Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

World BBQ

The Salsas of Mexico

The Salsas of Mexico

Photo (clockwise from left): Grilled Pineapple Salsa by Ben Fink © from The Barbecue! Bible; Pico de Gallo by jeffreyw; Mango Salsa by Maggie Hoffman Quick: what’s America’s preferred condiment? Ketchup? Mustard? Mayo? No, mis amigos: it’s salsa. Born in pre-Colombian Mexico, this ancient condiment uses every flavor blaster in the New World arsenal—chilies, tomatoes, alliums, citrus, even squash seeds. And if you think salsa comes solely tomato red or tomatillo green, you haven’t experienced melon, papaya, or pineapple salsa. You should. Think of salsa as edible house music: the mellow fruitiness of tomatoes or tomatillos (yes, botanically both are fruits) electrified...

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Planet Barbecue

Sauces, South American-Style

Sauces, South American-Style

“The best sauce in the world is hunger,” observed Cervantes. (La mejor salsa del mundo es la hambre.) I bet the author of Don Quixote never tasted Argentinean chimichurri or molho à companha from Brazil. Argentinians could no more imagine grilled beef without their tangy, garlicky, olive oil- and herb-based chimichurri than Brazilians could dig into traditional churrasco (a belt-loosening array of spit-roasted meats carved off sword-like spits directly onto your dinner plate) without a bowl of onion- and chile-laced molho à companha (country salsa). We North Americans may think we have a monopoly on barbecue sauce. But since the moment our prehistoric...

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Planet Barbecue

A Yankee Grills Bratwurst

A Yankee Grills Bratwurst

Sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures. Some years ago, I found myself at a book signing with a much larger crowd than expected. We had bratwurst -- provided by one of my TV sponsors at the time, Wisconsin-based Johnsonville Sausage, LLC. We had a grill -- that mammoth kettle-on-steroids known as the Weber Ranch (the one so many of you have e-mailed us about). What we did not have was manpower -- trained volunteers able to cook the brats without turning...

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Planet Barbecue

Down the Hatch! Celebrate New Mexico’s Flame-Roasted Chiles

Down the Hatch! Celebrate New Mexico’s Flame-Roasted Chiles

On Saturday and Sunday, August 31 and September 1 -- Labor Day weekend -- 30,000 heat seekers will converge on tiny Hatch, New Mexico, for the 42nd annual Hatch Chile Festival. The town of Hatch, population 1680, is the self-proclaimed “Chile Capital of the World” -- and who are we to argue? A few years ago, I visited New Mexico during chile season, which lasts only a few weeks during August and September. As I noted in BBQ USA, “Every barbecue region...

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Planet Barbecue

Corn Meets Grill

Corn Meets Grill

Travel the world’s barbecue trail and you’ll find a number of constants. Every culture has its version of grilled ground meat, for example, from Middle Eastern kofta to Pakistani chapli kebab to the classic American hamburger. Meat on a stick is another constant, morphing from Peruvian anticuchos to French brochettes to Azeri lula, Indonesian sate, and Turkish shish kebab. Summertime, with its farmers markets and roadside produce stands,...

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Hot Stuff

Turn Up the Heat with Chile Peppers! 15 Hot Facts & Grilling Tips

Turn Up the Heat with Chile Peppers! 15 Hot Facts & Grilling Tips

The iconic movie character Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks) famously observed life “was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” The same is true for any capsicum that’s not the mild-mannered bell pepper. Even a single chile plant can produce fruit of varying potency, from mild to tongue blistering. So eating chiles is akin to Russian roulette. On YouTube we watched in horror as one culinary thrill-seeker, Jamie Kocher, ate a bhut jolokia, more commonly known as the...

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Planet Barbecue

Raichlen Eats Portland

Raichlen Eats Portland

When I attended Reed College (back in the last century), Portland, Oregon wasn’t what you’d call a food town. Our favorite dining spots ran to the likes of the “Heavy Number Taco Company” (housed in a former gas station) and our “serious” restaurants could be counted on the fingers of one hand. How times have changed. Today, this rainy metropolis on the Willamette River has become, perhaps, the most interesting food destination in North...

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Planet Barbecue

8 Must-Try Regional Barbecue Sauces

8 Must-Try Regional Barbecue Sauces

A few years ago, I was discussing barbecue with uber chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry and Per Se fame. “Where I come from,” he said, “the sauce is the barbecue.” Sorry, Chef, but in this barbecue community a lot of folks would beg to differ. For most smoke fanatics, barbecue is the long, slow, smoky cooking of meat in a pit and the sauce is a supporting player. But supporting actors play a major roll, too. (Just watch the Oscars.) As you travel America’s barbecue trail, you’ll find some pretty formidable sauces. This lip-licking...

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Filipino Satti

Filipino Satti

The following guest blog is from our friend Alex Paman, an avid griller and aspiring cookbook author who is currently working on a book on iconic dishes of the Philippines. The above photo is courtesy of his fiance, Aira Baning. Below are three of my own satay tips. The word “satay,” used to describe meats skewered on bamboo sticks, is a regional term that is specific to Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. That term is generally not used in the Philippines,...

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Crash Course

Yam Sessions

Yam Sessions

Travel the world’s barbecue trail and you’ll find lots of grilled sweet potatoes. In Korea, where sliced grilled yams come with a garlicky soy dipping sauce. (Find the recipe on page 421 of Barbecue Bible.) At Barbecue University in Colorado Springs, where we cook them caveman-style—roasted directly in the embers. Normally, when it comes to starchy tubers like sweet potatoes, you set up your grill for indirect grilling. But lately, we’ve...

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