructions on how long to cook a particular item and how. For example, mussels need about 5-6 minutes on direct high heat for every 1-2 ounces. Oysters weighing 3-4 ounces need 5-7 minutes on direct high heat. Whole fish, on the other hand, need indirect heat and 15-20 minutes if it’s a single pound. Up it to 2-2.5 pounds and you’ll want 20-30 minutes. As is the case with anything on the grill, these are just guidelines but it’s good to know what time range to be in.
One word of warning, don’t look at this book when you’re hungry.