You could ask if the world really needs another book about barbecuing. Does the cooking section truly require another flame-colored guide to getting the most out of your baby backs, or to oiling the grates of your grill? Who wants one more beauty shot of perfectly-charred chops?
These are reasonable questions. But those of us who risk friendships in arguments about wet vs. dry, pork vs. beef, Lockhart vs. Kansas City? We're not reasonable people.
Ribs, Chops, Steaks & Wings was written by Ray "Dr. BBQ" Lampe, a man with the requisite number of cook-off wins for us to pay attention to his perspective. The book forgoes both the urge to be entry level ("anyone can grill!") or encyclopedic ("anyone can grill anything!"), and opts instead for a measured middle ground. There's an intro to the basic concepts, a very smartly curated collection of classics and twists, and at least one recipe for Grilled Stuffed Pork Chops with Dried Cherries and Bacon. If that doesn't make the case for buying one more BBQ book, I don't know what does.
Aside from that recipe, the best part of this book is its inclusion of recipes that don't necessarily require a grill -- a rare thing in BBQ cookbooks, and one that makes it viable for apartment-dwellers, or anyone loathe to stand over a grill in the dead of winter. Lampe offers a strong smattering of recipes that call for broiling and braising, and even dares suggest that many of the others will work just fine in a grill pan.
Buy: Ribs, Chops, Steaks, & Wings
Beef Short Ribs with Zinfandel Sauce
Beef ribs are different than pork ribs, just by nature of the size and the texture of the meat. A full slab of beef ribs would feed quite a few people, it wouldn't fit on your plate, and it would take a really long time to cook -- even by barbecue standards. So they're usually cut, cooked, and served a little differently than pork ribs. For this recipe, I've used short ribs that are cut across the bones, creating a small enough piece of meat to cook fairly quickly. This type of cut also allows for a lot of surface for glazing, so Iv'e made a sauce using reduced Zinfandel. I love the Zins from California with grilled and smoked food and these beef ribs are a great match. Be sure to get an extra bottle of Zin for drinking with your ribs. These would go very well served with buttered noodles and grilled asparagus.
2 cups good-quality Sonoma Zinfandel
3 tablespoons butter
1 small red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
4 pounds cross-cut beef short ribs, 1/2 inch thick
Steak seasoning salt, as needed
1. To make the sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the Zinfandel. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and set aside. In another medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring often until the onion is tender. Add the flour and mix well until blended. Add the beef broth and the reduced Zinfandel and mix well. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until thickened.
2. Prepare the grill for cooking over direct medium heat. Season the ribs on both sides with the steak seasoning salt. Place the ribs directly on the cooking grate. Cook for 5 minutes. Flip and brush with the sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes and repeat. Continue flipping and brushing for about 40 minutes, until the ribs are browned and tender. Discard any remaining sauce. Remove to a platter to serve.