First, a disclaimer: I have wined and dined with Matt Moore and I am one of the 12 grillmasters to whom Matt has devoted a chapter.
I am sooooo jealous of Matt Moore. Not only does he live in Nashville, one of my favorite cities, but he has his own single engine 1976 Piper Cherokee. And he uses it well. For this book he and photographer par excellence Andrea Behrends flit from coast to coast to drop in on a menagerie of cooks gathering tips and 125 very tempting recipes. Hat tip to studio photographer Helene Dujardin because the food pix are a big part of the joy of this book.
With its corny title (clearly his style, his last book was "The South's Best Butts"), this book has three sections. First he shares with us a number of concepts and tips on grilling technique. Then he hops on his plane and takes us around the nation to meet some charming people who have mastered live fire cooking. Then he wraps things up by filling in the gaps with a number of his own recipes.
I thought I knew most everyone who was anyone in the live fire game but Matt has brought some unsung stars to the fore, showing us their techniques and sharing their fascinating stories. Here are the other 11 grillmasters featured in this engaging book: Bill & Tony Darsinos of Greko in Nashville; Carlton "Cadillac" Brandon of Lillian's BBQ in Atlanta; Marcus Jacobs & Caitlin Carbey of Marjie's Grill in New Orleans; Mike Bradshaw of The Grill in Athens, GA; Jerry Baird of Baird Texas (Population 1) and founder of the American Chuckwagon Association; Edgar Caro of Brasa Churrasqueria in Metairie, LA; Sharon Haynes & Mallory Buford of Fajitas A Go Go in Houston; Ashley Christensen & Lauren Ivey of Death & Taxes in Raleigh; Michael Solomonov of Zahav in Philadelphia; Brooks Reitz of Leon's Oyster Shop in Charleston; and Sylvester & Mary Hoover of Hoover's Grocery in Greenwood, MS.
There is a welcoming downhome feel to the stories here, and meeting these folks through Matt's pen is a delight. As Ashley Christensen of Death & Taxes says, "We do not have customers, we only have guests."
Among the books' enticing recipes are Octopus Souvlaki, Korean style Flanken Ribs, Cajun Grilled Pig Tails, LA Rabbit Legs, Dutch Oven Yeast Rolls, Sweet Potatoes Al Rescoldo, Fajitas A Go Go, Grilled Soft-Shell Crab With Warm Herb Butter, Embered Sweet Corn With Lime Basil Butter, Grilled Pork Chops With Grilled Figs And Saba, Cremini Mushrooms Shishlik With Hazelnuts And Broccolini, Grilled Mahi Sandwiches, Grilled Halloumi Cheese Bites, Grilled Peach and Taleggio Bruschetta, Grilled Heirloom Caprese Salad, Za'Atar-Spiced Wings, and Grilled Salted Caramel-Pecan Bread Pudding. Please excuse me as I grab some paper towels and head to the grill.
And if you ever want to hear my life story, he pretty much nailed it.
Hardbound, 389 pages, hundreds of gorgeous color photos.
Here's Moore on CBS