Lots of rain and cool temperatures this spring might have kept you indoors and away from your grill.
But by the time Memorial Day rolls around, the weather should be warmer, and we'll be ready for grillin'.
Cooks who are looking for new ideas can find plenty in this spring's crop of barbecue cookbooks. Here's a look at five of them.
■ Weber's Time to Grill: Get In. Get Out. Get Grilling (Sunset, $24.95) by New York Times best-selling cookbook author Jamie Purviance, a 2010 James Beard Award nominee, is aimed at those who love to grill outdoors but don't have hours to be creative with recipes.
Time to Grill uses a common set of easy-to-find supermarket ingredients, and the "easy" recipes can be prepared in about 15 minutes or less. Most prep times for "adventurous" recipes take about 30 minutes. Purviance has an easy recipe for New York strip steaks topped with a vinaigrette of chopped tomatoes and blue cheese. He then creates a more adventurous counterpart, using tomatoes to marinate the steaks, and blue cheese is featured in a creamy gorgonzola sauce.
■ Myron Mixon, the breakout star of TLC's BBQ Pitmasters and his team, Jack's Old South Competition Bar-B-Que Team, have won more than 180 grand championships, 30 state championships and 11 national championships. They've taken three first-place whole-hog awards at the Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue competition, and they have been crowned the grand champion at the World Championship in Memphis three times.
Mixon shares tips and recipes in Smokin' With Myron Mixon: Recipes Made Simple From the Winningest Man in Barbecue (Ballantine Trade, $22). He also offers tips for the home-barbecue enthusiast to use whether they plan to compete at a contest or just want to impress their friends on Memorial Day. He explains how to choose the right wood, describes perfect ways to cook a variety of meats, and gives formulas for his award-winning marinades, rubs, injections and sauces.
■ Instead of burgers and steaks on the grill, you can learn to make recipes from patagonian asado to Yucatecan barbecue with Miami native Lourdes Castro, author of Latin Grilling (Ten Speed Press, $22). Castro celebrates traditional Latin-American grilling with country-by-country party plans and menus that include beverages, starters, entrees, sides and desserts.
Lourdes outlines tips and notes on ingredients, flavor variations, techniques and entertaining ideas.
■ Australian celebrity chef Peter Evans offers "no-mess and no-stress" recipes in My Grill, Outdoor Cooking Australian Style (Weldon Owen, $30). His definition of barbecuing is: anything cooked outdoors over direct heat.
His recipes include Japanese pancakes with scallops and shiitake mushrooms; crab and sweet corn cakes; and tuna with raisins, pine nuts and radicchio.
■ Sur La Table's latest cookbook, Everyday Grilling (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $15) is full of ideas for grilling the entire meal. Recipes include appetizers (grilled tomatillo salsa), salads and sandwiches (grilled eggplant and mozzarella panini), vegetables (grilled leeks), main dishes (lamb burgers) and desserts (tropical fruit kebabs).