It’s been quiet on the blog this summer. Though I wish it was because I was out exploring (there was a little of that, but not nearly as much as I would’ve liked), I was hunkered down at home, building fire pits and fires in my backyard, cooking and shooting five recipes a day with a toddler underfoot, and luring friends to my kitchen for rounds of taste testing.
In other words… I have a new book coming next spring!
Late last year, after a very successful first season with The New Camp Cookbook, ideas started percolating for a third book. People really gravitated toward the thought of cooking moderately healthy, unfussy, from-scratch meals outside, whether they were camping, tailgating, or just making dinner at home.
So many readers emailed me to say they continued to use the book long after their favorite campgrounds had closed for the winter and before they opened again in the spring. Some weren’t even into camping at all.
But they did enjoy outdoor cooking!
So when I was wondering how I’d follow up a camping title — building on that momentum without repeating the recipes and techniques — I thought, why not bring the concept closer to home?
Thus, the idea for The Backyard Fire Cookbook was born.
This is a book about grilling, but accessible, everyday grilling: no low-and-slow barbecue, no overnight marinades, no complicated techniques to learn or fancy equipment to buy. All you need is a live fire (in your backyard fire pit or charcoal grill) to turn out delicious meals.
I looked at several similar cookbooks when I started researching the market, and so many of them centered around elaborate preparations like roasting whole pigs, smoking a brisket for 12 hours straight, or hanging legs of lamb in front of a fireplace. I don’t have anything against those recipes, but they’re not the way I typically cook at home.
I wanted a more approachable grilling cookbook that wasn’t so masculine, didn’t require me to cook for a large party, and most importantly, didn’t require special (or extensive or expensive) gear to get started.
Unlike many grilling books, my recipes are not solely focused on meat; we have burgers and steaks, for sure, and a wide range of fish and seafood, but also beautiful seasonal produce that get the wood-fired treatment.
Think: figs, apples, pears, eggplants, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, summer and winter squash, all of it charred to perfection to bring out the wonderful flavors inherent in fresh, quality ingredients. (After all, this is still a Garden Betty book. I couldn’t not feature some of my favorite fruits and vegetables!)
I am so excited to share this book with you because it really encourages the idea of weeknight grilling with recipes that can be made with pantry staples or common ingredients at your local grocery store.
Too often, we think of grilling as a weekend affair; one where a special occasion is needed, or a “main event” on the grill is the whole reason for throwing a backyard barbecue. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
For me, grilling almost feels like a shortcut to a great meal. Take your favorite food, add salt and pepper and fire and smoke, and dinner tastes like you put forth a lot more effort than you actually did. (And let’s not forget the amount of dishes you don’t have to do afterward.)
The Backyard Fire Cookbook will cover ember roasting, charcoal grilling, plank grilling, cast-iron cooking, and foil packets — all of my favorite techniques that anyone can easily learn and master. It’s basic enough for beginners to understand, but interesting enough for experienced home cooks to use, enjoy, and feel inspired by.
I’ll be sharing more about the book in the months to follow, including a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cover. (This is always one of my favorite parts of making a book, as well as the most nerve-wracking and sometimes surprising in the whole publishing process. Remember these cover shoots from my first book and second book?)
I finally wrapped up the manuscript last week (insert massive sigh of relief here) and turned in the first round of revisions today. The project moves on to design and layout this week, and assuming all goes smoothly with production, The Backyard Fire Cookbook will be out in May 2019!
You can check out the book on Amazon right here — and even preorder a copy! — but we haven’t made an official preorder announcement just yet. Stay tuned.