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King of the Grill


The good thing about barbecues is, that despite what some might say, they are not climate-specific. In most parts of Australia, there are often sunny days even in winter, and of course any time is the ideal excuse to fire up the barbie.

St least that's what 'king of the grill', Ross Dobson, thinks. He sets out to prove this more than adequately in this thick-as-two good steaks volume, his latest after several other books and a lifetime of being around (eating and cooking) good simple food.

Dobson has already authored four popular grilling books, and sees barbecuing as a 'great comfort'. He also acknowledges that the less nonsense there is with food, the more comfortable everyone gets. However he really likes the control that barbecuing gives us. 'Grilling allows us to be masters and mistresses of flavour' he says in the Introduction.

The beautifully illustrated book (photography by Nicky Ryan and Brett Stephens) as you would expect, separates the various meats  - poultry, red meats, fish, vegetables – into chapters. But it is what Dobson does with these familiar barbecuing cuts that makes the difference. That, and his little tips, born of many hours standing outside turning meats and vegetables and chatting to his guests.

For instance, did you know that a chicken roasted on an open half-can of beer (you drink the other half of course!) will result in the most prefectly roasted, moist poultry you have ever tried?  Or that handmade pork and fennel sausages don't actually need to be forced into a casing? Placed straight onto the hotplate, they are fast and fabulous.

Building on Ross Dobson's vast background and knowledge of Asian and other world cuisines, there are more sauces and dressings in this book than you'd find in a book dedicated to them, so of course the mix and match options are endless. Try mussels in lime pickle butter, blue eye with curry butter, lamb with green olive salsa, or Mexican pesto with chicken.

There's always a vegetarian or two at a BBQ, so Ross has included a chapter of Enchanted Vegies and one for Rabbit Food. Even 'food-sensitive' souls get some help. Naked samosas turn out to be the filling-only, fried and delicious. For many people this book would be worth buying just for these sections alone.

We would all agree that no barbecue is complete with out the bread - damper, flatbreads, garlic bread - but there are many more in this book, as well as more than a dozen jams, dips, mixes and sauces you can make from scratch to top them with or dip them into.

My guess is your barbecue is going to come out of the garage (or wherever it lives most of the year) and be in use every day of the year, once you get this book. Wait and see – your guest-list will expand once word gets around!


King of the Grill, by Ross Dobson, published by Murdoch Books, 2014, hardcover, rrp A$39.99. ISBN: 9781 74343 9197.


(reviewed by Sally Hammond)


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