Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

Recipes & Techniques

Barbecue University™

Winning Baby Backs for Your Backyard Bash

Winning Baby Backs for Your Backyard Bash

If ribs epitomize barbecue for most Americans, the baby back epitomizes ribs. Cut from high on the hog, just next to the spine, baby backs have tender meat—more so than spareribs—abundant fat, and a convenient shape and size that makes one rack perfect for feeding two people if side dishes are served. (A rack contains 8 ribs at a minimum and 13 at a maximum.) You’ve heard the phrase “fall-off-the-bone tender.” Never, in my opinion, have five words done more harm to the notion of what constitutes good eating. Show me ribs...

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Hot Stuff

How to Smoke a Whole Pig

How to Smoke a Whole Pig

A whole pig is the apex of barbecue. As you climb the ladder of smoking enlightenment, at some point you’ll want to try one. There are too many variables (hog size, smoker design, weather, wood, and so on) to cover in a single recipe, but here are the basic guidelines. The pig: Hogs range in size from 20-pound suckling pigs to 225-pound behemoths. The first time you smoke a hog, I recommend a 50-pounder (that’s gutted weight, by the way, but with the head on). It’s small enough...

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Barbecue University™

Sweet Corn Steps Up to the Plate

Sweet Corn Steps Up to the Plate

A company well-known for canned and frozen vegetables recently announced America’s favorite vegetable is . . . drum roll, please . . . broccoli. Sorry, but I’m not buying it. And not just because they only polled 4,000 people. What I am buying is sweet corn—from roadside stands, the farmers’ market, and when they’re selling fresh local ears, even the supermarket. Just-picked sweet corn is in season in many states right now, making it one of the best things about August and the dog days of summer. Corn has its...

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Barbecue University™

The Cold Grate Method for Grilling Steaks

The Cold Grate Method for Grilling Steaks

If your idea of a perfect steak is crusty on the outside, grilled to a uniform rare to medium-rare, masterfully seasoned with a hint of wood smoke, and tantalizingly juicy when you cut into it, listen up. There’s a new grilling method you’ve probably never heard of. The secret? A cold grate. I was first introduced to this singular technique by David Parrish, the founder of Adrenaline Barbecue Company (aka, ABC) of Concord, North Carolina. David,...

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Planet Barbecue

The Best Grilling Sauce on Planet Barbecue

The Best Grilling Sauce on Planet Barbecue

There must be a thousand restaurants in Tokyo like the Izakaya-Tomotsu near the train station in the Chiyoda-Ku ward: eight stools lined up at an L-shaped counter; and outdoors, two rickety tables with beer crates for chairs. This rough-and-tumble yakitori parlor serves up every imaginable cut of grilled chicken, from the leg, wing, neck, and skin to the liver, gizzard, heart—and a great deal more. All this comes from a closet-size kitchen dominated by a charcoal...

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Barbecue University™

Teach a (Hot) Dog a New Trick

Teach a (Hot) Dog a New Trick

There were no picnics when I was a child. Just what we called wienie roasts—impromptu affairs that required only a quick stop at the market to buy an 8-pack of hot dogs and buns and miscellaneous accoutrements. Once at our favorite riverside park—usually deserted as our outings were almost always on weekdays—we’d gather dry wood so Dad could build a fire in one of several WPA-built stone fireplaces, hard evidence of Roosevelt’s “New Deal.” The hot dogs...

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Hot Stuff

Must-Have Recipes for Grilled or Smoked Prime Rib

Must-Have Recipes for Grilled or Smoked Prime Rib

The English call it roast beef, and for untold generations, a rib roast rotating on a spit in front of a wood fire has represented not just gustatory bliss, but material and spiritual comfort. So essential is roast beef to the British sense of well-being, a special breed of dog was developed in the sixteenth century to turn a treadmill attached to the rotisserie spit. (Before that, the task fell to scullery lads, and later, elaborate clockworks.) Rotisserie Prime Rib with Horseradish Cream is one of...

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Planet Barbecue

Seoul Food: Pork Belly Breaks Out of the Bacon Mold

Seoul Food: Pork Belly Breaks Out of the Bacon Mold

In 2004, the small food, wine, and travel publication I worked for devoted an issue to Korean-style barbecue. Little had been written about this cultural phenomenon, and we were confident our readers would share our excitement. We worked hard for weeks, our research culminating in a soju-soaked food crawl through L.A.’s Koreatown. We were guided to the best markets and barbecue restaurants by a hip young Korean-American named Jonathan Kim. (He went on to found one of the largest Asian food emporiums in the...

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Barbecue University™

Grilling with Cherry Wood and Fresh Cherries

Grilling with Cherry Wood and Fresh Cherries

When it comes to flavor, nothing can beat the aroma of wood smoke. You may be familiar with using hickory, apple or oak wood, but have you tried smoking with cherry wood? Cherry can be used the same way you would other varieties: toss soaked wood chips on the coals of your charcoal grill or add them to the smoker box of your gas grill. I came to appreciate fragrant cherry wood during my sojourn to the Pacific Northwest—Cherry Wood Chips are...

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Planet Barbecue

Escape Winter: Jamaican Jerk Pork

Escape Winter: Jamaican Jerk Pork

Already, this winter seems interminably long. Everyone I know is yearning for a respite from grey skies and single digit temperatures. But an escape to the Caribbean isn’t always in the cards. The next best thing? Recreating the spirit and flavors of the islands at home. No dish is more iconic than Jamaica’s fiery, lip-tingling, explosively flavorful jerk. Like many island cuisines, jerk is wholly dependent on ingredients found right there on Jamaica—primarily,...

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