Thursday, November 1

Infused: Book Review The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Smoking Foods by Chef Ted Reader

Some people stop cooking outside on the grill during the cooler months. However, a true die-hard fan of the healthy cooking style can be performed year 'round, whether you’re in a tropical or four-season locale. Pretty much everyone can flip a burger on a grill, and most of us know that special someone who seems to be born with an extra gene the rest of the world lacks.

These masters of outdoor cooking can barbecue, smoke, and cedar-plank meats, vegetables and fruits with wizard-like magic. They dry rub, marinade and baste, understanding exactly which cuts of meat, wood and fuel to use in every instance.

When approached to review The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Smoking Foods by Chef Ted Reader, I was originally hesitant – since most guides give the same recipes with little change – and stated: “unless Chef Reader has recipes including spirits, wine and beer, I will pass, but thank you anyway.” Immediately my mind was changed when the publisher assured me rather quickly that neither the book, nor the chef was ordinary and that there were several recipes with adult liquids.

How right she is.

Reader shares ways to impress others with your know-how when smoking foods. He gives step-by-step instructions on selecting woods for smoking, how to select a smoker for your own personal style and defines all those cool accessories and gadgets. Also included throughout the book are handy icons with quick tips, safety measures, vocabulary and nutritional facts.
This guide is more than a guide: it is also filled with fabulous recipes with that little extra something.

Award-winning Canadian Ted Reader is known for stepping outside the box ~ way out. Creating recipes for the backyard chef, the barbecue expert gives easy to understand directions in this guide. Don’t expect a normal smoked turkey recipe in this book. Instead plan on finding eye-opening possibilities you never thought of or believed backyard friendly. Food found in upscale cosmopolitan eateries can be whipped up by even a novice with these recipes.

Whisky lovers will appreciate the brine recipe on page 107, whereas dark stout drinkers will want to marinade with the peppered mustard recipe included in Chapter 7. Having been to the Moonlight Inn in Owensboro, Kentucky, (read review here) I was delighted to find the “Owensboro Smoked Lamb Shoulder” recipe, which doesn't include spirits in the recipe itself, does recommend a glass of Kentucky bourbon for the accompanying beverage.

Other spirits, wine and beer recipes include Smoked Mackerel with Maple and Dark Rum and Whiskey Butter-injected Smoked Scallops with Halibut and Crab Topping for entree, Smoked Chocolate-Banana Ice Cream for dessert and the must be tried to believe ~ Smoked Ice Martini.

Yes…a martini that is smoked. You can’t get more 'out there' than that, folks. It is a multi-step process for a vodka martini with smoked honey, bacon and ice wine that your guests will be talking about for ages.

Bottom Line: Whereas many cookbooks and cooking guides are browsed through and put on a shelf, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Smoking Foods by Chef Ted Reader takes the novice into the world of smoking comfortably and takes the king of the grill to a higher level of smoking gourmet meals with a practical guide that will be used again and again.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read Infused, at and and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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