Born to Grill

A look at Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison’s previous books reveals a penchant for spicy, smoky, and southwestern American cooking. Some of the recipes in BORN TO GRILL: AN AMERICAN CELEBRATION continue to show their love for highly spiced foods, such as “Pork Steak with Mrs. Dull’s Lively Sauce,” adapted from the 1928 recipe by the food editor of the Atlanta JOURNAL. However, there are just as many recipes to please a blander palate, such as “Thyme-Rubbed Turkey Kebobs with Cranberry Glaze.” The seasoning is subtle enough to conjure up images of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with the mixture of sage and thyme on the turkey breast fillets, which are made into kebobs with green-skinned apples, bacon, and onions, then basted with a cranberry glaze.

Cooks looking for new adventures with their grills but still hankering occasionally for hamburgers and hot dogs should turn to the chapter “Hot Burgers and Haute Dogs.” From the basics such as “The Old-Timey Big ’Un” to regional specialties from Chicago, the Caribbean, and the Piedmonts, burgers are prepared to suit a variety of tastes and are concocted from beef, lamb, pork, venison, and turkey. The “Doggoned Good Classic Dog” might be called a hot dog, but it achieves “haute” in the Boston-style “Nuovo North End Sausage Sandwich” or the “Brewed Brats with Caraway Kraut” inspired by the bratwurst in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Frequent notes on basic grilling techniques and the addition of unusual histories of the foods keep the text lively and readable.