Here is a list of 2020’s Best Grilling Cookbooks for the backyard griller in your life. These books will get you prepped and ready for grilling season with all the best tips and techniques to master this year.
Aside from scoping out the internet, we have always loved thumbing through cookbooks and magazines. We have them all over the house for inspiration and I suspect that if you are here, you’re probably in a similar situation. Who can have enough anyways, right? There is always something new coming out and we want to be on top of it!
We compiled a list of books which we either own or have gifted to friends and family!
Top Ten Grilling Cookbooks for 2020
How to Grill Everything
How to Grill Everything We have loved this book for a long time! This is a great one to start out with or to give to a new griller. It includes step-by-step instructions with tips and tricks to follow along the way. This book details the differences of gas vs charcoal and then takes it a step further and shows you how to make charcoal zones on your grill. Do you want to learn how to smoke nuts, smoke cheese, grill brussel sprouts or fish?
This book covers everything…even how to bake bread on the grill. If you have a friend or family member just getting started grilling (not necessarily smoking) this is a gift they would love.
Smoke it Like a Pro
Smoke it Like a Pro If you have a Kamado style grill like the Big Green Egg, this one’s for you! It is a great “let’s get you started” type of book along with some incredible recipes. We have owned this one for years and passed it on to my mom who now enjoys it for her medium sized BGE. This one is going to teach you how to achieve the optimum temperature by dialing the air vents correctly at the top of the grill while opening up the bottom to maintain the correct airflow and temperature.
It also reminds you of all the external forces that come into play when grilling with a ceramic domed grill: 20 degree weather, 30 mile/hour winds, etc. All of these factor into your end product! This is so important because a lot of people really don’t understand the power of a Kamado grill and this book breaks it down with easy to understand explanations.
If you are new to Kamado style grilling, this is the perfect book to start out with! You get all the basic instructions with clear information along with recipes to try. Since learning to smoke properly takes time, use this book as your guide.
Big Green Egg Cookbook
Big Green Egg Cookbook We loved this book so much that we gifted it to my mom a few years back. This is the BGE bible in our minds. It definitely doesn’t miss a beat on what to cook and how to cook it! We love grilling the apple pie recipe out of this one and made it for July 4th at my mom’s house several years ago. Using the techniques described, it came out crispy and gooey without it tasting smokey!
This cookbook covers both grilling and smoking, where Smoke it Like a Pro is just smoking. The recipes are direct and easy to understand. I really loved this book until I was introduced to Project Smoke below! That book is bomb-diggity for me!
Project Smoke We received this book as a gift and it is incredible! For example, on pages 66-71 there is a Slam Dunk Brisket followed up by a couple of pages of explanations on why you want to use the wrap method. I am at the stage in life where I want THIS KIND OF INFORMATION and I suspect you will too. If you ever saw our post on How to Smoke Eggs – his book takes those eggs to a new level and makes them into deviled eggs! Hmmmm, I need those!
Project Fire This is by the same author above in Project Smoke. Yep, we love these books that much that we have both of them. This one goes deeper into creative recipes and techniques of grilling that are a little more “out there” than we would traditionally think like using hay or grass in smoking. If you take this one page by page, you will notice that this is a book that is ready to TEACH you how to do these creative techniques like how to make a smoker pouch. To say I am in love with these two books is an understatement. The recipes are incredible, don’t get me wrong, but it is the techniques and methods to use your grill creatively sets it apart.
The Complete Electric Smoker Cookbook
The Complete Electric Smoker Cookbook If you are getting ready to purchase an Electric Smoker, this is your book! Try to think of this one as your Electric Smoker 101 course! They have it all covered for you here, similarly to the Smoke it Like a Pro above for Kamado grills. One of my favorite things about this book is that it lists a cut of meat along with how long you should smoke it and the best wood to use. That is priceless all on its own.
Pitmaster: Recipes and Techniques
Pitmaster: Recipes and Techniques We aren’t interested in being pitmasters, but appreciate the dedication and skill that these guys bring to the table. This book is fascinating to read (and enjoy the recipes as well) to analyze the spices they use together to create award winning recipes. There are a few good tips like how to time your recipes and if you should cook them overnight vs during the day. But, look to this cookbook as really two guys who are famous in the competition realm who are sharing their recipes and their journey.
There is a lot to learn, but like I mentioned above, you are going to want to look at each recipe to dissect it on your own.
Barbecue Sauces and Marinades
Barbecue Sauces and Marinades We are huge into making our own sauces and rubs here at Kitchen Laughter! There are amazing jars of sauce and marinades out there to buy, but we find making our own is part of the fun of grilling. This book just had to be part of our library! These recipes are quick and easy to make and will give you endless possibilities for tons of variations! They also do a great job going into showing you how to store your spices/rubs and marinades! This is the book to get if you want to try something different. Make a new sauce or rub and that bland old chicken breast breathes a new life!
25 Techniques for Planking
25 Techniques for Planking We love cooking on wooden planks and hope you do as well! Sometimes we buy specialty books like this when we are passionate about one singular idea and for us, planking is that. We grew up in the Pacific Northwest and cooking on cedar planks is pretty standard, so we buy planks in bulk so we can cook a piece of fish or veggies whenever we want instead of buying those overly priced two-packs you find in most stores.
We love this book because it is one topic but it gets very specific! One recipe, for example, talks just about grilling grapes on a cedar plank. They provide that level of detail for each recipe. These are not the “quick and get it done” recipes. These are the ones where you do it to enjoy the process of grilling. Similar to the Project Smoke above, there is a good deal of information for each recipe which we love!
The Ultimate Burger
The Ultimate Burger We are always looking for specialty books that talk about grilling and this one had us just by the cover alone! Kudos for the photographer there! Once you stop staring at the cover and open the book, you’ll find it jam packed with so many variations of burgers that you will never get tired of them. You know how sometimes you want to have friends over for burgers but want to bump it up a notch beyond slices of cheddar and a bun? This is your chance to show off your grilling skills to your friends and they will be back time and time again. Don’t put this book away!
This one is put out by America’s Test Kitchen so if you are familiar with their approach, you know this is a huge hit! They didn’t skip the sides or milkshake recipes either. Somehow they got it all in there.
Most of the recipes are not repeated in other places in their publications, which I greatly appreciate. I tend to get frustrated when I buy a book and it is just a compilation of something else they have done or a new cover/title…this is fresh content that you will appreciate.
The Plank Grilling Cookbook
The Plank Grilling Cookbook is almost out of stock, but we own this one and love it! There are options to buy it used and if you can snag a copy, I would do it! We bought this many years ago and have loved it dearly. This book tends to lean towards recipes that are a bit more unusual, like combining gorgonzola along with figs in a chicken on a plank. If you like this type of combination (like we do) this is a book for you. They do a great job of making wood plank suggestions for each recipe as well.
25 Essentials: Techniques in Planking
If you can’t get a copy of The Plank Grilling Cookbook, try out the 25 Essentials: Techniques in Planking in the Kindle version. There are only a couple of books left on this one as well but at least the digital copy can be downloaded. These recipes use less common grilling ingredients as well.
Southern Cast Iron Magazine Subscription
Southern Cast Iron Magazine Subscription I can’t recommend this magazine enough! I adore it and have a couple years of them piled up. They are not only gorgeous but the recipes are all A+! We love using cast iron on the grill and have tried many of the dishes.
They almost all performed beautifully! If you like a recipe, most likely it can be made on your grill!
There we have it! Our 10 Best Grilling Books…with three Honorable Mentions as it was so hard to narrow it down! If you have a grilling book that you are in love with, please let us know! We’d love to check it out and add to our collection!