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5.0 out of 5 stars Ignoring this book could be a mistake, 14 Jun 2013
By 
I. Darren (Fi) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que Party Cookbook: Secrets of a BBQ Legend (Paperback)
Before opening this book this reviewer had taken an instant dislike to this title, an irrational reaction for sure, but nonetheless it was just one of those things. Maybe it was a fear that this was going to be "just another" barbecue book, flogging a tired old theme. Boy, was that original thought wrong!

This reviewer had not heard about "Famous Dave" and his chain of U.S.-based restaurants before so there was no preconceptions either. Yet this book manages to make the whole idea of outdoor grilling, particularly for a group of friends and family, fun. It can be a thing that fills both guest and prospective cook with fear, albeit for different reasons. Maybe this outdoor grilling lark can be a bit of fun after all...

Maybe things just started on such a great note as, after just a couple of pages, one was regaled to the idea of a barbecue sauce fountain (!). Yes, you can reuse the rather tired-old-concept of a chocolate fondue fountain to dispense flowing barbecue sauce, allowing your guests to dip their food to their heart's content. Not content with that? Why not use a scooped out pineapple shell as a bowl for foods or dips. Such interesting, oh-so-obvious after-the-fact little suggestions just keep on coming, making this definitely a book you should sequentially read through at least once!

This is a book that sadly doesn't travel well. Many references are made to specific products that are probably only available in the United States and whilst you might be able to try and locate a broadly comparable offering in your home market, it would have been a nice thought to have explained what is specific to a given product name or, at the very least, why a named product might be better than another. One can understand the author pushing his own branded products but a little consideration can go a long way. The book promised that one would "learn what brands I rely on to create a total mouth flavour explosion in every recipe" but this was seemingly missing in this pre-release version along with a purported guide to helping making your party the best on the block. A large "Backyard BBQ Party Resource" and a promised detailed index was also missing. One hopes that the index is good as the internal navigation was a little haphazard.

After a basic guide to grilling it is time to get cooking and the recipes are split into key chapters such as appetisers, salads, mains, sides and desserts. Each chapter is written in the same informal, information-explosion style as the rest of the book and you really do feel "assaulted" by information from everywhere. Great photography draws you in (don't read this book on an empty stomach) and you really will get impatient and want to fire up the grill! Many great little things are hidden in the book, underlining why it is important to at least check this book out sequentially. Some of the serving suggestions are innovative, excellent and easily adaptable to other circumstances. Yet they are just matter-of-factly presented, as if the author who is obviously a shy and retiring type (sic), is rather embarrassed about such goodness.

The range and diversity of recipes is great. One will easily be seduced by this book even though a hamburger is a hamburger and ribs are ribs. The devil is in the detail and the execution!

Sure there are a few niggles with this book and a few frustrations as outlined, yet this book more than compensates for that with its excellent content. For a non American reader you may need to put a bit more effort in, possibly experiment with ingredients to find something "near enough" but even if you can only achieve 80% of the expected goodness, you should still be very, very pleased with the results.

It just goes to show, you can't always judge a book by its cover (and your initial feelings). Ignoring this book would have been a big mistake.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 18 July 2014
This review is from: Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que Party Cookbook: Secrets of a BBQ Legend (Paperback)
great job so it is
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Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que Party Cookbook: Secrets of a BBQ Legend
Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que Party Cookbook: Secrets of a BBQ Legend by Dave Anderson (Paperback - 11 Jun 2013)
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