You can smell it in the air: millions of long-dormant grills being lit in observance of the rites of warm weather, bright sunshine and long days. ‘Tis the season when our nation smells of wood smoke. ‘Tis summer: the happiest time of year, as far as I’m concerned.
This time of year is also the most delicious. I am 100-percent convinced that nothing served in any restaurant ever tastes as good as food that you, yourself, cook outdoors with friends on a sunny day. Nothing. No competition. This is not to say that everything that comes off a grill is perfect. The experience, however, is perfect, replete, enough.
For this month’s cookbook recommendations, I’ve rounded up four books that approach live-fire cooking from a variety of angles — from grilling to barbecue to smoking and everything in between. Some of these, like the Jamisons’ Smoke & Spice, are long-established classics; others, like Adam Perry Lang’s Charred & Scruffed, are relative newcomers well on their way to achieving similar status. All are full of valuable instruction and fantastic recipes. So whether you’re a novice grill jockey or a seasoned backyard pit boss, the following four Food Network Library favorites will have you all fired up this summer.