Elizabeth Karmel

Steak and Cake: More Than 100 Recipes to Make Any Meal a Smash Hit. (starred review)
By Elizabeth Karmel
May 2019. 272p. Workman, paper, $22.95 (9780761185741). 641.6

Everyone knows how to cook a steak, and the best cakes come from a bakery box, right? Karmel (BBQ&A, 2014) proves these assumptions more than wrong with these 100-plus recipes pairing, you guessed it, steak and cake. Throughout, she shares her expertise and knowledge of the culinary world, whether that means lessons from chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten and David Lebovitz or a deep veined précis., and covers everything from cuts of meat to slick baking techniques. Dieters, step aside: every dish is decadent; every match of meat and sweet, delicious. Try beef tenderloin kebabs and Palooza cake walk, or cumin-rubbed flank steak and Tex-Mex chocolate sheet cake, for starters. She adds even more variety with accompanying variations after the initial duet has been presented, and includes more than a few secrets of the art, such as why steak knives matter and “I don’t think seasoning on the steak adds anything except visual appeal.” Anticipate other forthright opinions and a pretty serious photographic glossary of steaks, each with names, muscle group, flavor intensity, texture, defining characteristics, prep notes, and approximate prices by dollar signs. Includes conversion tables.
— Barbara Jacobs, May 2019
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"I've worked with Elizabeth Karmel on many occasions and when it comes to grilling, I'd pit her technique and hutzpah against anyones!"

/ Rick Bayless /

Award-winning chef and owner of Frontera Grill and Toplobampo, televison host of Rick's Mexico, One Plate at a Time.


"When it comes to BBQ, Elizabeth Karmel is the Queen Bee of Bar-Bee-Que. Nobody does it better!"

/ Al Roker /

Host, NBC’s Today Show


"Finally, the woman who has taught me everything I know about grilling has come out with her own book. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned grillmeister, Taming the Flame is the book for you."

/ Sara Moulton /

host, Food Network’s Sara’s Secrets, and executive chef, Gourmet magazine


"Elizabeth Karmel was born in North Carolina, weaned on pulled pork, and has spice and smoke in her bones. This authoritative, opinionated, and just plain mouth-watering book will tell you everything you need to know about barbecue from someone who’s spent a lifetime walking the walk and talking the talk."

/ Steven Raichlen /

author of How to Grill and BBQ USA and host of Barbecue University on PBS


"Elizabeth Karmel understands grilling as well as anyone in this country – her techniques, both traditional and creative, are infallible, and will be of use to every home cook."

/ Mark Bittman /

author of The Minimalist Cooks at Home & The Minimalists Cooks Dinner


"Having grown up in a barbecue restaurant family, I bond immediately with anyone who has a master’s touch at the grill and barbecue pit. Elizabeth Karmel is the genuine article, understanding (and able to clearly articulate) that delicate interplay between food and fire, flavor and finesse."

/ Rick Bayless /

chef/owner Frontera Grill/ Topolobampo, host of Public Television’s Mexico, One Plate at a Time


"There's no glass ceiling in the world of barbecue. That's the message conveyed by Elizabeth Karmel, the driving force behind Girls at the Grill. Follow her lead; she'll get smoke in your eyes and good food on your plate."

/ John T Edge author of Southern Belly /


"Just when you thought grilling could not get any more straightforward or delicious, Elizabeth Karmel shows you what you were missing: skillful techniques and remarkable flavors. Great grilling starts here!"

/ Chef Charlie Trotter, Chicago /



"Elizabeth Karmel is a breath of fresh air on the barbecue circuit. In Taming the Flame, she gives expert instruction and she tells all the barbecue secrets we boys tend to keep to ourselves."

/  Mike Mills /

Four-time World Champion, and the only three-time World Grand Champion

—Memphis-in-May BBQ competition