Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

Fuels

Barbecue University™

A Crash Course on Gas Grills

A Crash Course on Gas Grills

In North America, gas is king. Developed by utility companies, gas grills hit the barbecue scene in the 1950s. Today, almost 70 percent of American families use gas grills. There are two types of gas grill: those that burn natural gas, a fossil fuel based primarily on methane, and those that burn propane, a refined petroleum product comprised of hydrogen and carbon. So why grill with gas? In a word—convenience. The convenience of push-button ignition. The convenience of turn-of-a-dial...

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Barbecue University™

Crash Course on Grilling and Smoking with Wood

Crash Course on Grilling and Smoking with Wood

Here’s the third “class” in our ongoing Barbecue University™ blog series—a crash course on wood. Wood is the original and, to my mind, still the best fuel for grilling, and grill masters from Montevideo to Munich back me up on this. Charcoal and propane or natural gas produce heat, but only wood gives you both heat and flavor. That flavor is, of course, smoke—made up of carbon compounds like guaiacol, also found in roasted coffee, and syringol, the active...

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Barbecue University™

A Crash Course on Charcoal: Types of Charcoal for Grilling

A Crash Course on Charcoal: Types of Charcoal for Grilling

Charcoal represents one of man’s very first technological achievements; it was in use as early as 200,000 B.C. When wood is burned slowly without oxygen it produces charcoal. The charring removes the water and most of the flavor-producing chemical compounds of the wood, leaving a carbon-rich fuel that burns hot, cleanly, and efficiently. Charcoal also produces a more concentrated fire. No wonder the vast majority of the world’s grill masters burn charcoal. But not all charcoals are the same. Here’s a scorecard to help you identify the players....

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How to Cook with Wood

How to Cook with Wood

The wood burning oven at Hartwood. Photo by Gentl & Hyers. For years I’ve heard reports of a remarkable restaurant in Tulum, Mexico—run by American expats—where all the cooking is done over wood fires, and the flavors explode in your mouth like fireworks in a 4th of July sky. Well, now you can experience the restaurant Hartwood and the timeless wisdom of wood fire cooking from founder-chef Eric Werner in a stunning new book called Hartwood, published by our sister publisher Artisan....

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CHARCOAL

CHARCOAL FROM AROUND THE WORLD Travel the world's barbecue trail, and you'll find people utilizing unique fuels to grill. In parts of Asia, for example, you'll see coconut charcoal briquettes or extruded coconut charcoal. Japan produces some of the highest quality of charcoal on the planet from a species of oak called ubame. The charcoal is called Bincho-tan. It burns very clean, and is outrageously expensive. Visit the Chilean countryside, and...

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