This could be a book review…or an endorsement…or, well… how I do things! Take this any way you will! And Justin…if you’re reading this, come to Toronto, I’ll cook for you…and you can do the dishes! 😉

Though I’ve only browsed the book so far, I have to say… I agree! As someone who has cooked cakes on a BBQ, unconventional is my middle name!

Hell…I’ve MAPLE SMOKED GIN to make a Maple Smoked Martini!
Full Smoke

While I haven’t had a chance to read the entire book, I gotta say he hasn’t been NEAR as umm…expansive in breaking some rules as I have! Or maybe I’m just more insane! 🙂
(Edit: I’ve read more…yeah…he outpaces me! But he’s a chef, and I’m not…so he has a lot more time in the kitchen!)
His gear section lists many things…all of which I have! (well, not exactly HAVE…I just bought a creamer which is coming this week…) But I use them differently as well. Like the dutch oven. He uses one for deep frying… GREAT idea, but I have a great deep fryer bigger than that, it was more expensive, about $90 on sale… my dutch oven is used mainly IN the oven to control heat (cold spots) for SMOKING things indoors! The lid keeps the smoke in and keeps the Fire Department away! I REALLY need to make a post on how I do that!

I use my rice cooker for MUCH more than rice! I also use it for cooking chicken, beef and fish for tacos! The “keep warm” function is also great for things like mulled apple cider!

While I don’t have the capacity to dry age for a long time… I DO have a rig to do it at home! I made it for about $6. MUCH cheaper than buying dry aged beef…but only good for about 5 days versus the 30 – 90 days that commercial places can do… but the flavour change is still VERY notable! I think I got the idea from one of his mentors, Alton Brown… Hell, I get a lot of my ideas from Alton…and adapt for my own use! He’s…in word… AMAZING! Combining science with cooking and humour is awesome! It’s posted here… There’s no wonder why he’s Justin’s mentor and friend! Different foods…same insanity!

*Note, I’m also friends with Kevin Brauch, the floor reporter for Iron Chef America. We’ve had quite a few drinks together… 🙂 *

Sorry Justin…I don’t like Gin and Tonic…I use straight up Soda Water! Sure I don’t get the protection from Malaria, but I don’t need it, and I like the botanical flavours more pure from the gin! Vodka and soda is the same, though I often add orange blossom water since I don’t garnish my drinks… I actually kinda think it’s a tacky thing to do… if it should be in the drink…PUT IT IN THE DRINK! I asked for a slice of orange once with a drink…and the bartender actually said “I think that’d be good”… I said…”I wouldn’t order that unless it WAS!” They now make an offer of slice… lemon, lime or orange!

While cooking…sometimes I ‘cheat’. For example the photo of this post… I didn’t entirely make the wings. I bought them cooked! but I did make the sauce… A little A1, horseradish, piri piri, mustard powder, and chili powder, cut with apple cider vinegar to thin the sauce…then heated them! 🙂 There are so many rules to break! 🙂

Having browsed (but not made) more of the recipes… I gotta say, the substitutions to make gluten free or vegan are a great idea! While he hasn’t gone as far as I would have with some of the gluten free options (using things like Ultra-tex instead of flour), it’s a damn fine list!

It’s a GREAT book with so many great ideas! I usually buy ‘cook books’ for a sense of flavour profiles and ideas, not the actual recipes… I work in the entertainment business and did a cooking demo for Vikram Vij this year…he did a curried chicken dish. That night, I took the idea home and did the same thing with a steak! It was great! THIS book however… I’m just gonna take his recipes and use them flat out! He’s done what I might do…take flavours in a whole different way! His ‘fish tacos’ uses mango as the taco shell! Drop one ingredient (the pretty flavourless taco shell) and use something that is IN a fish taco (the mango) is genius! More flavour, less cost… I knew there was a reason why I liked this guy!

I mentioned this…so I should add a photo or two… BBQ CAKE! (Also note, that two are gluten free and vegan friendly!)

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