Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

Beef

Tender Is the Steak

Tender Is the Steak

It was a two-line email—the kind that makes you sit up and think—because it addressed an issue faced daily by millions of grill masters around Planet Barbecue: “Sometimes we buy cheap beef because we are on a budget,” wrote Diane Q. “These steaks are often tough. We have tried salt, meat tenderizer, and marinades. Could you please tell me the best way to tenderize the steaks?” I immediately thought of my last trip to Southeast Asia, and in particular, to steaks I ate hot off the grill in Siem...

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The World’s Best Hot Dog

The World’s Best Hot Dog

Photo by Rob BaasThis is a true story. My grandfather, Sam Raichlen (known to all by his nickname “Dear”), loved food like a man possessed. The short list of his favorites included Maryland steamed crabs, lox and eggs, gribenes (chicken cracklings), and his mother-in-law’s chocolate roll. (The latter was for him, perhaps, my great grandmother’s chief virtue.) As much as anyone in my family, it was Dear who inspired me to become a food writer. But as my grandfather...

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12 Things You Need to Know About Tri-Tip

12 Things You Need to Know About Tri-Tip

Tri-Tip Dinner Photo by Jim Bob Barnett What grills like steak, but slices like brisket? Offers the beefy flavor of sirloin, but is mercifully forgiving when it comes to grilling time? If you answered tri-tip, you probably come from southern California, and if not, follow us to Santa Maria, where you’ll experience some of the best beef barbecue half the country has never experienced. The year was 1952. The scene of the crime? An old Safeway store, long since razed, in this agricultural town...

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Big Bad Beef Ribs: A Crash Course

Big Bad Beef Ribs: A Crash Course

Have you ever experienced the “brontosaurus” rib at Mighty Quinn's in Manhattan? How about the 8-inch long beef plate ribs at La Barbecue Cuisine Texicana in Austin? Or the pastrami beef ribs elucidated in the amazing five-volume Modernist Cuisine cookbook by Nathan Myhrvold. I hope so—you should. After decades of playing backup to the omnipresent, uber-popular pork baby back and sparerib, the beef rib has finally achieved star status of its own. It’s about time. In the hands of a skilled pit master or mistress, beef ribs have no equal. (Triangulate brisket, tri-tip, and flank steak and you get an...

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Corned Beef Hits the Smoker

Corned Beef Hits the Smoker

It was just last week that we honored Carnival (“bye-bye meat,” literally) with a hot- smoked New Orleans-style gumbo. But there’s a reprieve on the horizon—the Feast of St. Patrick (which falls on Monday, March 17). That means a lot of Americans—Irish or not and Catholic or not—will consume prodigious quantities of whiskey, beer or stout, and corned beef. You can’t get more Irish than corned beef, right? Guess again. Corned beef brisket...

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Not Your Mom’s Meatballs

Not Your Mom’s Meatballs

Italians call them polpetti. The French name is boulettes. For Swedes they’re known as frikadeller, while Mexicans enjoy them as albondigas. Whatever you call them, you know a great meatball when you taste it: ground meat, bread, and seasonings combined into flavorful spheres that are substantial enough to satisfy you but not so dense they give you heartburn. So what makes a great meatball? Well, first there’s the...

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Chili Goes Up in Smoke

Chili Goes Up in Smoke

Chili concocted outside of Texas is usually a weak, apologetic imitation of the real thing. —Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States If you have invited a Texan to your table, do not—I repeat, do not—serve chili. You might have the best of intentions. But trust me: Nothing good will come of it. Texans have very strong, deeply embedded opinions about their “bowl of red.” There are arguments about what should go into it...

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Barbecue University

Prime Rib Meets Grill—The Conclusion

Prime Rib Meets Grill—The Conclusion

So now you know how to shop for a prime rib and how to French it, tie it, and season it. There are at least three ways to cook this hunka-hunka roast on the grill or in the smoker—all of them excellent. Spit-roasting: Spit-roasting is my hands-down favorite method for cooking prime rib. Thanks to the slow gentle rotation, the meat cooks evenly and bastes in its own melting fat. Extra points if you spit-roast on a charcoal grill because you can toss wood chips on the coals, giving the you...

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Prime Rib Meets the Grill—Part Two

Prime Rib Meets the Grill—Part Two

In our last blog, I told you how to shop for my hands-down favorite holiday meat centerpiece—the hulking, glistening, spice-blasted, smoke-scented, crusty-on-the- outside, moist-meaty-rare-on-the-inside, bone-in, carnivorous nirvana known as prime rib. This week, we’ll focus on how to prep and cook a prime rib. It’s easy, but as with so much in life, perfection lies in the details. As always, the action takes place on your grill or in your smoker outdoors. No oven allowed. So put on your...

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Barbecue University

The Ultimate Holiday Centerpiece—Prime Rib

The Ultimate Holiday Centerpiece—Prime Rib

This is it. The big kahuna. The ultimate centerpiece for a holiday dinner. The most majestic (and possibly expensive) piece of meat you will ever cook. The English know it as roast beef. Your butcher sells it as prime rib. I call it one of the best ways I know to create high drama (and possibly a little envy) when you bring this dark, crusty, sizzling, garlic- and rosemary-scented hunk o’ heaven to the table. Despite its power to shock and awe, prime rib is surprisingly easy to cook: It takes only...

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