Thursday, August 20, 2015

Up in Smoke: A Complete Guide to Cooking with Smoke - Matt Pelton

Summary: If the mention of St. Louis-Style ribs, beef brisket, or smoked bacon gets your mouth watering, then Up in Smoke is for you! Perfect for any barbeque enthusiast, this book breaks down the low and slow cooking method, guiding you through the flavor profile. (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review: When I started this book, I was a complete and total novice to cooking with a smoker. (And I still am). I’ve always wanted a smoker, and I have brother-in-laws who love smoking and I have personally enjoyed the fruits of their labors many times. My husband and I decided that for Christmas we would get a smoker, and so we did. After lots of research, we decided on the Pit Barrel Smoker. Now, the reason why we chose this particular smoker is because everyone assured us that it was easy, low maintenance, and made delicious food. What could go wrong, right? Cue Up in Smoke and I would basically be a smoking master.

People, I am. We are. I mean, we have had some seriously delicious smoked food because of this cookbook. I love my Pit Barrel because it is easy and straightforward, and I love this cookbook because it made things even better.

Now, everything hasn’t turned out perfectly, but that is completely user error. There was one Rib Incident of 2015 that resulted in some pretty dry ribs that left even our kids questioning if we were, in fact, having ribs, but it was not the fault of the cookbook. Oh no. The rub we used on the ribs was delicious. Also, the barbecue sauce. Yum.

Our greatest success was probably the pulled pork. My husband and I still dream of that pulled pork. The rub was fabulous. The Basic Barbecue Sauce was fabulous. The instructions were fabulous. Even though we had watched the YouTube videos for our Pit Barrel, it was nice to have Up in Smoke as a little manual for or culinary escapades and to fill in the gaps that a 10 minute YouTube video can’t. And believe me, this knowledge worked. The pork rub was possibly the best I’ve ever had, and that is saying a lot because I do love me some pulled pork and have had quite a bit of it. My husband still brings up the barbecue sauce and gets those little hearts in his eyes all emoji style.

I have also made many of the sides that are included in this little cookbook of smoking love. They were deelish, too. And the directions were very straightforward and made everything seem easy. Indeed, after reading through this book I felt like I could tackle a lot of things that A) I had always wanted to and B) never thought of but for sure would want to try now.

Although the information in this book is great and knowledgeable and thorough, I wouldn’t say the pictures are fabulous. They are certainly accurate portrayals, but they are not the glossy and perfectly photoshopped pictures of many of the mommy blogger cooking blogs you will see. Like I said, they are certainly adequate, however.

I think the thing that impressed me most about this book was Pelton's dedication to his craft. I mean, the man knows what he’s talking about and it’s obvious from his recipes that he can back up his yapping with the actual delicious goods. In the author description in the back it talks about how he took his Dutch oven in his suitcase while on his LDS mission for two years in Boston. HE TOOK IT IN HIS SUITCASE. I mean, come on, people. Have you ever been that dedicated to anything? I think not.

And I’m serious. Try the pork rub and the basic barbecue sauce. You’ll thank me.

My Rating: 4 stars.

For the sensitive reader: You may cry at how delicious these recipes are.

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