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3 sizzling hot new barbecue cookbooks from an Iron Chef, Food52 and more

The sweet aroma of spring wafts through the air on these sun-kissed weekends and — no, we’re not talking about blossoms, we’re talking barbecue. If you haven’t fired up your backyard grill yet, it’s high time to do so. And there’s a new crop of barbecue and grill cookbooks out to provide delicious inspiration. Here are three of our top picks of the season:
Michael Symon’s Playing With Fire
The book: You may know Symon from his co-hosting gigs for ABC’s “The Chew” and Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” — he’ll also be hosting the oh-so-fragrant Garlic Showdown at this summer’s Gilroy Garlic Festival  — but the chef and restaurateur has serious barbecue cred, too. His Mabel’s BBQ in Cleveland, he says, ” was conceived from my lifelong obsession with live-fire cooking.”
The book (Clarkson Potter, $30) opens with a discussion of different methods of grilling and smoking, from offset smokers to Webers and the Big Green Egg, before diving into pork, beef, seafood, veggies and all the barbecue sauces, relishes and rubs that make those flavors pop.
The must-try recipe: Symon’s Grilled Chicken Thighs with Blackberry BBQ Sauce is fast, easy and sensational. “I’m not gonna lie: when it comes to chicken, I’m definitely a thigh guy!” says Symon, who liked to pair poultry with a barbecue sauce that contains fruit to balance out its heat and spice. And this summer, when corn is at its peak, try Symon’s Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad, tossed with jalapenos, avocado, scallions and fresh lime juice.
Michael Symon’s grilled chicken thighs are served with a blackberry BBQ sauce. (Copyright © 2018 by Ed Anderson) 
Food 52 Any Night Grilling: 60 Ways to Fire up Dinner (and More)
The book:  Food52 is known for its down-to-earth approach to cooking marvelous food, and their latest cookbook (Ten Speed Press, $25) displays the same practicality. Sure, we may want to cook slow-smoked brisket or porchetta all day. We certainly want to eat it, anyway. But as Texas author Paula Disbrowe says, “It’s not gonna happen on a weeknight.” This is a grilling book for people in a hurry.
“Any Night Grilling” delves into everything from “charred greens and smoky salads” to barbecued birds and burgers, all of which can be made any night of the week. Make Disbrowe’s Truckload of Marinated Vegetables on a Sunday afternoon, for example, and you’ll have vegetarian lunches and dinners for the week. Or opt for near-instant gratification with Instant Vacation Swordfish Skewers.
The must-try recipe:  The very word “porchetta” makes us salivate. But if you don’t have five hours to spare, try the  Porchetta-Style Pork Kebabs with White Beans . Made with pork tenderloin strips, threaded onto rosemary branch “skewers,” the recipe creates “similar flavors in a fraction of the time,” Disbrowe promises. “After the meat is charred over high heat, it finishes cooking over white beans that capture the delicious drippings.”
These porchetta-style pork kebabs with white beans hail from the new Food52 “Any Night Grilling Cookbook.” (James Ransom © 2018) 
Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces
The book: Chicago chef Bill Kim made his name with his bellyQ and Urbanbelly restaurants, eateries that showcase sizzling flavors and creative Korean-American dishes. Now he’s gathered his favorite fare into a grilling cookbook (Ten Speed Press, $28) that opens with seven signature (and easy) sauces that amp up flavor throughout the book, from barbecued meats to vegetables and tofu.
A Korean BBQ Sauce, for example, brings Asian pear, kiwi, fresh ginger and toasted sesame oil to the party, while a Lemongrass Chili Sauce adds sweet heat, and Korean Pesto contributes bright, spicy flavors to the mix.
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“Okay, I know you’re wondering what pesto has to do with Korean barbecue,” Kim writes. “But pesto doesn’t have to be exclusive to Italian cooking. It’s just a combination of nuts and oil and herbs and other ingredients.”
The must-try recipe:  Marinate Kim’s Korean BBQ Skirt Steak  in that Korean BBQ Sauce for an hour or so, then grill the meat and serve it with Korean Pesto and fresh herbs. Worried you’ll have leftover sauces? There’s an entire chapter devoted to “How to Kung Fu Your Leftover Master Sauces,” complete with a mix-and-match  “Bowl Matrix” for further inspiration.
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