Super Bowl, XLIII

On Sunday, February 1, the current Titans of the NFL—the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers—will clash on a modern-day Mount Olympus (in this case, Tampa Bay, Florida) for the forty-third time.   An astounding 100-million Americans will be glued to the event.   Chances are good some of these people will be watching from your living or family room, collectively rooting for an exciting game, an entertaining half-time show, chuckle-inducing commercials, and above all—great food.

Personally, who wins or loses matters less to me than who eats well: The only Titan I truly care about is Prometheus, who according to Greek mythology, gave man the gift of fire.  And I know he would be disappointed if your Game Day menu consisted of nothing but chips and pretzels—not when there are so many terrific grilling and barbecuing options.

Make Prometheus (and me) proud.

Below are recipes you’ll want to add to your Super Bowl Sunday repertoire.  We’ll assume, like all good winter warriors, you’ve been grilling all year, but if your grill happens to be buried under 12 inches of snow or outside temperatures are low enough to freeze your beer, it’s a good time to pull out Steven’s book, Raichlen’s Indoor Grilling with more than 270 grilling recipes created for indoors. The following recipes work well on indoor contact grills, grill pans, stove-top smokers, rotisseries, or even fireplaces. Kitchen not in line of sight of the 46-inch plasma screen? Now that’s a problem.

May your team win.


1. Position your grill in a wind-protected outside area (wind really reduces your grill’s efficiency) that is well-ventilated. Never grill in a garage, under a porch overhang, or other enclosed area. Not only is the potential for a fire great, but deadly carbon monoxide can build up. Clear any accumulation of snow off the grill.2. If grilling with gas, check all lines and connections for leaks. In cold weather, parts become brittle or cracked. Make sure the control knobs are not frozen and turn freely.

3. Once you’ve started your gas grill or built your fire, preheat the grill for at least 20 minutes.

4. Line charcoal grills with heavy duty aluminum foil, shiny side up, to help retain and reflect heat; poke holes through the foil corresponding to the bottom vents.

5. Have plenty of extra fuel on hand. When charcoal grilling, I like to have a second kettle grill for lighting and holding live coals. Or have extra chimney starters at the ready on a heat-proof surface. (Not on your wooden deck!) Add coals every half hour, or as needed.

6. Heat escapes rapidly each time the grill lid is lifted; resist the urge to “peek.” A digital temperature probe can keep you apprised of what’s going on under the lid. Some charcoal grills come equipped with a built-in thermometer—very useful in the wintertime.

7. Allow extra time. Food will take longer to cook in cold weather—anywhere from 30 to 100 per cent longer.

8. Remember, winter days are short. If lighting around the grill is dim, supplement it with a Clip-On Grill Headlight or food-illuminating Lumatongs. At the very least, have a flashlight on hand.

9. Save the slow-cooked menus for friendlier grilling conditions. Select foods that can be cooked quickly—in 30 minutes or less— over direct heat. Steaks, chops, burgers, chicken breasts, shrimp, fish steaks or filets, kebabs, etc., are all good bets.

10. In my experience, smoking is very difficult to do in cold weather as many smokers are constructed of thin-gauge metal and do not retain heat well. You can smoke in a kettle grill if you maintain temperatures of 250 to 275 degrees by periodically adding fresh coals.

11. Gas grills with double-walled construction are better at holding in heat. Kamodo-type cookers, such as the Big Green Egg are extraordinarily heat-retentive, too.

12. My assistant, Nancy, has winter camping experience, and reports people unthinkingly touch hot surfaces when they themselves are cold. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t touch your hot grill without grilling gloves or other protection.



Method: Indirect grilling
Serves: 4 to 8 as an appetizer 

I encountered these sweet and crusty ribs on Bali—part of a marathon trip to research recipes for my next book, Planet Barbecue, which will be published next year.   I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t love the sweet-soy glaze.  By the way,  if you’re grilling for a crowd, a rib rack will be exceedingly helpful…on Super Bowl Sunday and beyond. 

2 racks of baby back pork ribs (each 2 to 2-1/2 pounds)
1 onion, quartered
2 inches ginger, peeled, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices, and flattened with the side of a cleaver
2 cloves garlic, peeled and flattened with the side of a cleaver
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and flattened with the side of a cleaver

For the glaze:

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large shallot, minced

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

You’ll also need:  1-1/2 cups wood chips or chunks, soaked for 1 hour in water to cover, then drained (optional); a rib rack (optional)

1. Place a rack of ribs meat side down on a work surface. Remove the thin, papery membrane from the back of the rack by inserting a slender implement, such as a butter knife or the tip of a meat thermometer, under it. Using a dishcloth, paper towel, or pliers to gain a secure grip, peel off the membrane. Repeat with remaining rack.

2. Cut the onion, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass into 1/2-inch pieces and puree in a food processor, adding enough water (about 1/4 cup) to make a thick but spreadable paste. Place the ribs on a baking sheet and spread the spice paste over them on both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight.

3. Make the glaze: Place the soy sauce, molasses, sugar, ginger, garlic, shallot, and pepper in a heavy saucepan. Boil over high heat until thick and syrupy, 4 to 6 minutes, stirring often. The sauce can be made several hours ahead of time.

4. Set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. Place a large drip pan in the center of the grill under the grate.

5. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the ribs bone-side down in the center of the grate over the drip pan and away from the heat. (If your grill has limited space, stand the racks of ribs upright in a rib rack.) If cooking on a charcoal grill and wood smoke is desired, toss half the wood chips on each mound of coals. Cover the grill and cook the ribs until tender, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours, applying the glaze halfway through the cooking time. When the ribs are done, they’ll be handsomely browned and the meat will have shrunk back from the ends of the bones about 1/4–inch.

6. Replenish the coals as needed. Reglaze the ribs a few minutes before serving; cook until the sauce is sizzling, 1 to 3 minutes per side.

7. Transfer the ribs to a large platter or cutting board.  Let the ribs rest for a few minutes, then cut the racks into individual ribs. Serve any remaining glaze, warmed, on the side.


I first discovered braciole at a  butcher shop on Boston’s North End when I was the restaurant critic for Boston Magazine.  Though well-known to almost anyone of Italian extraction, braciole (pronounced “bra-zohl”) was a revelation to me.  Think of it as a hoagie wrapped in a steak.    Great served hot or cold.

Source: Adapted from Indoor Grilling by Steven Raichlen (Workman, 2004)
Method: Direct grilling
Serves: 8 to 10 as an appetizer

1-1/2 to 2 pounds very thinly sliced (1/4-inch) round steak (some supermarkets sell meat labeled “braciole”; otherwise, ask your butcher to do this)
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
6 ounces thinly sliced Provolone cheese
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or ham
2 ounces thinly sliced Italian salami
2 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni
1/2 cup Italian pickled hot peppers (optional), drained and finely chopped

You’ll also need: Butcher’s string, cut into 6-inch lengths

1. Cut the meat into rectangles approximately 4 inches by 5 inches.  (Avoid any sinewy spots.) Arrange on the work surface.  Season each piece on both sides with salt, pepper, and oregano.

2. On each piece of meat, arrange the slices of Provolone, prosciutto, salami, pepperoni, and the pickled hot peppers, if using, leaving the top inch of the piece of meat bare. Roll each piece of meat up tightly, starting opposite the bare side, and secure each meat roll by tying crosswise with two pieces of butcher’s string.  (Trim any loose ends of string.)  The braciole can be prepared to this stage several hours ahead and refrigerated, covered.

3.When ready to cook, set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to medium-high. Brush and oil the grill grate.

4. Cook the braciole until crusty and brown on the outside and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.   Transfer to a cutting board and let rest a few minutes.  Remove and discard the strings.  Serve the braciole whole, or (best) cut each crosswise on a sharp diagonal into 1/2–inch thick slices.  Arrange attractively on a platter.

Yours in righteous grilling,
Steven Raichlen, Grill Master and Editor-in-Chief
Nancy Loseke, Features Editor

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