"Franklin Steak" by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay and "Thank You for Smoking" by Paula Disbrowe

Plenty of good ideas and recipes to try out this summer.


Surely by now you’ve fired up the grill at least once or twice, and you look forward to more grilling as the days get warmer and the wind dies down. Here are two new books that might give you some fresh ideas to try on the grill: Franklin Steak by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay (Ten Speed Press, $29.99) and Thank You for Smoking by Paula Disbrowe (Ten Speed Press, $30), both colorful hardbacks.


First, the Franklin book. Aaron Franklin is the Austin barbecue guru whose restaurant sells out of brisket every day. But he’s not just about barbecue. He loves to cook steaks, and he’s teamed up with his co-author Mackay to write a book about how to cook steaks. 


It’s a cookbook, I suppose, but not so much a recipe book. Franklin and Mackay delve deeply into the science and art of cooking steaks, with chapters on the story of beef, buying steaks, steak cuts, dry aging, the grill, fuel, firing up, cooking, and recipes for sides and sauces. With most cookbooks, you can just flip through and find recipes that sound interesting and pick out a few to savor. Franklin Steak isn’t that kind of book. It’s one to be read all the way through before starting to grill.


Franklin gives a shout-out to Buffalo Gap steak-master Tom Perini, noting that “one of the most memorable steaks I ever ate” was from Perini Ranch Steakhouse.


He calls the book “our so-called love letter to steak.” In case you’re wondering how they could write a whole book about steak, the authors reply, “How can we ever meaningfully cover steak in just one book?” Well, I think most readers would conclude that they do a very thorough job of it.


Thank You for Smoking is more of a traditional cookbook, full of recipes and cooking instructions and tips. Disbrowe, who also lives in Austin, has written or co-authored seven cookbooks, including Any Night Grilling and Cowgirl CuisineIn her new book she includes 130 recipes, with chapters on fish and seafood, poultry and pork, and beef and lamb, but also sections on smoked spices, smoky cocktails, and grains, nuts and seeds, as well as peas and beans, vegetables and greens, and desserts.


A few examples from the seafood chapter: wood-fired oysters, smoked tuna dip, smoked salmon, scallop spaghetti, smoked trout, and smoky shrimp. Yum!


Plenty of good ideas and recipes to try out this summer.


This column originally published 5/5/2019. Contact the since retired author Glenn Dromgoole at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.