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Cookbooks to Take You From Rookie Chef to Grillmaster

Summertime means lazy days at the beach, corralling the kids for day trips to the park or the zoo, tending to a garden in the prime of life…and grilling season! Barbecues are a time-honored way to celebrate holidays, enjoy the warm weather, and bring families together. You can make this season one to remember by upgrading your grilling skills with these sensational cookbooks. By the time you are finally ready to break out the BBQ grills, you will be amply prepared for whatever this summer throws your way!



What would holidays like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day be without a little barbecue? Red White and ‘Que will show you how to grill up all-American favorites like Gulf shrimp, country ham, hot dogs, and even pizza! Extolling the unbeatable value of fresh ingredients, this cookbook provides everything you need to whip up an easy summer meal for an intimate gathering or a whole yard full of holiday revelers.


African American cuisine has its own flavors and style, both similar to and yet distinct from the American, African, and Caribbean cuisines it is connected to. The Rise is an exciting cookbook by TV chef Marcus Samuelsson that introduces experienced and newbie grillers alike to the history and future of Black cooking—and, of course, how to prepare amazing, unique dishes. Your BBQs will stand far above the rest with dishes like charred okra salad, spiced catfish with pumpkin leche de tigre, and Montego Bay rum cake.


Is it possible to recreate classic Cajun dishes on your own grill, no matter how far you live from Cajun Country? Louisiana native and Top Chef contestant Isaac Toups says yes! In Chasing the Gator, he explains what makes Cajun cuisine so special and shares over one hundred recipes that will make your mouth water just reading about them. Whether you prefer surf (chile-marinated crab claws), turf (smoked duck gumbo), or anything in between, this book will teach you to make a real Cajun feast anywhere, anytime!



If you’ve avoided the grill in the past for fear of burning everything to a crisp or not knowing how to handle an open flame, Low & Slow is the book for you. Authors Gary Wiviott and Colleen Rush break down the art of BBQ into five simple stages, from choosing which equipment to buy (or to avoid) to actually cooking your meal. It also includes plenty of recipes for you to practice your new grilling skills on and even provides creative ideas for how to prepare all of those delicious leftovers. Chicken tortilla soup, anyone?


Immigrants have always had a way of fusing cuisines from their old country and their new one into something special. Chef Asha Gomez now lives in Georgia, but she grew up in Kerala, India. Her book I Cook in Color fuses the best culinary traditions from both regions. The result? Unforgettable flavor combos like pomegranate and date molasses chicken, Catalonian paella, or Thai green papaya salad with dried shrimp. The recipes in this book also go beyond the grill with drinks like clove negroni cocktails, desserts like mango cardamom cake, and other “bonus” dishes to complete you meal. Gomez’s story is both distinct and inspirational—just like her recipes!


Wouldn’t it be nice to sample international cuisine without ever leaving your backyard? Beloved chef and TV personality Padma Lakshmi introduces readers to recipes from around the world in Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet. You’ll be eager to fire up the grill and start preparing the ingredients for scrumptious dishes like hot and sweet grilled tilapia, BBQ Korean short ribs, and grilled manchego bites with apricot preserves. If you’d like an international salad, soup, or dessert to accompany your barbecued masterpiece, this book has you covered there as well.


Cook with confidence and find inspiration with Gordon Ramsay’s fun, delicious recipes for novice cooks and experienced chefs alike. Gordon has traveled the world from India and the Far East to LA and Europe, and the recipes in this book will draw all these culinary influences together to show us simple, vibrant, and delicious recipes that reflect the way we eat today.

Eileen Gonzalez is a freelance writer from Connecticut. She has a Master’s degree in communications and years of experience writing about pop culture. She contributes to Book Riot and Foreword Reviews, and she occasionally tweets at @eileen2thestars.