Yet another cookbook offered by MQ Publications in their “Retro” series is a cookbook called “OUTDOOR GRUB” (subtitled “Hot n’ spicy Barbecue”), by Carol Tennant.

Back in the day, we were pretty fond of cooking outdoors on the grill – and had, in fact, several grills plus a smoker set up all in one little area that Bob laid with very old brick.  We did so much outdoor cooking that I began filling up a recipe box just with BBQ recipes. And although I do have a number of outdoor cookery books, “OUTDOOR GRUB” is especially nice and sure to become a favorite.

Similar to the other Retro cookbooks in this series from MQ Publications, “OUTDOOR GRUB” contains a wealth of 50s-style photographs which are great fun to peruse.  But there the similarity ends – for the recipes are really very up-to-date and sure to please today’s chefs and their families.

Chapters are divided into sections titled “Birds of a Feather”, “On The Hoof”, “Gone Fishing”, “Game on the Grill” and “Veg’n Side Orders

To get you started, the author has included a section of helpful information to get you acquainted with your grill and help you decide whether you want to cook with gas or charcoal,  what equipment you will need, and how to clean and maintain your barbecue. Included as well is a section on smoking foods, and what types of wood you will want to use for different flavors.

While”Birds of a Feather” offers recipes such as Grill-roasted Chicken with spicy, smoky gravy, or Grill-roasted spice-rubbed whole chicken, Chili fajitas on the Grill—even something called ‘Dancin’ Chicken” which is a recipe for making beer-can chicken—as well Spicy Tequila-lime marinated chicken skewers with avocado salsa (and more!)…other chapters such as “On the Hoof” offer recipes for Carne Asada, Marinated and Stuffed Rib-eye Steaks and Texas T-bones. (As you may have guessed from the subtitle, this is a cookbook dedicated to “hot and spicy” recipes and isn’t for the faint-hearted!)

Under the chapter “Gone Fishing”, I was greatly enamored over a recipe called “Giant Shrimp Wrapped in Bacon with Mexican Barbecue Sauce” – it appeared to be a close cousin to an appetizer recipe my nephew and I enjoyed whenever we visited a seafood restaurant called Mitchell’s, across the river from downtown Cincinnati at a place called Newport on the Levee.  The first time we tried these shrimp, I almost swooned…I have been trying to figure out how to make them, ever since—and don’t think I would have guessed that the secret is a Mexican Adobe Barbecue Sauce.  However, I think you will be equally intrigued with Sweet Red Chili Salmon Steaks with Black Bean and Corn Salsa, or Spiced Catfish with Avocado Sauce…or how about Whole Red Snapper with Chili, Herb and lemon rub? These and many other recipes await in “OUTDOOR GRUB”.

It occurs to me that this cookbook would make an excellent gift for the man (or woman) in your life who enjoys outdoor cookery with a bit of spice added to it.

This series of cookbooks from a British publisher (MQ Publications in London) has deliberately been designed to meet expectations of both English and American chefs. Recipes are given in both metric and American measures. This is a feature I might not have given a great deal of thought to in the past, but in recent months, I have been sharing recipes with an Australian penpal and I became concerned about the conversions of such recipes. (I’ve also learned from her that Aussies really love to cook outdoors and much prefer it to cooking inside the house!)  An added bonus to “OUTDOOR GRUB” is that on the inside covers of the book – are conversion tables!

Carol Tennant was born and educated in Toronto, Canada but moved to the United   Kingdom in 1987.  She is a free lance author, home economist, and food stylist, who regularly writes for magazines including BBC Good Food, House Beautiful, Vegetarian Good Food and Ready, Steady, Cook.

“OUTDOOR GRUB” from MQ Publications originally sold for $16.95 in the USA. The ISBN # is 1-84072-459-5. I found it available on Azon.com new for $2.57 or pre-owned for 9c and up.   It is available on Alibris.com starting at 99 cents.

Originally Review by Sandra Lee Smith April, 2004. Updated January, 2013.


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