Five Great Grilling Cookbooks to Add Sizzle to Your Game on the 4th of July

Whether it’s a lazy summer Sunday afternoon or a steamy weekday evening, it’s always a good time to grill. But there’s a huge difference between smoking brisket, firing up some burgers, or throwing a pizza on the grate. Each dish requires the right tools, techniques, and recipe to ensure you get the best results boasting the maximum flavor. To give you some guidance for those days you can’t make it to your favorite BBQ restaurant, we’ve rounded up five great grilling cookbooks to add sizzle to your grill game ahead of the 4th of July – and all summer long. You can thank the chefs – and us – later. It’s also totally acceptable to show your appreciation by inviting us over for dinner.

Build Your Own Burger: BYOB
You need this burger bible. Penned by Jeff Rossman, executive chef of San Diego’s Terra American Bistro (and the cheeky burger concept Bunz), Build Your Own Burger: BYOB is the ultimate DIY hamburger helper. The book begins with two-dozen types of patty recipes, including beef, pork, chicken, lamb, turkey, fish, vegetarian, and vegan. You can build on those bases with killer condiments, such as ancho chile mustard, smoked Gouda and tomato cream, and peach serrano salsa. The cookbook also includes salads, sides, and sips (boozy and kid-friendly), as well as burger-beer pairing tips.

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Grilled Pizza the Right Way: The Best Technique for Cooking Incredible Tasting Pizza & Flatbread on Your Barbecue Perfectly Chewy & Crispy Every Time
Here’s a new way to use your Weber. Transform it into a pizza oven. John Delpha, chef at Rosebud American Kitchen in Somerville, Massachusetts, teaches you the tricks in Grilled Pizza the Right Way: The Best Technique for Cooking Incredible Tasting Pizza & Flatbread on Your Barbecue Perfectly Chewy & Crispy Every Time The book includes nearly 100 recipes, ranging from classic ‘zas – Margherita, pepperoni, quattro stagione (four seasons) – to more unexpected options, like lamb and blue cheese, gyro with tzatziki, and a Thanksgiving-inspired round. There are even several sweet pizzas – blueberry-ricotta, strawberry-Nutella, and banana-caramel-cream-cheese. No matter which one you choose, expect to have a fight erupt over who gets the last slice.

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Low & Slow 2: The Art of Barbecue, Smoke-Roasting, and Basic Curing
Barbecuing may look simple – start fire, toss meat on grill, drink bourbon, ta-dah! – but it’s truly an art form. That’s why Low & Slow 2: The Art of Barbecue, Smoke-Roasting, and Basic Curing is required reading. Written by Gary Wiviott, pitmaster at Barn and Company in Chicago, the book walks you through every step of the process – from picking out your cooker and stocking your pantry to choosing your cuts and expertly executing a variety of recipes. All the standards are present and accounted for, but you should try something less expected, such as goose breast pastrami, smoke-roasted Baltimore pit beef, or hot smoke-roasted soft shell crabs.

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OpenTable Restaurant Reviews Reveal #DinersChoice Top 30 Best BBQ Restaurants in America

Best BBQIn a nod to our nation’s longstanding love affair with barbecuing, we are pleased to honor the 2014 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 30 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for approximately 19,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Showcasing regional styles and techniques, including dry rubs and wet brines, the winning eateries use a balance of nuanced spices and smoke to bring forth complex flavors in their barbecue dishes. The complete list includes notable restaurants in 12 states and Washington, D.C., such as Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Harlem, Lambert’s Downtown BBQ in Austin, and Wexler’s in San Francisco. California has six award winners, followed by Illinois and New York with five each, Texas with four, and Ohio with two. Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin are also represented. Continue Reading

Everything But the Grill: Fourth of July Restaurant Dishes Help You Declare Your Independence

Tomorrow is Independence Day in the U.S. Fireworks aren’t the only fourth of July tradition. There are a whole host of dishes and ingredients that have come to define the holiday. And, thanks to the pros, you don’t have to prepare them yourself! There are plenty of restaurants open for business on the Fourth of July. And, many serve up delightful versions of the foods that we associate so closely with this national holiday. Whet your appetite with some of our favorites, courtesy of Foodspotting, and then book a reservation!

Lobster Roll

Todd English P.U.B. prepared this delish take on the traditional lobster roll.

Strawberry Shortcake

This simple dessert gets a regal update, courtesy of Gramercy Tavern in New York City.

Watermelon Gazpacho

Keep your cool with watermelon gazpacho, such as this bowl of refreshing goodness served up by The Spence in Atlanta.

Grilled Steak

No one is saying you can’t grill, but can you grill a hangar steak like the pros at Tilth in Seattle?


The Black Label Burger by  Minetta Tavern in Manhattan.
Accept no substitutes.

Housemade Hot Dog

Cooking hot dogs is easy, but making them like the chefs at Absinthe Brasserie in San Francisco? Not so much.

Grilled Corn

The chefs at Miss Lily’s in NYC kick up grilled corn with jerk mayo and toasted coconut.

Blueberry Pie

Blueberries realize their full flavor potential in this icebox blueberry pie from Hungry Mother in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Trending on Recent OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Brisket

Researching this post inspired me to go out — for brisket! I can now say with much conviction that I embrace this trend.

Humble brisket has gotten a promotion. Not just relegated to the holidays any longer, brisket in all its homey goodness is getting another look from chefs of all cuisines and is finding its way into ravioli, empanadas, tacos, and, of course, on to plates of barbecue at some of the nation’s best restaurants. Find out what OpenTable diners are saying about brisket in recent reviews — and share your fave place to serve this dish in the comments section. 

1886 Cafe & Bakery, Austin, Texas: “The brisket-burger (known as the Austin, TX) literally melted in our mouths.”

Alma Cocina, Atlanta, Georgia: “Brisket enchiladas were delicious!”

Basso, St. Louis, Missouri: “Main course consisted of the mushroom ravioli, the beef brisket rigatoni, and the emo punk pizza. All three entrees were great, especially to share and get the variety.”

Blue Smoke, New York, New York: “I had the Pit BBQ sampler and the food was great. I’m still trying to decide if I liked the brisket, pulled pork, or chicken the best. Great food and atmosphere!”

Distrito at the Saguaro Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona: “The brisket is rich and smoky.”

Dogwood Restaurant, Baltimore, Maryland: “The braised beef brisket was amazing, and I wished for more leftovers, so I could have enjoyed it for a few more meals!”

* E&E Grill House,  New York, New York: “Enjoyable dining experience. Wait staff friendly, attentive. Food excellent. Our party of four had salmon, scallops, slow roasted brisket, and the hangar steak. All done to perfection, as was the grilled asparagus.”

El Centro D.F., Washington, D.C.: “Awesome! Mango margarita, brisket enchiladas, fantastic service. A+ all the way. :)”

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