Smoke: New Firewood Cooking, the new book from Dallas chef Tim Byres, is full of all sorts of useful information. How to decide which chiles to use in any given situation. How to cut brisket. How to clean crabs. How to build a planter, make hominy, dress a rabbit, make tamales, smoke a pipe, shuck an oyster, build an upright whole hog smoker. How to make a grill out of an old oil drum. If there were scouting badges for adults, Smoke would be the guide for the Smoked Foods, Infused Liquors, and Building Backyard Cooking Apparati badges.
While the book does feature dishes from Byres' acclaimed restaurant (including, yes, their Double-Barrel Bloody Mary), the majority of the book focuses on four feasts: Gulf Coast Seafood Boil, Tejano Barbacoa, Pig Roast, and a Campfire Breakfast. These are mostly huge operations — several of which involve welding — but there's no reason individual recipes can't be lifted out. In any case, it's almost summer, and if you've got some long weekends to kill in spectacular fashion, Smoke is your guide.
Smoke: New Firewood Cooking was written by Tim Byres with photography by Jody Horton (who also did the photography for Jesse Griffith's Afield) and a foreword by food writer Josh Ozersky. It comes out tomorrow, April 30, from Rizzoli (pre-order on Amazon).