Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Review & Giveaway: Sunset's The Great Outdoors Cookbook

I am rather certain that this is the first cookbook that gave me advice on outwitting bears.  I think that's the kind of thing that I would remember.

The Great Outdoors Cookbook is different than the crowd of BBQ and Grilling books because about a third of it is about how to grill amazing meals while camping or hiking.  The book also offers pro tips on everything from building your own pizza oven to, yes, how to outwit bears.

Sunset/Oxmoor House

Physical description:
The Great Outdoors Cookbook comes in reinforced soft cover and is roughly 10 by 9 inches in size.  The book has over 250 pages and these are organized in a rather unique way.   The recipes and content are divided into Campfires, Home Fires, and Inspired Fires.  Instead of the typical glossy white pages, The Great Outdoors Cookbook uses a heavy matte type stock and the pages are full color, even the "white spaces".  That might seem like a small detail but each of the three people that flipped through my copy made comments about how nice that was. 

The Great Outdoors Cookbook is more than just recipes as it is heavily salted with exceptional "how to" sections.  The recipes themselves are not only creative in terms of flavors, many of them offer a good bit of ingenuity for the instructions.

The Campfires section is loaded with recipes for camping and hiking but I couldn't help but think they would also be helpful for tailgating as well.  Forget hotdogs, smores, and burgers, these recipes put five star food in the pic-uh-nic basket, Yogi would approve.  We really liked that most of these recipes are broken up into prep to do at home and how to easily store it for cooking at the campsite.  They include tips like how to forage for food in the wild, basics like how to cook with a Dutch oven, and pro tips like how to pack a cooler.  If you've ever camped, you know that packing is an art and can make your experience so much better.  

The Home Fires section is all about cooking outdoors at home, such as grilling and smoking.  There are more tutorials here such as grilling basics, how to use a Weber Smoky Mountain water smoker, how to use a solar oven, and how to make a fresh bay leaf "cage" for cooking whole fish.  The recipes include starters, burgers and gourmet sandwiches, pizzas, dinners, sides, and desserts.

Finally, the Inspired Fires is aptly named.  The Great Outdoors gives you detailed "how to's"  for several out of this world ideas for live fire cooking that you have probably never done before.   Things like how to build your own open fire pit, how to build a pizza oven, cooking like a gaucho, using a Santa Maria grill, and much more.  For each of these techniques, they prove a full theme menu for that style of cooking.

The first thing we made from the book was the Chicken Enchilada Nacho Bowls.  For this you make a mixture of smoked chicken, enchilada sauce, black beans, corn, and more at home and then easily assemble the rest at the camp site or tailgate.

Next I made the Tarragon-Mustard T-bone Steak, steaks marinated in a mixture of oil, wine, tarragon, and Dijon mustard.  
I picked this recipe mainly because I have tarragon growing in the front yard but this herb is used in Bearnaise sauce so it also just made sense.

Finally, my absolute favorite was the Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls.  These were the best homemade cinnamon rolls that we have made, live fire or in the oven.  These instantly made our list for breakfasts at any type of onsite event, like a BBQ competition, since they are "make ahead" for everything except the actual cooking.

These smelled ridiculously good, you might get mobbed if you cook these at a camp ground.

The book includes 125 full color photographs and illustrations which meaningfully supplement the tutorial sections.  The matte finish gives the campground pictures a gritty look to them that feels appropriate for the setting. 
The Great Outdoors Cookbook is ideal for people that hike and camp, but that isn't all.  It is also great for anyone who needs to cook outside away from home, like tailgating.  Both the Campfire and Home Fires sections appeal to folks for general grilling and BBQing at home.  The Inspired Fires would be good for more advanced outdoor cooks who want to take their game to the next level.

4 of 5 stars – good cookbook with value added tips, photos, guides, and other content

Giveaway - The Great Outdoors Cookbook

How To Enter and Rules

  1. To enter, leave a comment below telling us when was the last time you camped out.   NOTE:  If you are using the anonymous comment option, please make sure to leave a way to reach you (email,  forum user name, etc) in case you win. 
  2. Giveaway entry period begins as soon as this is posted and ends Sunday, May 11th at 11:59pm. Drawing will be held Monday, May 12th at 7:00pm (All times are Eastern Time zone).  Winner will be announced in an update to this post. 
  3. Comments will be numbered by order received and will generate a random number for the winner.
  4. Limited to residents of the continental United States and Canada unless you wish to pay the extra shipping charges.
  5. I am the final judge regarding any discrepancies, interpretations, grievances, etc about this drawing.
  6. Sunset and Oxmoor House are only sponsoring the prize. They are not responsible for the drawing or the giveaway.
  7. Winner must respond and claim the prize within one week of the winning announcement. If a winner does not claim the prize during the specified time, a reserve winner will be drawn from the original entries.
[Standard Disclaimer]  I received a review copy of the book for free.

The winner of the drawing is Nicole A.  Nicole please contact me because the user account link takes me to a missing Etsy page.  Thanks!
Alternate Winner
Sorry, Nichole, I couldn't reach you with the contact link provided and didn't hear back after posting the announcement.  The alternate winner is: