Thursday, April 16, 2009

Review: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que:

An American Roadhouse

By: John Stage& Nancy Radke

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

192 pages

I don’t think I’ve ever read a more aptly titled book. Everything about this book screams ‘roadhouse’. The recipes are certainly BBQ-centric, but they are also eclectic. Striking a precarious balance between general recipes and those traditionally found in a BBQ cookbook, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is a refreshing break from the standard tropes found in similar books.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que avoids a common problem of just being a resource. Many books are technically excellent but offer little inspiration or amusement. This book rings true with the voice of the restaurants that are its inspiration. Spread throughout the book are the lavatorial tidbits of wisdom that have been culled from the restroom walls at the restaurant. The beautiful and lush photos of the restaurant and food are supplemented by the images of various tattoos. John Stage eloquently tells his tale of how a background in Italian cooking morphed into a becoming an established and respected pitmaster.

Cookbooks not only have to balance the recipes to ensure that they are true to the theme, but they need to employ culinary quality control. It would be a shame, but not surprising if the recipes didn’t live up to the colloquial flavor of the book. Thankfully, that’s not a problem. The recipes are rock solid and offer a variety that isn’t seen other BBQ related books of a comparable size.

This book provides a nice synergy for Stage, as it has piqued my interest in visiting the restaurant as much as it has driven me to try out some of the recipes. This book is a winner and I look forward to using it again and again.


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