Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

Gear

Buying a Grill or Smoker? 8 Questions to Ask Yourself

Buying a Grill or Smoker? 8 Questions to Ask Yourself

May is National Barbecue Month, a perfect time to establish your barbecue bona fides. Will this be the year you master the porterhouse? Make your own home-cured bacon or pastrami? Nail a competition-quality brisket? It’s also the time of year to cast a critical eye on your grilling hardware. For some people, that means refurbishing grills that grew sclerotic over the winter. For others—and here I raise my hand—National Barbecue Month gives you license to shop for a new grill or smoker. “Which grill should I buy?”...

Read more →

The Ins and Outs of Injecting

The Ins and Outs of Injecting

Afraid of needles? Don’t let that deter you from enjoying the benefits of injecting. As many barbecue pros know, injecting is the most efficient way to add flavor and moisture to smoked, barbecued, or grilled food. Think of injecting as marinating from the inside out. Let me explain. Rubs, spice pastes, and glazes sit on the meat’s surface. Marinades penetrate only a few millimeters into the meat. Brining and curing solutions do reach the center,...

Read more →

What Is It? Marinade Turbocharger

What Is It? Marinade Turbocharger

Genghis Khan’s warriors rode with raw meat under their saddles to tenderize their steaks. You have a better option. You can use an acid-based marinade, for example. Or sever meat fibers by mechanical means using a sharp-needled tenderizer (sometimes called a Jaccard). The Best of Barbecue Marinade Turbocharger combines both techniques. Its 48 spring-loaded razor-sharp needles deeply penetrate the meat, cutting through tough muscle while creating channels...

Read more →

What Is It? Grid Lifter

What Is It? Grid Lifter

You know the scenario. Your grill is burning along, but at some point you’ll need to lift the grate to add fresh charcoal or soaked wood chips for smoking. Not only is it screaming hot—it’s also unwieldy—especially if it’s one of the handle-less grates commonly found on ceramic kamado cookers. Enter the grid lifter, a.k.a. grate grabber, which lifts the grill grate without putting your hands at risk. Depress the handle to lower the lift...

Read more →

A Guide to Vertical Gas/Propane Smokers

A Guide to Vertical Gas/Propane Smokers

A long night spent tending the fires might make you question your decision (not to mention your sanity) to go old-school—it sure seemed a good idea when you bought that wood- or charcoal-burning offset barrel smoker. Hey, what’s so wrong with the “set it and forget it” philosophy, you wonder as you grope to silence your 2 a.m. alarm? If you desire a less demanding mistress (or a good night’s sleep) and have a couple hundred dollars to spend, consider a propane-fueled vertical...

Read more →

New Kid on the Block: Pellet Grills

New Kid on the Block: Pellet Grills

“It’s easy—maybe a little too easy,” I told the crowd of Barbecue University students gathered around the first wood pellet grill many had seen. People nodded—we had an understanding, right? Smoking and barbecuing are supposed to be hard work. If not chopping wood, then at least breathing in charcoal dust and smoke and laboring to maintain a steady temperature during a barbecue session that could last the better part of a day. Or night. Certainly no self-respecting pit master would subscribe to a “set...

Read more →

9 Silicone Uses for Barbecuers and Grillers

9 Silicone Uses for Barbecuers and Grillers

This blog post is brought to you with support from our sponsor. I am reassured all’s right with the world—the barbecue world, anyway—when I meet pit masters determined to do things the traditional way. To whit, tending pits that have burned for decades and stoking the fires with local hardwoods. And of course, pulling pork when screaming hot out of the smoker with their bare hands. Suggest that such masters might be more comfortable...

Read more →

Try This at Home: Brazilian-Style Rodizio

Let the Turks have their shish kebab and Indonesians their sate. I raise my fork for churrasco (pronounced shoe-HRA-skoo), Brazil’s spit-roasted version of barbecue. So when a young Memphis, Tennessee entrepreneur, Blake Carson, offered to send one of his rodizio grills to Barbecue University, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. Eyes popped and jaws dropped when students realized they could reproduce the Brazilian steakhouse experience in their own backyards. Blake has designed a new...

Read more →

Grills and Smokers We Love: The Pit Barrel Cooker

Grills and Smokers We Love: The Pit Barrel Cooker

At Barbecue University we have a world-class collection of grills, smokers, and wood-burning ovens. Some units, like the monster Kalamazoo tri-fuel grill, cost as much as a new car. So why have our students gathered around what looks like a black metal trashcan? Why has the Pit Barrel Cooker (for that’s the name of the device) become one of the most popular and best-selling grills at Barbecue University? By what mysterious law of thermodynamics can you suspend racks of ribs from the metal rod across the top of the cooker so the rib tips hover 2 inches above...

Read more →

Iron Meets Smoke: Grilling on a Plancha

Iron Meets Smoke: Grilling on a Plancha

The Spanish call it plancha. Argentineans call it champa. I call it one of the best ways to marry the searing and crusting capabilities of a cast iron skillet with the intense heat and smoke flavor produced by your grill. A plancha is a sort of griddle—a thick, flat slab of cast iron you place on your grill for searing small or delicate foods like asparagus stalks, bay scallops, shrimp, fragile fish fillets, chicken livers, and yes, even diced poultry...

Read more →