ZOOMER Magazine

Where There’s Smoke

Two champions of the barbecue help you master the grill

- By Vivian Vassos

SO, YOU’ VE BEEN INVITED to a backyard barbecue bash, and here’s the menu: Cocktails Grilled Sangria The starters Ember-Roasted Beet Salad; Hay-Grilled Mussels with Charcoal Butter

The mains Lemon-Rosemary Cauliflowe­r Steaks with Manchego; From-Scratch Baked Beans

The finish Watermelon Steaks This is barbecue food? Steaks, I get that, but Watermelon Steaks? And how does one “grill” Sangria? If you ask grill guru, television host and bestsellin­g cookbook author Steven Raichlen, it’s as easily done as it is said. In his latest book, Project Fire: Cutting-Edge Techniques and Sizzling Recipes, from the Caveman Porterhous­e to Salt Slab Brownie S’Mores, Raichlen spends the first 40-plus pages on “The Seven Steps to Grilling Nirvana.” All the basics are covered, from charcoal versus wood versus gas to the shape, size and type of grill you use, along with Raichlen’s tips and tricks for maximizing flavour and technique, selected from his over 30 books and as many years of playing with fire. It’s almost as if he’s come full circle. Raichlen’s first book? How to Grill.

Funny then, that Mark Bittman’s latest cookbook is entitled How to Grill Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Flame-Cooked Food, an extension of his How to Cook Everything series. He’s a contributi­ng food writer to the New York Times and a TV star in his own right – Bittman’s series Years of Living Dangerousl­y garnered an Emmy award. Yet, you could almost swap these two foodies’ CVs, with one caveat: Raichlen has been the king of the grill since he started out; Bittman has more recently added it to his oeuvre.

Both, however, recognize our changing attitudes toward what we eat. While both feature new and innovative ways of sourcing, shopping for and cooking meat and poultry – yes, you can teach an old hot dog new tricks! – there’s also a generous helping of foods and techniques suited to plant-based-leaning diets, including suggestion­s as to which of these foods grill best. Thai Grilled Kale (Raichlen) will sidle up quite nicely to Whole Fish with Basil-Orange Oil (Bittman) as it would to Sweet Potato-Eggplant Stacks with Lime Ricotta (Bittman) or Dry-Brined Peppered Filets Mignons (Raichlen).

Which brings us back to steak. The classic. The ne plus ultra goldstanda­rd barbecue fare. We may not all agree on the direction of our diets but, for carnivores, there is one thing on which they all agree: they want the secret to grilling the perfect steak.

Luckily for us, both Raichlen and Bittman are happy to share.

So, c’mon, baby, light up the fires. It’s summer. Oh, and by the way, you still get to sip the Sangria – hint, it’s all in the caramelize­d fruit.

 ??  ?? For your chance to win these books plus great barbecue recipes and more, go to www.everything­zoomer .com/best-barbecue.
For your chance to win these books plus great barbecue recipes and more, go to www.everything­zoomer .com/best-barbecue.

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