Book Reviews


Book Review: Gastro Grilling by Ted Reader

Gastro Grilling Cover

Over the coarse of the year we get a lot of requests to do cookbook reviews and it is always exciting to see what kind of innovative work chefs and pitmasters around the world are doing. We were particularly excited to receive a review copy of Ted Reader’s latest cookbook, Gastro Grilling: Fired-Up Recipes To Grill Great Everyday Meals, because he is one of the more innovative and griller friendly barbecue cookbook authors around.

After several weeks of reviewing Gastro Grilling we weren’t disappointed. In fact we’re even more excited about Gastro Grilling than when we received it. Gastro Grilling is an outstanding cookbook that should be in the arsenal of grillers across the spectrum from beginner to seasoned veteran. 

If you’re grill addicted and not familiar with Ted Reader you need to be. Reader is one of Canada’s most well known chefs and food entertainers and have a serious addiction to barbecue – he owns more than 100 grills and holds the world record for the largest hamburger ever grilled, weighing in at 590 pounds (How the heck did he flip that burger?)! Reader’s focus is on helping novice grillers become masters with recipes anyone can follow and with more than 20 cookbooks to his name he is doing it with innovative and delicious recipes that are sure to excite everyone’s taste buds! Where he isn’t writing cookbooks you’ll find Reader cooking barbecue at events around the world or acting as a spokesperson or culinary consultant for companies like Safeway, Costco, and TGI Friday’s. Reader certainly has an impressive resume and has established himself as a barbecue and grilling authority. 

Now let’s dig into the pages of Gastro Grilling!

Gastro Grilling has more than 135 recipes that provide simple step-by-step instructions and are accompanied by an exceptional array of photos (and you know our feeling on how important great photos are to achieving a great cookbook). According to Reader, “The word ‘gastro’ comes from ‘gastronomy,’ and most people seem to think that means pretentious. Gastro does not imply pretentious when I’m involved,” says Reader. “Gastronomy means ‘the art and science of good eating.’ There are other definitons in play, but I like this one. It’s simple and the truth and unpretentious; like me and my food.”

Reader breaks the book up into the following chapters: 1) Introduction, 2) Party Starters, 3) Side Kicks, 4) Sandwiches, 5) Meat, 6) Poultry, 7) Fish & Shellfish, 8) Drinks and 9) Desserts. The extensive introduction gives an in depth explanation of what Gastro Grilling is while providing, among other things, excellent information on fuel types (including wood, charcoal and gas), understanding your charcoal fire, necessary grill gadgets and tools, and planking. The exceptional recipes start from the first recipe in the book on page 32 – Reader’s recipe for Cheesy Goodness! is not only innovative (you cook it on a soapstone block), but looks delicious and is sure to get any party started off right! Among the other recipes that immediately peaked my interest are the Smoked Risotto with Fire-Roasted Squash (pg. 108), Grilled Bacon Banh Mi (pg. 122), Grilled Tuna Muffuletta (pg. 137), Smoked Lamb Ribs with Spicy Peanut Sauce (pg. 245), Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Sardines (pg. 300) and Weiss Bier Cocktail with Charred Orange & Bourbon (pg. 345).

One of the more interesting recipes in the book is Dad’s Grilled Steak (pg. 174) where Reader explains how this recipe is where his love of grilling began. For the recipe read the attached recipe card.


We are very happy to give Gastro Grilling our full endorsement and encourage anyone who loves grilling and barbecue to get a copy today!

In addition to the extensive list of cookbooks Reader has authored he is the creator of a line of sauces and seasonings called Ted’s World Famous BBQ and has a line of Ted Reader Signature Series Grills made by Napoleon Grills. Be sure to check out Reader’s full line of products and cookbooks on his website.

Do you want to win a copy of Gastro Grilling, a set of Reader’s signature sauces and rubs and a Pork Barrel BBQ Picnic Pack (1 bottle of each of our sauces (Original, Sweet, Mustard and Carolina Vinegar) and 1 jar of our All-American Spice Rub)? It’s simple to register, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post and let us know why you are looking forward to the 2014 BBQ Season and why you need a copy of Gastro Grilling and pantry full of sauces and rubs from Ted’s World Famous BBQ and Pork Barrel BBQ. You have until May 7th to leave a comment. We’ll pick our favorite comment and announce a winner on May 8th.


Pork Barrel BBQ Giveaway – Win a Copy of Grill To Perfection and a Pork Barrel BBQ Picnic Pack

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If you’re looking to get your hands on a copy of the excellent new book Grill To Perfection: Two Champion Pit Masters Share Recipes And Techniques For Unforgettable Backyard Grilling by Andy Husbands and Chris Hart you’re in luck, we’re giving away a free copy to one lucky person and we’re throwing in a Pork Barrel BBQ Picnic Pack to help get your 2014 grilling season off to a great start.

Just follow these simple steps to enter for your chance to win:

1. Like Pork Barrel BBQ on Facebook by clicking here.

2. Read our Book Review of Grill To Perfection (click here to go to the review) and leave a comment telling us what your favorite food to grill is and why you’d like to win a copy of Grill To Perfection and receive a Pork Barrel BBQ Picnic Pack.

3. Like our Facebook post announcing the contest on our Facebook page.

Follow Pork Barrel BBQ on Facebook and leave a comment on our Grill To Perfection Book Review today. We’ll announce the winner on Monday, April 14. 

Here’s to 2014 being a perfect year of grilling!


Part 1: 2013 Pork Barrel BBQ Holiday Gift Guide – 10 Great BBQ Cookbook Gift Ideas

It is hard to believe that the holiday season is here and families will be unwrapping gifts in just a few short weeks. Pork Barrel BBQ is excited to help make your quest to find the perfect gift for the BBQ lover in your life just a little easier this year. Part 1 of our 2013 Pork Barrel BBQ Holiday Gift Guide takes a look at 10 of our favorite BBQ Cookbooks that would make great gifts for any BBQer. We hope you have a Merry Christmas and much success in finding the perfect gifts for your BBQ lover!

All Fired Up

All Fired Up - Cover 

We might be a bit biased when it comes to Southern Living Magazines All Fired UP: Smokin’ Hot BBQ Secrets from the South’s Best Pitmasters as you’ll find a number of recipes from Pork Barrel BBQ included in the lineup of great recipes from the South’s top pitmasters. A great feature throughout the book are Troy’s tips which are tips from Pitmaster Troy Black.

Favorite Recipe: Italian Grilled Pork Sandwiches


Wicked Good Barbecue

Wicked Good BBQ 

Andy Husbands and Chris Hart have written one of the best, if not the best barbecue cookbooks in recent memory in Wicked Good Barbecue. Where many cookbooks apply the brakes, Wicked Good Barbecue puts their foot on the gas – they leave no secrets in their safe in Wicked Good Barbecue. From the recipes that won them the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue to recipes that elevate barbecue to the next level this is a college course in barbecue disguised as a cookbook.

Favorite Recipe: Whole Hog Porchetta Style


Charred & Scruffed

Charred & Scruffed - Cover 

Adam Perry Lang isn’t your run of the mill pitmaster, he’s part mad scientist of the grill and part formally trained French chef. In Charred & Scruffed Lang reinvents and creates new grilling techniques like charring, scruffing and clinching to create flavors and textures unlike any you’ll find in traditional barbecue. Master just one of Lang’s recipes and you’ll have the guests at your next backyard barbecue thinking you’re a culinary wizard!

Favorite Recipe: Leg of Lamb


BBQ Makes Everything Better


Aaron Chronister & Jason Day are among the modern legends of bacon and very accomplished in the world of barbecue. At the 2013 American Royal Jason’s barbecue team, Burnt Finger BBQ, took first place in the chicken category. In BBQ Makes Everything Better Chronister and Day, through their recipes, show you how to win the tastebuds of your friends and family in your backyard or on the competition barbecue circuit.

Favorite Recipe: Bacon Explosion 


Famous Dave’s Barbecue Party Cookbook

Barbecue Party - Cover 

Famous Dave Anderson, founder of the Famous Dave’s restaurant chain and perhaps the most recognized face of barbecue, will have you drooling over 150 of his favorite recipes. In Famous Dave’s Barbecue Party Cookbook you’ll have an arsenal of recipes to make any backyard barbecue a huge success.   

Favorite Recipe: Old Fashioned Banana Pudding


Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction

Barbecue Addiction - Cover 

Bobby Flay shares recipes from his hit Food Network show Barbecue Addiction in his cookbook Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction. Armed with a multitude of smokers and grills Flay takes on hot and fast grilling recipes and low and slow smoking recipes in this well rounded book for BBQ lovers looking to learn more about grilling and smoking of meat, seafood and vegetables.

Favorite Recipe: Grilled Shrimp and Calamari with Smoked Tomato-Black Olive Relish


Where There’s Smoke: Simple Sustainable Delicious Grilling

Where There's Smoke - Cover 

Barton Seaver’s love for sustainable foods comes through clearly in Where There’s Smoke: Simple Sustainable Delicious Grilling. Seaver’s recipes focus on fresh, seasonal and organic meats, seafood and produce. In addition to some great recipes Seaver takes the reader through a 101 course on the basics of barbecue.

Favorite Recipe: Grilled Soft Shell Crabs


Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book

 Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book - Cover


Big Bob Gibson’s in Decatur, AL is one of the most legendary barbecue joints in America and has been turning out top notch barbecue for decades. How legendary is it? So legendary that it created a new BBQ Sauce variation known as a White Sauce decades ago that is to this day an Alabama specialty. In the Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book world champion pitmaster Chris Lilly opens the doors into some of Big Bob Gibson’s secrets including their world famous White Sauce.

Favorite Recipe: Brined Chicken with White Sauce


Peace Love and Barbecue

Peace Love & BBQ - Cover 

Barbecue legend Mike Mills joins forces with his daughter, Amy Mills, in Peace Love and Barbecue, a compilation of mouthwatering recipes and barbecue stories. Peace Love and Barbecue isn’t your typical cookbook, it is much more a memoir of Mills life in barbecue and the friends he’s met along the way. You’ll still find around 100 recipes from Mill’s and his legendary pitmaster friends. 

Favorite Recipe: Apple City Barbecue Grand World Champion Ribs


Smokin’ with Myron Mixon

Smokin' - Cover 

Myron Mixon, the winningest man in barbecue and judge on BBQ Pitmasters, shares more than 75 of his award winning recipes in Smokin’ with Myron Mixon. Mixon preaches his “keep it simple” mantra when it comes to backyard BBQ in the book and provides tips on the basics of barbecue. 

Favorite Recipe: Sausage-Stuffed Pork Chops