Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

Planet Barbecue

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...

Read more →

Planet Barbecue

Raichlen’s 10 Best BBQ and Grill Restaurants of 2013

Raichlen’s 10 Best BBQ and Grill Restaurants of 2013

Barbecue’s golden age? That would be when such barbecue legends as Charlie Vergos grilled ribs in Memphis, Arthur Bryant smoked burnt edges in Kansas City, and Big Bob Gibson slathered chicken with white barbecue sauce in Decatur, Alabama. But if you’re waiting for me to complain that barbecue just isn’t what it used to be, guess again. It’s better. A new generation of pit masters, like Tim Rattray in San Antonio or Hugh Mangum in Manhattan, has taken over. Only now, they’re cooking with heritage pork, grass-fed beef, and organic or natural chicken. They respect tradition to a point (consider Aaron Franklin’s textbook brisket). But they’re also broadening our notion...

Read more →

Planet Barbecue

Masters of Smoke—Hometown

Masters of Smoke—Hometown

Steven with Billy Durney in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where he serves brisket that would make a Texan envious and beef ribs that tip the scales at 1-1/4 pounds each! Billy Durney remembers the exact moment he embraced barbecue as the true religion. "I walked into Louie Mueller’s in Taylor, Texas. One bite of brisket and I knew this is who I want to be and this is what to do with my life." So the security expert (and former bodyguard for Oscar-nominated actresses and Grammy-award-winning...

Read more →

Planet Barbecue

The Raichlen Thanksgiving Menu

The Raichlen Thanksgiving Menu

Talk about irony. Ever wondered how turkey, that centerpiece of the American Thanksgiving feast, came to be named for a Muslim country in the Near East? Turkey was, indeed, native to the Americas—hunted in the wild by Massachusetts Indian tribes and domesticated on the Yucatan Peninsula by the Mayans. But when it came to marketing this New World food in Europe, the 17th century explorers and merchants named it for what had been a source of exotic foods and luxury goods for centuries:...

Read more →

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,...

Read more →

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...

Read more →

Planet Barbecue

A Live-Fire Romance with OX Restaurant in Portland

A Live-Fire Romance with OX Restaurant in Portland

As Greg Denton tells it, “we fell in love over the grill. The year was 1999; the place Terra restaurant in Napa Valley. The Vermont-born, Culinary Institute of America-trained chef took one look at one of his co-workers—a statuesque Ecuadorian-American named Gabrielle Quinonez—and vowed to make her his wife. (They're pictured, above.) A decade later, the couple honeymooned in Spain’s Basque country, making the obligatory visits to the touted temples of molecular cuisine. (“Left us...

Read more →

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...

Read more →

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,...

Read more →

Planet Barbecue

Clam Meets Grill

Clam Meets Grill

Grilled oysters are a dime the proverbial dozen this time of year. (Not that I’m complaining.) But it’s not every day that you experience fresh clams hot off the grill. Aaron Oster finds this as frustrating as I do. So on taking charge of the kitchen of what has become my new favorite neighborhood restaurant in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, the chef of the Port Hunter promptly made hickory-grilled clams with preserved lemon and jalapeno one of his signature dishes....

Read more →