Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cookbook Review: Championship BBQ Secrets for Real Smoked Foods by K Pullman and J Fertig

Buffalo-style Hot Wings

We, like so many Canadians and Americans, are caught up in the smoked meat craze. And really how could we not?  There are BBQ restaurants, food trucks, TV shows and smoked meat competitions all within a sauce dripping arm's length of us all. And  the meat can't be beat! The taste of a piece of bark on a pork butt or brisket is heaven on earth.

So when I bought my husband a Weber Bullet Smoker I  pretty much took the crown of  Best. Wife. Ever. 

We've smoked pork, beef, chicken and turkey so far with amazing results and jealous stares from our neighbours. So when I was offered the chance to review Championship BBQ Secrets for Real Smoked Foods by Karen Putman and Judith Fertig I jumped on it.

This is the 2nd edition of the 400 page cookbook/how-to-smoke anything resource. 

Karen Putman was a chef and well respected, award winning BBQ competitor who passed away in 2011 but certainly leaves an amazing legacy to anyone who has an interest in the BBQ world.

The 2nd edition has added more tips and secrets from Karen's friends. 

The book itself is 400 pages and those pages are filled with useful tips, tidbits and information that even seasoned slow cooking meat veterans will enjoy. There are tips on different types of equipment, how to's about getting started, what you need to know if you are thinking about entering a competition,  how to create your own signature rubs and sauces, and of course great tips on each type of meat you want to smoke plus loads of recipes. It's a lot of information but is presented in an easy to read and easy to use format. There are also great step-by-step photos on how to prepare charcoal, meats etc. And of course there are mouth watering photos of many of the recipes too.

The recipes cover the gamut from rubs and sauces to sections on each meat - pork, beef, poultry,and  lamb. There are also cold smoking recipes and recipes that are truly different like tofu and almonds and even "smoky deviled eggs"!

I like this book. In fact I love it. Lots of great info and recipes that I've already ear marked to try over the coming months. Unfortunately, the recipe I tried while reviewing the book fell short. I'm hoping it was the one dud in the otherwise great read.

We decided to try the "Buffalo-Style Hot Wings" recipe. It was super simple with only 4 ingredients. It was easy to slap the marinade together and throw on the wings but the execution didn't work. The recipe says to place them in a single layer in an aluminum pan and then smoke them in the pan. Well that led to a lot of grease from the chicken and marinade. There was so much that the underside of the wings didn't hold the marinade, formed a wet, unappetizing skin and definitely weren't "hot" as promised. We ended up throwing the wings on the BBQ grill after smoking to crisp them up a bit. 
Too much grease was captured in the pans.

The undersides of the wings didn't look appetizing.
The taste of the meat, however, was phenomenal, smoked poultry is simply something everyone must try (well, except vegetarians). My husband thinks it would have been much better if we hand poked holes in the bottom of the pan so the grease could drip out or just put the wings directly on the smoker grill. Despite the disappointing result we will not be throwing this cookbook in the trash. We will be trying more of the recipes and the rubs/sauces. I know there are many other great recipes that can be smoked out. 
So we grilled them to crisp them up.

A little extra sauce and they were good to go!

If you or someone you know is smoking enthusiast I recommend this book. It has something for everyone and every skill level.

Book Infomation:Championship BBQ Secrets for Real Smoked Food 
2nd Edition
Karen Putman and Judith Ferig
Published by Robert Rose Inc
isbn: 978-0-7788-0449-9


  1. Sounds like a great cookbook, will definitely have to add it to my collection!

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  2. You have to put the wings directly on the grid.
    under the grid you put the pan with some water.