Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

Wham, Bam, Thank You, Ham

Wham, Bam, Thank You, Ham

“If you have a ham in the house, you can face any situation.” So observed Edna Lewis, grand dame of Southern cooking (and spiritual founder of the Southern Foodways Alliance). She wasn’t talking about precious worldly cured hams like Italian prosciutto, Spanish jamón iberíco, or French jambon de Bayonne. No, Ms. Lewis was referring to good old American ham—pink, salty, meaty, moist, and above all, smoky. The kind of ham you’d be proud to put on your table. In America, the cured ham family tree splits...

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Fire It Up for Passover

Fire It Up for Passover

At sundown on April 14, Jews all over the world will celebrate the start of Passover. I’ll be one of them. This eight-day holiday—my favorite in the Jewish calendar—commemorates the escape of the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt and the settling of what would become Israel. It’s a bigger-than-life holiday full of cinematic events: building the pyramids, Pharaoh’s daughters finding baby Moses floating on the Nile, Moses transforming his staff into a serpent, the ten...

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Do Chicken Breasts Deserve Their Bad Rap?

Do Chicken Breasts Deserve Their Bad Rap?

Yeah, I know. As a food writer, I’m supposed to bash chicken breasts. So when it comes to the dark meat versus white debate, almost invariably I bang the drum for dark. Dark meat has more fat, which gives it more flavor and makes it less likely to dry out on the grill. Oh, and it’s a lot more economical that breast meat. Which is why, as you travel the world’s barbecue trail, nine grill masters out of ten prefer dark meat. Call me an iconoclast, but I actually like to grill chicken breasts....

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New Technique: Extreme Grilling on a Shovel

New Technique: Extreme Grilling on a Shovel

Call me Spademan. From the moment I heard about this extreme grilling technique from the Australian outback, I was hooked. It requires only two things: a clean steel shovel and a hot fire, and it’s about to boost your reputation as an out-of-the-box grill master. Beach barbecues, camping trips, and even backyard cookouts are about to get a lot more interesting. Shovel grilling began, so legend goes, with a rancher in the outback who had lamb (no shortage of that in Australia) and a...

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Embrace the Popularity of Lamb

Embrace the Popularity of Lamb

Quick: What’s the world’s most popular grilled/barbecued meat? If you named beef or pork, guess again. On any given evening, probably more fires  around Planet Barbecue are lit to cook lamb (or mutton) than any other animal protein. You could start eating grilled lamb in Mauritania and Morocco and feast your way east through North Africa, southern Europe, the Greek Islands, Turkey, the Middle and Near East, and Central Asia, continuing on to the Indian subcontinent to Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand. ...

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BBQ Joints

6 Questions for Hugh Mangum, Chef-Owner of Might Quinn’s Barbeque

6 Questions for Hugh Mangum, Chef-Owner of Might Quinn’s Barbeque

To hear Hugh Mangum tell it, he never set out to become a Brooklyn brisket mogul, nor did he aspire to serve the biggest, baddest beef rib in Manhattan. No, the musician was happy in a career that most guys would kill for: earning a living as a drummer touring with Jacob Dylan and the Wallflowers. The owner of Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque in the East Village comes by his passion naturally. Although he grew up in Santa Monica, his Houston-born father always kept an assortment of Texas-style barbecue pits fired up...

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In Praise of Pork Chops

In Praise of Pork Chops

Good things come in small packages? Maybe true for jewelry, but certainly not on the grill. If you want to know how good big can be, order the pork tomahawk at Chi Spacca in Los Angeles. I’ve written about this Italian chop house before and I’ll tell you a lot more about it in a future blog. But for the moment, all you really need to know is that to cut the pork tomahawk, Chi Spacca’s chef starts at the top of the backbone and ends at the bottom of the belly, giving you a...

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Under the Hood

Spring Returns—And Not a Minute Too Soon

Spring Returns—And Not a Minute Too Soon

Polar vortexes. Texas hookers. Thunder sleet. If nothing else, this winter added new words to the nation’s weather vocabulary as it spread inconvenience and misery from Bozeman to Boston, from International Falls to Atlanta. But spring officially arrived Thursday, March 20—not a moment too soon. Many of you shoveled the path to your grill and kept smoking and grilling this winter. We salute you. And if you're just now waking your charcoal grill or smoker out of its winter hibernation, here’s what you...

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