Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

Recipes & Techniques

The Year of the Brisket

The Year of the Brisket

When I started in this business, barbecue mythology held that it took decades to master how to smoke a brisket properly, transforming this tough ornery muscle from the chest of the steer into meat so juicy it oozes when you press it and so tender you can cut it with the side of a fork. Today, some of America’s foremost brisket masters are still in their twenties (so much for decades of experience), and no, they did not grow up as scions of generations-old barbecue dynasties. Billy Durney of Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook, Brooklyn, for example, ran a bodyguard agency before he became a pit master. Austin’s legendary Aaron...

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Barbecue University

Boston Butt Basics

Boston Butt Basics

Sorry, Stephen Hawking, but “the discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star.” So wrote a French food philosopher named Brillat-Savarin in 1825 (yeah, the same Brillat who gave his name to the obscenely rich French cheese and a rum-soaked cake for dessert). I don’t know what dish the Frenchman had in mind, but for me it would have been pork butt. Sure, pork chops, ribs, tenderloin—even trotters and snouts—have added much to human happiness. But when it comes to sheer barbecue bliss, I snap my fat-slicked fingers for pork butt....

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Barbecue University

The Secrets to the Best Thanksgiving Turkey Ever

The Secrets to the Best Thanksgiving Turkey Ever

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Especially when it comes to turkey. In our collective quest to find an antidote to the dry birds of Thanksgivings past, most of us have tried—at least once—a number of unconventional cooking techniques. Draping butter-soaked cheesecloth over the breast, for example. Or awkwardly flipping the bird from back to front and front to back as if it were a restless sleeper in the oven. Roasting the turkey in a buttered paper grocery bag....

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Barbecue University

Beer Can Turkey for Thanksgiving

Beer Can Turkey for Thanksgiving

You wouldn’t, would you—not with America’s most revered culinary emblem—Thanksgiving turkey? In this age of culinary iconoclasm, shouldn’t a few classics remain sacred? So don’t let a man with a can even get near a fowl so profoundly American, Benjamin Franklin wanted to make it our national bird. Well, recent times have broadened our definition of icons—and turkey. The latter has been ground into burgers, stuffed into hot dog and sausage...

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Barbecue University

The Raichlen Barbecue Playlist

The Raichlen Barbecue Playlist

Grilling on Martha's Vineyard with Tony Garnier I’ve never met Bob Dylan. But I’ve sure seen him in concert a lot and I’m always playing his music. So when I met his bass player, Tony Garnier, on Martha’s Vineyard, one year, and discovered that he’s nearly as grill obsessed as I am, I immediately invited him over for a barbecue. The guy can play, and man, does he make a mean gumbo. Over the years, I’ve met Frank Zappa (just off recording Absolutely Free) and Rod Stewart (way back when he was the singer for the Jeff Beck Group—remember them?). I never met Jim...

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Barbecue University

Pizza Hits the Grill

Pizza Hits the Grill

If barbecue traded on the stock market, I’d buy futures in grilled pizza. Flame-seared pies now turn up at innovative restaurants across North America—and around the world. Grill manufacturers sell a broad array of pizza accessories, from pizza stones to peels to cutters. The Companion Group—manufacturers of my Best of Barbecue and Planet Barbecue lines—recently created a new division called Pizzacraft, devote to the art of pizza on the grill. Wood-burning ovens are no longer the province solely...

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Planet Barbecue

An Oyster Roast on Samish Bay

An Oyster Roast on Samish Bay

The drive on Chuckanut Drive from Edison, Washington, to Bellingham takes you along some of the most stunning coastline on the West Coast. To your right, cool spruce forests. To your left Samish Bay, with jaw-dropping views of the San Juan Islands, the smokestacks of Anacortes, and the snowcapped Olympic Mountains behind them. It also takes you to Taylor Shellfish Farms—a fifth-generation oyster farm founded in 1890, where buttery kumamotos, briny shigokus,...

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Barbecue University

Ode to Apples

Ode to Apples

October is National Apple Month—not the mention, prime picking and eating time for some of America’s best apples. What better occasion to celebrate the contributions this storied fruit has made to American barbecue? Apples possess a natural affinity for pork, which probably gained the fruit admission to the barbecue world in the first place. But don’t stop there. Apple juice, apple sauce, and cider vinegar are essential ingredients in regional American barbecue...

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Barbecue University

Barbecue for Breakfast

Barbecue for Breakfast

It's 6 a.m., Chappaquiddick Island, Martha's Vineyard. My favorite time of day. The sun has just risen, spilling golden flames over the horizon. The wind rustles the treetops, and in the distance I can hear the surf hit the shore at Norton's Point. My family is asleep. The phones are mercifully silent. It feels like I’m the only person awake on the island. So I do what any barbecue-obsessed male would do at six in the morning. I fire up my grill....

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Barbecue University

7 Great Ways to Barbecue & Grill with Beer

7 Great Ways to Barbecue & Grill with Beer

A barbecue without beer is like, well, a pit without smoke or a grill without fire. And the beer’s not just for drinking – it’s a lifeblood of live-fire cooking. So, pop open a cold one, fire up your grill, and try one of these flame-tested techniques featuring brew. What are the possibilities? Let me count the ways: As a soaking medium for wood chips. Slows the combustion rate of the wood so it smolders and smokes, not burns. Gives you a hint of beer flavor in...

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