These days, it’s not difficult to locate a cookbook to guide you through the challenges of cooking for a Paleo diet. Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman’s Guide to Cooking with Fire by Tony Federico and James Phelan explores a niche in that lifestyle with tasty recipes, enticing photographs, and plenty of helpful advice for preparing memorable meals on the grill.
This grilling cookbook doesn’t go into great depth on the details of the paleo diet, so it would not be an adequate introductory guide for someone initially exploring this way of eating. Once established in the paleo diet, however, you’ll relish the insight into preparing meats, poultry, and fish on the grill found in Paleo Grilling.
The Book’s Organization
With photographs to accompany many of the recipes, you’ll find the cookbook well organized and separated into logical sections.
-The History of Meat and Fire
– Meet your Meat
-Tools for the Modern Caveman
-The Primal Pantry
-Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades
-Starters and Sides
-Beef and Lamb
-About the Authors
Uniqueness in the Pages
Sprinkled throughout Paleo Grilling are quotations from a various sources that support and enhance the theory behind the recipes: Cantonese saying, “If it has four legs and it’s not a table, eat it.” Julia Child, “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” Nigella Lawson, “You could probably get through life without knowing how to roast a chicken, but the question is, would you want to?” Oscar Wilde, “I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them.”
Reading the copy carefully will reward you with humorous quips. In the section describing grilling tools, Tony Federico and James Phelan write about tongs, “Flipping burgers, maneuvering skewers, and manipulating grilled veggies with your bare hands could be considered an extreme sport, so save your skin and invest in a good set of barbecue tongs.”
In the chapter entitled, Meet your Meats, they discuss wild game and write, “Unfortunately, most of us neither have the skill nor the time to hunt and gather all of our food. The good news is that you can still derive most of the benefits of eating wild without learning how to throw a spear – although you probably should learn how to throw a spear because that would be pretty cool.”
Helpful References and Resources
Readers will appreciate the documentation in Paleo Grilling. Federico and Phelan cite articles that helped them form their opinions so that readers can easily find and read them independently should they wish to firm up their own foundation of knowledge. In the section on tools, they include websites that sell the recommended gadgets and it’s very helpful without seeming commercial. Near the index at the end of the book, there is a column of resources where you can find some of the more elusive ingredients.
I tried a variety of the recipes in Paleo Grilling and was especially fond of the beef rub on page 49 that I used on elk steaks. The Adobo Marinade on page 55 was tasty when grilling the Chicken Adobo on page 113. The chicken was spicy yet pleasantly flavorful and was exceptionally good on a salad for lunch the next day. I wasn’t as fond of the cauliflower rice that accompanied the chicken; we all felt the suggested 2 teaspoons of saffron was about 4 times too much. The Pork Tenderloin Roulade on page 99 was a very successful entrée for a company dinner.
If you are well established in the commitment of eating a paleo diet and are excited about firing up your grill to cook some protein, Paleo Grilling by Tony Federico and James Phelan belongs on your shelf. You’ll want to search elsewhere for paleo dessert ideas as that section of the book has only 5 recipes, and 4 of them don’t involve the grill. I do have the page with Paleo Key Lime Pie tagged to try the next time someone restricted by the paleo diet comes for dinner. It looks fabulous. — by Lisa George, RFT Cookbook Editor, Chef/co-owner Latigo Ranch, Kremmling, Colorado