Foreword Reviews

Wood-Fired Cooking

Techniques and Recipes for the Grill, Backyard Oven, Fireplace, and Campfire

When food meets fire, difficult to digest vegetables and meats become more palatable, a technique which helped our species accrue much-needed nutrients and evolve. Anthropologists tell us we have two million years of experience manning the wood-fired grill, but they’re not certain whether early man and woman had as much fun as modern folk, beer in hand. Spits and fire-pits, grilling, roasting, and smoking: these are fire-fighting words and the stuff of Mary Karlin’s new book. Wood-Fired Cooking is an exhaustingly researched and inspiring invitation for anyone to rub two sticks together. A traveling cooking instructor at various cooking schools, spas, camps, and restaurants around the country, Karlin also directs the Live-Fire Cooking Camp Culinary Center in Superior, Arizona.

Wood-Fired Cooking’s first three chapters are devoted to short primers on all the open fire cooking techniques of note, as well as a historical discussion on the first grills, underground earthen pits, and chamber ovens—the vertical, the dome, and the egg-shaped. We learn about types of hardwoods and fruitwoods and their respective flavor profile, heat level, and coaling profile. Lilac, for example, offers a “very light and floral” flavor profile and medium heat level, all of which is excellent for seafood and lamb. Later chapters include “Wood-Fired Grilling,” “Wood-Fired Roasting,” “Baking Flatbreads and Rustic Artisan Breads,” “Campfire Cooking,” and “Clay Pot and Cast-Iron Oven Cooking.” Karlin includes more than 100 recipes from “Grilled Flank Steak with Red Peppers and Fontina Cheese” to “Grilled Fruit Chutney,” and “Blackberry Grunt”—the one-dish wonders at campfires everywhere.

Reviewed by Matt Sutherland

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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