On March 7, the publication of my new book
One of my main faults is to always travel unnoticed, as someone scolds me, often probably too much. So it is right of me to warn those who read me frequently, that in this post I will make a necessary exception. With you who have been following me for a long time, I want to try to overcome my natural reluctance to self-congratulation and be completely honest. I therefore say it loudly: this is a project of which I am extremely proud. I am proud of the fact that a publisher like Gribaudo, of the Feltrinelli group, he proposed to me the creation of a book of this scale and of this caliber. I am proud of a very hard and thorough job that took more than seven months of hard work, often at night, especially during the summer months. And I am obviously very proud of the result: without hypocrisy and false modesty, I am convinced that a book with these characteristics and this approach does not exist, not even at international level. This is not a guarantee that you will like the final product naturally, but it is certainly not the duplication of something you already have in your bookstores.
The first important clarification is that Universo BBQ is not the sequel of Subito Barbecue. These are two conceptually very different books. If this last was the result of my years living in that beautiful experience of cohabitation between Grill Academy and one of the most complete barbecue stores in Italy, lived in Agri Brianza, here I left more space to my experience as a blogger, clearly aimed at a wider and heterogeneous public. Subito Barbecue was admittedly a book of approach to the barbecue that starting literally from zero, then from the purchasing criteria of the cooking device, in four lessons brought the reader from the total unawareness of the subject, up to a fair mastery of the main cooking techniques of basis. The Barbecue universe is set in a much more transversal way, re-reading the entire barbecue scene under a different point of view.
The objectives of this book, shared from the very beginning with the publisher are decidedly ambitious: those of creating a text that could be a manifesto to the sector, a complete guide that acts as a technical reference for anyone who ventures or is already part of it . And when I say “complete” I mean in a literal sense: in this book we talk about all the cooking devices, from kettle to gravity and all the techniques, from direct cooking to cold smoking. Clearly distributing the available space according to the importance that these may have for a medium reader but objectively represents a rather large window on what is the horizon of the barbecue world. I do not deny that it was not an easy task: the book certainly has important numbers, from the large 25×19,5 format to almost 300 pages thick, full of content but of course the space is not infinite. Speaking with all the salient topics of this magnificent but complex world and not simply mentioning them, it is objectively a business that has required me numerous writings, re-elaborations, recreations, a lot of commitment. But I think a balanced job came out with a correct level of detail assured even on the less conventional aspects of modern barbecue, so as to please both the most experienced and those who discover only through this reading that the barbecue is not (only) the ” brazier “.
In Feltrinelli have literally made the somersaults believe me, to be content to include as many pages as possible, allowing me to achieve this goal and at the same time to keep the cover price below € 20.00, which for a job of this kind, that in the bookshelf edition will also have a hardcover, it is really an exceptional result.
Another important detail on the setting and that I think you can appreciate is that I “frequently” broke the technical discussion with informative pop-ups. Do you remember the posts on my Facebook page called “Not all Pitmasters know that …“, in which I was intrigued by curiosities and insights related to the world of barbecue? Many are extracts taken from the pop ups of the book, referred to the topic that is being discussed at that point. Then I resume a detail that in Subito Barbecue was liked by many: the summary of each paragraph on the final page of each. The graphic cut as you can see, is very “country”, rustic and informal, sliding with warm images and free line representations to illustrate set up and settings.
Universo BBQ is divided into two main sections. The first deals with all aspects related to the construction of a barbecue cooking in a functional sense. The idea is not to give instructions in themselves but to illustrate to the reader the mechanisms that regulate the operation of a barbecue so that once learned, they can be applied to any device and in any condition. The second is probably the part that is more detached from conventions: it is made up of 11 paragraphs, each dedicated to a raw material, where the main anatomical cuts (or in some cases the main existing categories) are analyzed one by one, reporting for each the more or less known preparations obtainable from them, the type of cooking and set up to make them better, the reference temperatures, the small tips that you should know, the most suitable and recommended seasoning tools and the critical success factors for get the best. All you need to cook on the grill then. I would like to point out in particular an entire paragraph specifically dedicated to beef steak with a useful and detailed explanation of the anatomical subdivision of beef in the main sections of the American school and all the cuts of steak obtainable, explaining by positioning and gastronomic characteristics, those that at the end is really important for you in the realization of the final dish. It’s worth the cost alone, believe me.
Another extremely interesting element of which I am proud of is, in my opinion, the recipes part. It contains 96 recipes from appetizers to desserts, including a large section dedicated to seasoning, among which, rub, marinades, brines, injections, etc. To achieve this I have drawn heavily from the experience developed in catering in the last two years. It is therefore a pure extract of the school of thought that I call “Creative Barbecue“, and on which I base my catering proposal. I also believe that I have succeeded in giving a fairly broad spectrum of both difficulty level, from simple bruschetta to recipes with days and days of brine, meeting both novices and more experienced grillers needings, in terms of applied techniques, allowing everyone to touch every corner of the barbecue world, from cold smoking to simple grilling. Finally on each one, the technical reference to the pages of the previous chapters in which the specific cooking of the type of food object of the recipe is treated, so as to always have at hand the possibility of verifying a setting or a detail of the set up or cooking. As in Subito Barbecue, I concluded the book with four simplified menus, or thematic menus that incorporate the recipes in the book, combining them in the times and ways to succeed with a single device to go from appetizer to dessert, specifying the time line and set up changes. In the extrapolation of the supporting images I then availed myself of the experience, skill and sensitivity of a photographer like Barbara Torresan, who certainly helped to give this book a remarkable added value.
Universo BBQ was born with the intention of being a reference for anyone approaching the world of barbecue to a plurality of levels but I have not done it aseptically. Among its pages you will find a high autobiographical component, in the sense that it is in some way the representation of how I conceive the world of barbecue. My long and egocentric list of reasons of pride ends with the wide availability and diffusion that will be given to this text and consequently to this vision of this niche in the world of cooking. As well as the classic online shops, Universo Barbecue will also be physically present in all Feltrinelli Stores in Italy and in Eataly. In the Garden Center branch you can find it in the Giardinia group, primarily Agri Brianza of course.
Shortly follow the dates of two presentations, a more formal and elegant and a more sporty and festive with tasting. I expect you of course to that of your liking, if not even to both, to be able to sign your copy live and have the opportunity to cheer together.
Do you like the idea of getting into my Universo BBQ?