Book review: Tom Kerridge's Outdoor Cooking

29 July 2021 by
Book review: Tom Kerridge's Outdoor Cooking

It's been a busy year for Tom Kerridge, but the Buckinghamshire-based chef hasn't really had a quiet one since winning his first Michelin star in 2006. With summer finally in full swing – as is Kerridge's Pub in the Park food festival, with eight locations across England – it's the perfect time for his ninth book, Outdoor Cooking.

While Kerridge's restaurants may offer modern British gastropub-style food, this book takes inspiration from across the globe, featuring a Korean barbecue-style bavette steak, a Middle Eastern chicken shawarma, and a classic from the Deep South, baby back ribs.

Kerridge has also made a name for himself with his diet-focused books, but this is not one – which is a blessing, as I don't think anyone needs to know the calorie count of his fennel and ‘nduja spiced porchetta. That said, the wide range of dishes will mean there is something for everyone, from the simple and fresh charred aubergine with mozzarella to a child's dream dessert of s'mores, baked bananas and fruit kebabs.

The book's cover proclaims it to be ‘the ultimate modern barbecue bible', and as such the introduction features tips for planning a barbecue effectively and a quick rundown of all of the equipment one may need. Chapters are then divided into ‘meat', ‘fish', ‘veggie', ‘open fire', ‘sides' and ‘desserts + drinks', helping readers to plan every aspect of a full feast.

The book is aimed at the general public and dishes are very accessible, with plenty of recipes even suitable for cooking with children ("as long as you keep a close eye on them", Kerridge urges). But before the professional chefs turn the page, in his introduction Kerridge says: "As a chef, I'm used to being surrounded by high-tech equipment in my kitchen and everything being very exact and precise, but cooking outside allows me to get back in touch with my instincts – it's just me and the flames."

So put the sous-vide machine away and get back in touch with your instincts – even if those instincts lead you to that s'mores recipe and the cocktails at the back of the book.

Outdoor Cooking: The Ultimate Modern Barbecue Bible by Tom Kerridge (Bloomsbury Absolute, £22)

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