Side Dish: Authors recharge ‘Smoke & Spice’

“Smoke & Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue” by Cheryl and Bill Jamison

The Harvard Common Press, $24.95

502-page paperback

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The upcoming long Memorial Day weekend traditionally heralds the beginning of summer activities and the grilling season. That might explain why May is designated as National Barbecue Month.

To kick off the summer barbecue season it seems only appropriate that grilling and barbecue gurus Cheryl and Bill Jamisons have updated “Smoke & Spice,” their 20-year-old best-seller on the subject.

When the book was published in 1994, it was considered the first book “on real barbecue — slow cooking over smoke — for home cooks,” its publisher says. The authors write that “Smoke & Spice” appeared “during a period when Americans wanted to spend more time outside, when we finally got fed up with burned birds for outdoor dinners, when we began to give credibility to genuine American cooking.”

Two decades later, the Jamisons took a fresh look at their book and added about 50 new dishes, “recharged” the information, tips and design, and added full-color photographs. The book now has more than 450 recipes from across the country’s barbecue regions.

The book is divided into three parts. The first looks at Honest-to-Goodness Barbecue, explaining the secrets to success, what fuels and tools to use and indoor stove-top smoking. The second part offers recipes for “Smoking Slow and Low,” including pork you pull apart, smoke-scented salads, pastas and pizzas, and appetizer-type dishes to keep folks happy while dinner is cooking. The third part, titled “Great Accomplishments From Indoors,” provides recipes for barbecue sauces, traditional side dishes and breads, salads and relishes, desserts, and drinks.

Recipes range from Wild Willy’s Number One-derful Rub, the Jamisons’ main all-purpose rub, to Berry Lemonade, a natural version of pink lemonade. In between are such recipes as Cinderella Short Ribs, Quick Chick, Rosy Rosemary Quail, Cuban Snapper, Maque Choux peppers, Espresso Barbecue Sauce, Hot Tamales, Tangy Buttermilk Potato Salad and Peanutty Pie.

Anyone who wants to learn more about outdoor cooking and smoking will want to add the Jamisons’ cookbook to their library.

Cheramie Sonnier is The Advocate’s food editor. Her email address is csonnier@theadvocate.com. Shrimp Rémoulade

Serves 4 to 6. Recipe is from “Smoke & spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue” by Cheryl and Bill Jamison (The Harvard Common Press). The authors write, “Rémoulade sauce, a Louisiana marvel, is usually served on boiled shrimp. A touch of smoke in the shellfish enhances all the flavors.” They suggest serving the dish as an appetizer or as a light main dish.

211/2 lbs. peeled medium shrimp, preferably with tails on

Shrimp Marinade:

3 tbls. extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tsps. Cajun or Creole seasoning

Rémoulade Sauce:

1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large celery ribs, chopped

4 scallions, chopped

2 tbls. Creole mustard, such as Zatarain’s

2 tbls. ketchup

1 tbl. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbl. capers

1 tbl. chopped fresh cilantro

2 or 4 tsps. Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce

1 tsp. prepared horseradish, or more to taste

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. Cajun or Creole seasoning

1/2 tsp. table salt, or more to taste

Lettuce leaves, for garnish

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1. Prepare the smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature to 180˚F to 200˚F.

2. In a bowl, toss the shrimp with the marinade ingredients. Let the shrimp marinate at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.

3. While the shrimp marinate, place all the sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

4. Transfer the shrimp to the smoker and smoke them until just cooked through and lightly fragrant, 15 to 20 minutes. They are ready when opaque, slightly firm, and lightly pink on the exterior. Combine the shrimp with the sauce in a serving dish and chill for 1 to 2 hours. Garnish the dish with the lettuce just before serving.

Variation: Zydeco Shrimp Rémoulade introduces even more smoke flavor to the dish by smoking tomatoes for the rémoulade sauce along with the shrimp. Put 2 large plum tomatoes beside the shrimp in the smoker and cook them the same amount of time. Delay making the sauce until everything is done. Then substitute the tomatoes for the ketchup in the sauce, pureeing them skins and all.

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