Serious Barbecue by Adam Perry Lang
The chef-turned-grill-master juggles a second printing of his cookbook and a Hollywood pop-up
Originally published in 2009, Adam Perry Lang’s "Serious Barbecue" quickly became a coveted tome for fans of outdoor cooking. After numerous requests for copies of his BBQ how-to book, Lang has taken the reins and self-published a new printing of the book to offer up to his prodigious knowledge of grilling meat.
Lang begins "Serious Barbecue" with an introduction detailing his journey from a career working in fine dining restaurants with Daniel Boulud, Guy Savoy, Mario Batalli, and Jamie Oliver to a private chef gig that landed him some time on a sprawling ranch in New Mexico. There, Lang caught the outdoor grilling bug that launched a somewhat obsessive odyssey to learn about the mysteries behind what it takes to make a truly exceptional BBQ. Lang went on to open Daisy May's BBQ USA in New York City.
At Daisy May's, Lang proved that even in an urban metropolis, the flavors of BBQ could sing. He wrote his book to prove that anyone with the desire could learn to cook good food outdoors. Opening a copy "Serious Barbecue" will make any meat-eater hungry. With images of Lang cooking, types of wood, tools in action, ingredients and finished plates along with step-by-step descriptions, Lang dispels BBQ myths and reveals the recipe for his competition-winning Bone-In Pork Butt. When developing his pork butt recipe, Lang was given the advice to try pairing it with apple. He proceeded to take the tip to heart in a big way—including apple juice, apple cider vinegar, apple jelly and grated apple in a bid to capture first place at the World Series of Barbecue. It worked: Lang won—and also won Grand Champion at the World Pork Expo, earning a perfect score for his ribs.
Lang's passion for meats with bold flavors often leads to a discussion of techniques that harness the elements of smoke, char and texture. He fills the pages of the book with tutorials on how to purchase meat, set up a grill, gather the necessary tools and tackle the basics of outdoor cooking. Rather than a mere listing of recipes, Lang aims to develop the instincts needed to master grilling in ways that are simple to follow. Essentially, Lang debunks the myth that BBQ has rules, or is complicated.
Lang is the real deal and his passion for food is palpable. He forges many of his own knives. He delights in tasting authentic spicy dishes in LA's Thai Town and tracks down a recommended ceviche menu in Inglewood. His current project is cooking on a stylized backyard set, called Back Lot BBQ, which is next to the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live in Hollywood. His pop-up experience has been set up as the ultimate book re-launch; offering the chance to taste some of the recipes in the book, cooked in a two-ton Texas pit or on one of a dozen Big Green Eggs. Special evening events at the Back Lot feature cooking demos, a Dickel whisky tasting and private dinners.
Lang will spend the rest of the summer cooking up his signature dishes at the Back Lot BBQ, teaching grilling workshops and planning his next endeavor—a permanent space in Los Angeles. He has also set up a butcher shop at his new Manhattan Beach workshop. This trained chef has found his sweet spot, where hunting wild boar, forging knives and grilling for BBQ enthusiasts is a reality.
"Serious Barbecue" is available for purchase at the Back Lot BBQ in Hollywood, California, or on Amazon for $28. Also check out "BBQ 25"—Lang's back-to-basics manual—for even more tips from this thoughtful grill master.
Images by David Loftus