Here is a list of the 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 you want to master. Learn how to grill everything you’ve ever wanted to cook outside with the fantastic grill books on this list.
Finding new cookbooks and new recipes is one of my favorite things. Especially grilling cookbooks. 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 grill books anyway, right?
We compiled a list of books that we either own or have gifted to friends and family! When you want to learn how to grill everything, start with these books.
The How to Grill Cookbooks
Whether you are just starting out, or you just want to make sure you’ve been doing it all right and become a master of the grill, these are the books for you. Our favorite how to grill books will teach you about everything from equipment to the best brisket you’ve ever tasted.
How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques, A Barbecue Bible! Cookbook
How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques, A Barbecue Bible! Cookbook. One of our favorite grill book authors, Stephen Raichlen, hits it out of the park with this step-by-step technique book.
Teaching you how to grill everything with over 1000 pictures for every step along the way, this book is just as much for experienced grillers as it is for beginners. This book is focused more on charcoal grilling methods so if you have a gas grill you might prefer to start with a different book.
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 between gas and 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, 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.
Project Fire This is by the same author above in Project Smoke. Yep, we love these books so 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 that set it apart.
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.
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 to 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!
Fire and Smoke: A Pitmaster’s Secrets
Fire and Smoke: A Pitmaster’s Secrets. The best way to find out how to master a method is by learning from an actual master and figuring out his or her secrets. The author of this book, Chris Lilly, is a world champion pitmaster and executive chef.
You’ll even learn how to smoke a cocktail with this book, and best of all none of the recipes include fancy equipment.
Weber’s Ultimate Grilling: A Step-by-Step Guide to Barbecue Genius
Weber’s Ultimate Grilling: A Step-by-Step Guide to Barbecue Genius. It’s pretty well established that Weber knows grilling and the Weber grill recipes in their cookbooks are top-notch. I find owning more than one of their cookbooks is not necessary because there does tend to be a lot of overlap.
However, this particular grilling cookbook has a feature called “flavor bombs” which gives you ideas to upgrade and intensify every recipe. It dramatically improves the value of the book.
How to Smoke Grilling Books
Smoking food isn’t just for meats anymore. When you are ready to take things to the next level and introduce smoke to your meats, your deviled eggs, or maybe even your apple pie, these are the books for you.
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 too 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 love this book!
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.
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! Hmmm, I need those!
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.
There is a lot to learn, but as I mentioned above, you are going to want to look at each recipe to dissect it on your own.
Cowboy Barbecue: Fire and Smoke from Original Texas Vaqueros
Cowboy Barbecue: Fire and Smoke from Original Texas Vaqueros brings the Latin flavors of traditional vaquero cooking over open flame handed down through generations. The authenticity of this book is unmatched and the recipes are on point, but what makes the book really shine is the history of the cowboy barbecue as it comes to life.
Books about How to Make Your Own Sauces, Rubs, 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. An all-purpose rub is so incredibly handy to have ready and waiting, but it’s also fun to make a rub on the spur of the moment.
Barbecue Sauces, Rubs and Marinades
Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades 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!
Rubs: Third Edition.
Rubs (Third Edition). This book has over 175 Recipes for BBQ Rubs, Marinades, Glazes, and Bastes and is a classic. You will find a guide to flavor profiles in the book, which will help you build and design your own rubs and sauces from scratch. The easy-to-follow recipes will give you lots of new flavors to explore.
Planking Techniques For Grilling
If you’ve watched any Food Network at all, you’ve seen the magic of planking in action. This is the practice of using wood planks to add massive flavor to your grilled meats by using the wood as a cooking surface. Make sure to try our Grilled Chilean Sea Bass with Cedar Plank and Bourbon Glaze.
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 just 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!
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.
Books for Grilling with Cast Iron
We love using cast iron on the grill. You’ll find that technique is used for many of our recipes here at Kitchen Laughter. Check our Smoked Baked Brie Recipe for an example. If you’ve never grilled with cast iron before you are in for a treat.
Southern Cast Iron Magazine Subscription
Southern Cast Iron Magazine Subscription I can’t recommend this magazine enough! I adore it and have a couple of 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! The Best Grilling Cookbooks we could not do without. 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 it to our collection!
Jason’s been firing up the grill for over 30 years after graduating from the US Coast Guard Academy. His love of finely-grilled steak and chicken led him to buy his first Weber grill to put on his apartment patio in 1992. Each military move led to a new grill (a mixture of gas and charcoal) until he fell in love with the Big Green Egg in 2008. Since then, he has added another 4 grills to the collection. Yes, he has a problem. Jason loves smoking in the ceramic BGE with exotic woods including olive wood from Egypt and hard to find varieties such as sassafras and orange wood. Jason takes the term “foodie” to a whole new level, jumping at the chance to take food tours and cooking classes during foreign travels. These have provided inspiration to incorporate new ideas into recipes when he gets back home. He has been featured in Fox News, Parade, Yahoo News, Kansas City Living and more. After retiring from the military and moving to southwest Florida, he has focused grilling and smoking locally sourced meats and fish (read: he likes to catch his own fish!)