Cookbook review: 'Grill Smoke BBQ' by British chef Ben Tish

Cover, GRILL SMOKE BBQ by Ben Tish of Ember Yard

Most people have their wheelhouse of grilling favorites: hot dogs, burgers, chicken, and steak, and many will never venture too far from those American classics. But what if you wanted to elevate your grilling game? From the first flip through the pages of Ben Tish’s Grill Smoke BBQ  (Quadrille Publishing, April 2017), it is very clear this is not your typical barbecue cookbook.

Ben Tish, formerly the chef director of the Salt Yard Group in London, draws inspiration from Spanish and Italian methods of charcoal cooking. Tish created stunning dishes using those methods for Ember Yard, the acclaimed restaurant in Soho, London. He has transformed and demystified these recipes for the home cook, taking outdoor cooking to the next level.

Tish covers everything from breakfast, tapas, mains, and sides, to desserts. He also handily lists suppliers for the U.K., U.S., and Canada, for wood, charcoal, and barbecues. Tempting recipes include smoky grilled watermelon with burrata, balsamic and basil; Potato and honey flatbreads with smoked butter and thyme; and grilled octopus with mojo verde (an herb-based salsa) and peperonata.

Looking to up your chicken, grilled sausage, and burger game? Tish offers slow-cooked chicken legs with polenta, gorgonzola, and oregano; smoked and grilled chorizo with roasted peppers and saffron aioli; and the Ember Yard smoked burger with smoked Spanish cheese.

I made the roasted and grilled pork ribs with quince glaze, one of the many recipes for large plates in Grill Smoke BBQ. While Tish uses Iberico pork, I used the pork ribs sold at my local Whole Foods, with great success. The sweetness of the membrillo (Spanish quince paste, most often served with cheese) married with vinegar and brown sugar makes a truly unique glaze for the ribs, all while hitting the familiar sweet/tangy notes of a traditional barbecue sauce.

The ribs are first cooked in the oven in seasoned liquid and then grilled on direct, then indirect heat, basting with the quince glaze throughout the grilling. What transpired between the liquid bath and the smoke, were perfectly cooked ribs with a gentle char and a stunning glaze.

Your family, friends, and especially your taste buds will thank you. And you can thank Ben Tish for providing the upgrade for the common cookout.