We like grilling our food. It’s easy, quick, and fun. Some would even say it’s healthier than other techniques, as we're using less oil and butter. Personally, I think that grilling just makes anything taste better.
For newbies, grilling is often confused with barbecuing. But they’re both different things; barbecuing is more slow cooking while grilling is cooking food quickly over a fire. And grilling isn’t just a simple matter of slapping meat over a grill and waiting for it to cook. There’s an art to doing it.
This where a grilling cookbook is really handy. It shows you the complexities behind the process of cooking meat and vegetables over an open flame. It’ll give you tips and suggestions on how to make your food more flavorful. You might find information about how to choose what you grill too, like which are the best steak cuts for grilling.
The best cookbooks are those that have step-by-step photos that illustrate the grilling technique. It book should also be instructive and easy to comprehend.
More importantly, you want a cookbook that contains delicious recipes that are interesting enough to try out. There’s nothing worse than one that’s been relegated into a coffee table book. Cookbooks are meant to be used regularly. And that means they must have reliable, fool-proof recipes.
I also like the ones that come jampacked with useful tips for the amateur and the experienced cook. Most of these are written by grill masters with years of experience so it’s like having the author by your side and coaching you as you attempt to perfectly grill your meat.
In this list, I’ve included a mix of both entry-level and advanced books on grilling. Many of these, however, are suited for both newbies and experienced cooks. They only differ in terms of book design and layout. What’s common about all of these is that they offer the home cook lots of creative inspiration on how to undertake their grilling journey.
Here’s ten of the best grilling cookbooks on Amazon now.
Best Grilling Cookbooks
- Weber's Way to Grill: The Step-by-Step Guide to Expert Grilling Paperback – Illustrated
- How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques
- Williams-Sonoma Collection: Grilling
- How to Grill Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Flame-Cooked Food Hardcover – Illustrated
- How to Grill for Beginners: A Grilling Cookbook for Mastering Techniques and Recipes
- Master of the Grill: Foolproof Recipes, Top-Rated Gadgets, Gear, & Ingredients Plus Clever Test Kitchen Tips & Fascinating Food Science
- Gastro Grilling
- Serial Griller: Grillmaster Secrets for Flame-Cooked Perfection Hardcover – Illustrated
- The Cook's Illustrated Guide To Grilling And Barbecue Hardcover
- Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling Hardcover – Illustrated
1. Weber's Way to Grill: The Step-by-Step Guide to Expert Grilling Paperback – Illustrated
Whether you’re using a charcoal or gas grill, this book will teach you how to master outdoor cooking. It features more than 160 recipes that have been triple-tested and includes over 1,000 step-by-step photos.
This book covers the fundamentals of grilling and barbecuing. It explains how to set up a zone grilling system for direct and indirect grilling and when to use each part. There’s also a section that explains the differences between various charcoals and wood, as well as a vegetable and fruit grilling guide.
The recipes are a combination of the familiar and the exotic. It’s written clearly and each recipe is accompanied by at least 3 photos. Most of the recipes use common and easy-to-source ingredients. There’s also a section on grilling method variations that follows each recipe.
Readers found this useful because there it doesn’t insist that there is only one way to grill. They also got a lot of ideas for rubs and sauces that you can add to your regular menus.
2. How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques
This book has over 100 recipes that each illustrate a grilling technique. It has over 1,000 full-color, photos that help you every step of the way from banking the coals to plating the food.
The book is organized by the type of meat and how to grill them, each having a subsection on what to do based on the cut of the meat. The recipes are written clearly; one reader said that the writing was unpretentious and meant to educate. Each recipe comes with a recommendation on whether to use direct or indirect heat.
This is a technique-heavy book that newbies will appreciate for its attention to detail and comprehensiveness. Experienced grillers will learn hundreds of inside tips that they can use to refine their techniques.
Readers like this book because the recipes are delicious. They also said that while the author has his own preference for a type of grill, he’ll show you how to get the same flavorful result using other kinds of grills.
3. Williams-Sonoma Collection: Grilling
This is an entry-level grilling cookbook that features 40 delicious recipes that won’t overwhelm a newbie griller. There are recipes for a charcoal grill as well as a gas grill.
This book includes a glossary and a useful section on grilling basics: from grill type, grill preparation, how to check for doneness, etc. There’s also a chapter on vegetable and fruit recipes and how they can be cooked as a side dishes or desserts.
The recipes are a combination of updated classics as well as new ones that don’t go overboard with its creativity. Each recipe uses basic pantry items and seasonings so that the dishes are much less expensive than they could be. There are full-color photos that accompany each recipe. There’s also a side note for every dish that highlights the key ingredient and technique.
Overall, a safe and easy beginner cookbook that gets the job done.
4. How to Grill Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Flame-Cooked Food
This book collects some of Bittman’s recipes from his previous cookbooks and includes new ones. There are more than 250 main recipes here and nearly a thousand variations on how to grill them. It’s meant to be a comprehensive overview on grilling and focuses on dishes suitable for charcoal or gas grills.
The recipes are easy to do and written in a straightforward style. Most of them are actually fancy riffs on classic grilled dishes; Bittman encourages creativity when grilling that’s why he includes a lot of ideas in the recipe’s bottom note for how to change the flavor profile of the dish. The book includes plenty of quick, high-heat recipes, along with slow, low-heat ones that are perfect for a weekend cookout.
Readers like this book because the recipes cover every part of the meal, including appetizers, seafood, meat and poultry, vegetables (including vegetarian mains), and desserts. And all throughout this book are his practical suggestions for substitution suggestions, rubs, and sauces. If you’re looking for a grilling cookbook that allows you to be creative, this book is for you.
5. How to Grill for Beginners: A Grilling Cookbook for Mastering Techniques and Recipes
This book is designed to teach you the 4 fundamental techniques to achieve perfect grilling. It features 70 recipes that range from American classics to international favorites.
This cookbook walks the reader through the entire process of grilling. Part One teaches you the basics, including terminology, tools, and the types of heat for grilling. Part Two shows you the techniques and includes a practice run recipe that highlights the technique. The final part is the recipe section that lets you work on your technique while cooking delicious dishes.
The recipes are written clearly and are categorized by main proteins. Each recipe references the applicable technique and includes tips on how to swap proteins in order to make the recipe easier. There’s also a section for side dishes. An index is also provided for easy reference.
There are not much photos in this book but the ones that are included are gorgeous food porn. Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced griller, you’ll be able to learn something new from this cookbook.
6. Master of the Grill: Foolproof Recipes, Top-Rated Gadgets, Gear, & Ingredients Plus Clever Test Kitchen Tips & Fascinating Food Science
This grilling cookbook edited by the America’s Test Kitchen collects most of the recipes featured in Cook's Illustrated/Cook's Country magazines and includes some new ones as well. There are about 700 recipes here for grilling meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, pizza, and more.
The recipe collection is a mix of old-time American favorites and regional specialties. The recipes are written clearly and include instructions on how to cook the dishes on a charcoal or gas grill. There are color photos of the dish per recipe and also step-by-step shots to illustrate the process.
The book is designed as part field guide and part cookbook. As such there is a section that covers grilling essentials like the pros and cons of gas and charcoal grills and which might be right for you, as well as the tools you’ll use with them.
Readers like using the recipes from this book because the dishes turn out to be great even if you experiment with them. The kitchen tips and info on the science behind the grilling process are also fun to read.
7. Gastro Grilling (US Edition)
This cookbook is suited for cooks who are familiar with the basics and know their way around a grill. There are 135 recipes here that cover the full range of meats, including some that use exotic meats like frog legs.
The recipes are simple to follow, with step by step instructions and accompanied by beautiful photos. The cookbook also includes notes that recommend alternative ingredients and highlight advanced grill skills and techniques.
Readers love the sections on making rubs and sauces for their diversity and creativity. There’s also a lot of useful information on grilling and smoking.
8. Serial Griller: Grillmaster Secrets for Flame-Cooked Perfection
More recipe book than instruction guide, this cookbook showcases the diverse cuisine of the American grilling scene. There’s a short section that reviews the grilling basics but then it quickly moves on to showcasing the dishes.
This book features a broad selection of recipes for the charcoal grill which differ in method, technique, and cuisine. It also includes some of the coveted recipes of grill master chefs like Michael Solomonov's Zahav and Ashley Christensen's Death & Taxes. This is not a cookbook for beginners but for experienced cooks looking to add more recipes to their skill set.
Readers like the stories that accompany each recipe since they add a warm and human element to the making of the dish. Also indispensable are the helpful tips provided by grill masters all over the book.
9. The Cook's Illustrated Guide To Grilling And Barbecue
This cookbook is a comprehensive nuts and bolts collection about outdoor cooking. There are more than 450 recipes showcased here that range from traditional favorites to international ones.
It also uses more than 300 step-by-step illustrations that coach you through the basics of prepping your food to grilling it. The introductory chapters covers the difference between grilling and barbecueing; the pros and cons of gas and charcoal grilling; and other grill-related issues.
The book also includes a section that presents the results of their product tests so that the user will know what equipment to use and what brands to avoid.
Readers found this book more useful than interesting because of the amount of research it provides on the science of grilling. Nevertheless, there are some portions of the book that feature interesting anecdotes on the history of the dish and its ingredient. Overall, one reader found that it was the “most comprehensive and easiest-to-follow” grilling cookbook he has read so far.
10. Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling
This cookbook features more than 100 thoroughly tested recipes for the grill. There are recipes that have become traditional American favorites but there also some new ones thrown in to challenge the experienced griller.
This book also has recipes for all the great regional barbecue sauces as well as rubs for meats and vegetables. And every recipe is accompanied by full-colored photos.
But more than the recipes, this book is a blend of chemistry, physics, meat science and humor.
Readers liked reading the interesting science behind grilling. The principles are explained easily. This book also shatters the common grilling myths like soaking wood before using it or searing the meat first before cooking it.
HOW TO GRILL: THE COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED BOOK OF BARBECUE TECHNIQUES by Steven Raichlen
This book is the most user-friendly book for grilling aficionados. It doesn’t have many recipes (only one per technique) but considering that it teaches you some 100 grilling techniques and variations, it’s more than enough if you’re looking for variety.
This book will also coach you through deciding what grill to choose based on your needs. And it also includes grilling and barbecuing techniques and recipes from all over the world.
One reader loved it because it has one of the most balanced discussions of gas vs charcoal grills. And to make it more convenient, each recipe contains instructions for cooking it in gas and charcoal.
It’s also easy to read and features a lot of photos and illustrations. If you’re looking for a starter grilling cookbook, this is one of the essential ones you should buy.