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|May 21-27, 2009
• Simple flavors done right
Boulder’s Arugala pursues a 21st-century approach to Italian
by Clay Fong
• The Dessert Diva
A local chef shares her sweet secrets
by Danette Randall
New cookbooks offer how-tos for the sizzling season
by Susan M. Selasky
Sniff the air. Smell those sizzling ribs or burgers? The official peak season for outdoor grilling is almost here.
Although many people grill year-round, Memorial Day signals the start of grilling season. It is the second-most popular holiday, behind July 4th, for Americans to fire up the grill, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA).
Three out of four households own a grill or a smoker. In 2008, more than 16.7 million grills and smokers were shipped — an 18 percent increase since 2003.
And there’s no shortage of new cookbooks devoted to the age-old method of cooking foods over a hot flame. More than a half-dozen new books on grilling came out this spring.
They range from those aimed at beginners needing Grilling 101 lessons and how-to tips to ones geared to average grillers who want to add more spark to their grilling repertoire and hone their skills.
If you already consider yourself an expert griller, there are books for the more adventuresome, including ones with directions for smoking and cooking over a wood fire, and ones with recipes from famed barbecue joints. Peach Pork Butt, anyone? Or perhaps barbecued goat?
But a common theme is that it’s back to the basics of outdoor grilling without a lot of uncommon or expensive ingredients or methods.
How to make the most of your barbecue
With a host of new cookbooks and plenty of magazines offering features on grilling, there’s no excuse not to get outside and get started. It’s time to shine the burger flipper, clean the grill and make sure the propane tank is filled or charcoal is at hand.
To help get you started, here’s more dish from cookbooks, along with helpful tips gleaned from Food & Wine magazine’s annual all-things-grilling issue. It highlights equipment and wine pairings for grilled foods, plus stories about grilling from such places as Argentina and a Portland, Ore., Thai restaurant.
Included are 20 smart tips for everyday grilling, with thoughts and ideas from chefs and grilling experts. And, of course, there are plenty of mouth-watering recipes.
Here are our five favorite tips:
Baste burgers with butter while they are on the grill. That helps the natural sugars caramelize.
Soak vegetables in ice water before grilling to keep them moist and crisp.
Tenderize meat in onion juice or in onions pureed in a food processor with ingredients such as parsley, salt and your favorite spices.
Grill your sauce on a stick. Thread tomatoes, onions, garlic and chiles on a skewer and grill. When the main dish is done, puree the grilled sauce ingredients and season with salt.
Use a citrus squeeze. Superstar chef Emeril Lagasse recommends having lemons, limes and oranges on hand for spritzing over meat, seafood and vegetables.
New this year from the folks at Weber-Stephen Products Co. (makers of Weber grills) is an e-mailed recipe of the week. You can sign up at www.webernation.com.
Jamie Purviance, author of Weber’s Way to Grill: The Step-by-Step Guide to Expert Grilling (Sunset, $24.95), offers these simple steps for grilling ease:
Set up two or three heat zones, with a hot side and a cool side. “This way you are not locked into one heat if things aren’t going right,” says Purviance.
Oil the food, not the grill. The food will be less likely to stick, and you’ll use less oil.
Keep the lid closed. That keeps the grate hotter for searing foods, prevents flare-ups because less air is getting in and traps some of the smoke.
What: Soaked, Slathered & Seasoned: A Complete Guide to Flavoring Food for the Grill by Elizabeth Karmel (Wiley, $19.95).
What’s in it: Karmel, the author of Taming the Flame, writes in this book, “The reason I fell in love with outdoor cooking is that it is the best way to prepare food, bar none.” And her passion shows in this book, which is filled with plenty of recipes, ideas and ways to infuse flavor into grilled foods.
Best aspect: It’s well organized with main chapters based on the book’s catchy title. The “Soaked” chapter dives into flavored liquids in which to submerge foods. “Slathered” is all about what to brush or spoon on when the food is almost cooked. The “Seasoned” section features rubs, spice blends, compound butters, vinaigrettes and even pestos and tapenades.
Recipe to try: Bloodshot Mop made with Spicy Hot V8 Juice. It’s used on brisket, steaks, ribs, beef, pork and chicken. Karmel writes, “Mops are a competition barbecuer’s secret weapon.”
Also worth mentioning:
Cook’s Country Best Grilling Recipes by the editors of America’s Test Kitchen (America’s Test Kitchen, $29.95). More than 100 recipes adapted for the home griller from barbecue joints around the country.
Ready, set, grill
What: Weber’s Way To Grill: The Step-by-Step Guide to Expert Grilling by Jamie Purviance.
What’s in it: More than 160 triple-tested recipes, along with plenty of color photos. Purviance presents his well-honed grilling craft in an easy-to-understand manner, with every detail explained.
Best aspect: The several “Way To’s” on things you should know about grilling steaks or burgers or preparing seafood and shellfish. It even talks about how to grill pizza.
Recipe to try: Soda-Brined Pork Loin with Cherry-Chipotle Glaze.
Also worth mentioning:
Emeril at the Grill: A Cookbook for All Seasons by Emeril Lagasse (HarperStudio, $24.99). Lagasse features grilling tips and recipes that have been kicked up a notch or two for both indoor and outdoor cooking.
What: Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint, by Chris Lilly (Clarkson Potter, $24.99). Lilly is a world-champion pit master and vice president, executive chef and partner of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Alabama. He is married to the great-granddaughter of BBQ legend Big Bob Gibson.
What’s in it: A combination of stories and instructions for cooking foods on an outdoor grill or smoker.
The interesting description of how Bob Gibson started out cooking barbecue back in 1925 is a good read and there are plenty of recipes for the adventuresome who want to master true “Q” learning techniques from Lilly.
Best aspect: Lilly offers plenty of pit master tips and detailed explanations of how to choose wood, seasonings and rubs. There are many color photos, including one of a whole barbecued pig. Not all the recipes take hours to cook; some fit into the quick category.
There are more than a dozen recipes for traditional sauces, glazes and mops, with most being vinegar-based.
Recipe to try: Brined Chicken with White Sauce. The white sauce is a mayonnaise-and-vinegar-based sauce that is tangy and gets a bit of a spicy kick from plenty of ground black and cayenne pepper.
Also worth mentioning:
America’s Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America’s Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses and Restaurants, by Ardie A. Davis and Chef Paul Kirk (Andrews McMeel, $19.99). This is a fun read with background stories on some legendary barbecue joints across the country. It would make a nice gift for barbecue aficionados who want to glean some special barbecue know-how and tips.
Soda-brined pork loin with cherry-chipotle glaze
Serves: 6 / Preparation time: 15 minutes (plus brining time)/ Total time: 2 hours
You will need a foil pan large enough to hold the pork for this recipe.
4 cups Dr Pepper (not diet)
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 boneless center-cut pork loin, 3 to 4 pounds
1 jar (9 ounces) tart cherry preserves
1/2 cup Dr Pepper
1/2 cup water
1 to 2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle in adobo
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Pour the soda into a large glass measure and slowly add the salt (the mixture may foam up quite a bit). Stir until the salt dissolves completely, 1 to 2 minutes. Place a large, disposable plastic bag inside a large bowl and carefully pour the brine into the bag.
Trim excess fat and silver skin from the pork. Submerge the pork in the brine, seal the bag, place in a large bowl and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
In a small bowl, combine the glaze ingredients.
Remove the pork from the bag and discard the brine. Pat dry with paper towels. Lightly coat the pork with the vegetable oil and let stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before grilling. Prepare the grill for direct and indirect cooking over high heat.
Brush the cooking grates clean. Sear the pork over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the surface is well marked but not burned, 8 to 12 minutes, turning once.
Place a large disposable foil pan over indirect high heat and pour the glaze into the pan. Carefully transfer the pork to the pan and turn to coat with the glaze. Grill the pork over indirect high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until barely pink in the center and the internal center temperature reaches 145 degrees to 150 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes, turning in the glaze every 8 to 10 minutes. If the glaze gets too thick or starts to scorch, add a little water or more soda to the pan. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for about 5 minutes. Cut the pork crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve with the remaining pan sauce on the side.
From Weber’s Way To Grill by Jamie Purviance (Sunset, $24.95).
Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
416 calories (22 percent from fat ), 10 grams fat (3 grams sat. fat ), 31 grams carbohydrates, 48 grams protein, 190 mg sodium, 141 mg cholesterol, 28 mg calcium, 0 grams fiber.
(c) 2009, Detroit Free Press. Visit the Freep, the World Wide Web site of the Detroit Free Press, at http://www.freep.com.
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