Where’s Steven?

Perhaps you’ve seen the feature on my blog—a photo with the caption, “Where’s Steven?” It’s a literal question, inviting people to identify my location as I travel the world’s barbecue trail, doing research for my next book, Planet Barbecue. Lately, however, the rhetorical form of the question “Where IS Steven?” may seem more appropriate. Perhaps you’ve even noticed Up in Smoke has been on hiatus the past few months.

Well, first, folks, I apologize for our silence. It’s been very busy (in a good way) here at Steven Raichlen, Inc. over the past few months. Let me bring you up to speed on some of the most exciting new developments…

Barbecue University™
It’s official! Barbecue University™ 2008 will take place at the spectacular Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Known as the “Grand Dame of the Rockies,” the Broadmoor is the longest-running consecutive winner of both the AAA Five-Diamond and the Mobil Travel Guide Five-Star awards. I can’t think of a better place for BBQ U.

The theme for this year’s BBQ U—now in its eighth year—is “The Primal Grill”—based on my new TV show by the same name (more on this below).

The intense, 3-day immersion in fire and smoke will feature all new recipes from around the world’s barbecue trail, not to mention those iconic dishes everyone wants to know how to master. You know what I’m talking about: brisket tender enough to cut with a fork (this year, Texas Hill Country-style with chili rub and beer mop), pork shoulder (smoke-roasted like they do in the Yucatan: in banana leaves), and an eye-popping spit-roasted prime rib studded with garlic, rosemary, and asiago cheese. You’ll learn more than two dozen new recipes in all.

Our collection of grills has grown, too, making BBQ U™ the place to preview the industry’s latest technology and refinements. The newest members of the family include a cool wood-burning Grillery grill, a competition-size Texas smoker, and of course the latest charcoal and gas grills. What hasn’t changed is our commitment to teaching the fundamentals as well as the advanced techniques of live fire cooking. And making sure that every student gets a turn at the grill.

When not grilling, BBQ U students can enjoy the Broadmoor’s three championship golf courses, an award-winning spa, tennis, rock climbing, fly-fishing, swimming, and a host of other activities, not to mention dining at more than 15 different resort restaurants, including the Adam Tihany-designed “Summit.”

The next sessions of BBQ U will take place June 1-4 and June 4-7. For more information, or to reserve a spot for yourself or someone else at Barbecue University™, 2008, contact the Broadmoor directly by calling 800.634.7711

It’s a wrap: The Primal Grill
The other big news is my new TV show—”The Primal Grill”—scheduled to launch on PBS in May, 2008. You might recognize our location—the beautiful Tubac Golf Resort near Tuscan, Arizona—where the movie “Tin Cup,” starring Kevin Costner, was filmed.

So what’s new about the show? Just about everything. All new recipes. Get ready for spit-roasted Aussie ribs, a new Philly “cheese steak” (a whole beef tenderloin stuffed with grilled
chilies, onions, and provolone), prosciutto-grilled trout, and even a smoked raspberry pear crisp.

We have a great new production team headed by Emmy-award-winning producer, Matt Cohen. The show will have a brand new look with new music, energy and excitement. We’ve just started editing—stay tuned.

Other News
Mrs. Raichlen and I recently completed barbecue tours of Spain, France, Morocco, Turkey, Israel, and Romania. By the way, for those of you who wondered, our November 8th blog featured grilled foie gras at the popular Avazi restaurant in Tel Aviv.

Next up are the Cayman Islands and the Mayan Coast in the Yucatan, as the march along the world’s barbecue trail—and the research for Planet Barbecue—continues.

Finally, speaking of books, preparations are under way for the 10th Anniversary edition of The Barbecue Bible. (Hard to believe a decade has passed already!)

Since the publication of the book and the launch of our web site, I’ve been collecting the questions you’ve sent about live fire cooking: for example, how to smoke the ultimate brisket? How to grill the perfect steak? How to cook and serve a whole meal off a single grill? Or how to grill when it’s 10 degrees below zero in Minnesota? Your queries form the core of an exciting new chapter in The Barbecue Bible: “The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Barbecuing and Grilling.” Think of them as a “Barbecue University” level course on the art of live fire cooking.

And because a picture is worth a thousand words, we’re also adding 100 new color photographs to the new edition—shot by award-winning food photographer Ben Fink and covering everything from essential techniques to mouth-watering beauty shots to show you what the finished dishes should look like.

The 10th Anniversary edition is due out in May, 2008—we’ll keep you posted.


Winner: Pumpkin Chicken
Louis Kiss, of Sherman Oaks, C.A.
Halloween is my favorite time of the year and this has become a tradition prior to Trick or Treating. (I do not recommend handing cooked chicken out to Trick or Treaters as it would tend to be quite messy).

During this season Pumpkin Ale is heavily advertised (although it is available year-round at most specialty food stores). Upon reading and trying different recipes in Beer-Can Chicken, I felt confident to experiment like a Mad Scientist.

Since I make monsters for a living (I’m an effects artist) and Pumpkin Ale kindles my love for the Halloween season, I figured it was high time to start a Halloween Feast. So I added this ale and pumpkin pie spice to my favorite way to cook chicken.

The blend of spices complement each other and can be tasted distinctly without being overbearing.

When first hearing of my concoction, guests seem turned away from the thought of combining pumpkin spice with chicken. Upon smelling the chicken grilling they began salivating like were-wolves during a full moon. After tasting it, they all wanted the recipe.

Pumpkin Ale is usually available in bottles so be sure to reserve an empty can to transfer into.

For the Rub:
1 1/2 tablespoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
ground cayenne pepper to taste

For the Chicken:
1 bottle of Pumpkin Ale
1 chicken
2 teaspoons of olive oil (I prefer olive oil since it gives the chicken skin a certain crispness)
2 whole cloves

You will also need:
2 cups of hickory wood chips (hickory uniquely complements the spices) soaked for 1 hour in pumpkin ale, then drained

1. Make the Rub: Place ingredients in bowl and stir.

2. Clean the chicken. Rub olive oil over the chicken then place in the bowl of rub and work into chicken meat as well as the cavity. I like to make a few slices in the chicken so the rub really gets into the meat.

3. I heat my gas grill for indirect grilling and place the drained wood chips in an iron smoking box.

4. Fill an empty beer can 3/4 full with the Pumpkin ale, add remainder of rub not used on the chicken, add the cloves. Don’t add more than 3 cloves since this will overpower the flavors of the spices and smoking. Place the can into the chicken cavity.

5. Once the smoker box is going I place the chicken over the burner that is turned off and wait impatiently for 1 1/2 hours as the smell permeates the air.

6. I like to turn the chicken after 50 minutes to make sure one side doesn’t get charred.

7. Remove the chicken from the grill and let stand for a few minutes. Your guests will be ravenous at this point.

8. I am sure you’ve just started a brand new Halloween tradition and I bet more than likely you will make it more often throughout the year.

Runners Up: In No Particular Order
Grilled Donuts With Chipotle Chocolate Sauce
Carl Harmsen, of Piscataway, NJ
Perhaps only a true foodie would think it’s good by the name, but trust me on this one; make them once for a crowd and they will NEVER let you cook again without serving this tasty and so simple dessert! The crispy, smoky outside with the soft chewy center really wake up with the spicy chocolate sauce. If you make an odd number with more than one per guest but not enough for everyone to have two, be prepared for some creative bargaining to happen around the table.

Natural charcoal fire set up for direct grilling
Hickory chips soaked for one hour and drained
12 plain glazed donuts—the kind with a hole in the middle and no filling

For the Chocolate Sauce
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 Tsp Tabasco® Chipotle Pepper Sauce

1. Combine chocolate chips, sugar, water, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring just to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in Tabasco® Chipotle Pepper Sauce. Serve warm.

2. Set up your grill for direct grilling and toss a handful of hickory chips (not chunks) on the hot coals for immediate smoke.

3. Arrange the donuts over medium to high heat, and allow them to cook 3 to 5 minutes per side.

4. Donuts should become soft and get grill marks but not be burned. When you remove them the sugar glaze will cool, becoming crispy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside.

5. Drizzle the sauce over the donuts and serve immediately with plenty of napkins.

Sizzling Crawfish
Laurie Emerson, of Biloxi, MS
1 lb. crawfish
12 grape leaves
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
1 cup of any hot sauce
1 tablespoon paprika (to put on top of grape leaves)

1. Clean crawfish with salt. Allow to stand in water for 30 minutes. Then pat dry.

2. Clean grape leaves and place 4-5 crawfish on each leaf

3. Spoon chopped tomatoes and chopped scallion on top of crawfish. Top with teaspoon of hot sauce and paprika.

4. Roll up grape leaf and place on hot grill. Remove after browning all sides.

Smokin’ Joe Kapp’s ABS
Joseph Kapelewski, of Richmond, VA
For the Sauce
100 Jalapeño peppers (enough to cover half of your grill). Green, purple, or red stages are all ok (fresh from the garden is ALWAYS best—store-bought peppers can hang around for a long time before they are sold.

2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
6-8 cloves of garlic (regular NOT elephant)
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons of either Tequila or Bourbon (Optional for teetotalers)
6-12 Cayenne peppers (Optional)
3-6 Habanero peppers (Optional)
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons of honey

You’ll Also Need
Bottles and caps (I get glass bottles and plastic screw on caps from a local distributor) or just small canning jars with lids and rings will do.

Wash and remove stems from all peppers.

1. Smoke Jalapeño peppers using your best method (indirect with smoke box or foil pouch on a gas grill, soaked wood (Hickory or mesquite) on charcoal, fire box attached to grill, professional smoker, etc.) The key is low and slow until the peppers turn dark and leathery (avoid Krispy Kritters). Put a pan of ice water under the peppers to minimize the heat—the key is the smoke. Process may take 6 to 8 hours depending upon your smoking method.

2. Into blender add smoked peppers up to about two inches from the top of the blender. Add salt, garlic, lime juice, and tequila or bourbon (just for medicinal purposes) Finish with cayennes and habaneros or top off with some more jalapeños if you want a milder product. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar.

3. Put the top on and run blender on high for 1 minute. Check the consistency. If too thick add some more vinegar. If too thin add some paprika (it can really suck up moisture after 2 to 3 minutes of blending so be careful). The reason for adjusting is the degree of moisture or dryness of the peppers after smoking.

4. Continue blending and checking in one minute intervals until consistency is how you want it ( I like it thick – like an A-1 sauce – others may prefer thinner). Then blend on high for 2 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes and then blend on high again for two minutes.

5. Pour into sauce pan. Add honey. Honey is hard to measure without making a mess. Pour out the equilivant of two globs that should be about two tablespoons.

6. Mix well and heat over medium high until mixture regularly bubbles. Use a funnel to pour into sterilized bottles or small canning jars. Seal them up and let them rest for about a week for optimum flavor. Put in refridgerator after opening.

Used as a condiment on just about anything. Great on hot dogs, chicken, nachos, rice, you name it.

Sweet and Crunchy Grilled Salmon
Brock Hale, of Baltimore, MD
This incredibly simple treatment for salmon creates a show-stopping flavor for a readily available fish. It is a delicious contrast between the sweet and crunchy crust and the meaty texture of the fish. Top it with a store-bought mango salsa for an easy main dish, or use it with the recipe below for an entrée-sized salad.

The flavor when the salmon is paired with the salad is a particularly winning combination.

Grilled Salmon
4 4-6 oz. salmon fillets, skin removed
Cinnamon-Sugar coating mixture (3 parts sugar to 1 part cinnamon, by volume)

1. Preheat grill to medium-high and oil grate.

2. Place salmon fillets directly on the grill, and coat the top liberally with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Close lid and grill for 4 to 6 minutes. Sugar will melt and coating will adhere to the fish.

3. Flip the fillets, taking care not to break them apart. Coat the second side with the cinnamon-sugar, close lid, and grill another 4 to 6 minutes.

4. Remove from grill. Serve as a stand-alone main dish or with the salad recipe below.

Sweet and Spicy Salmon Salad with Sesame-Ginger Vinaigrette
Serves 4

1 recipe grilled salmon (above)

2 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
2 large ripe mangoes, diced
2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 large red onion, diced
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, finely diced (optional)

Sesame-Ginger Vinaigrette Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dark sesame oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar
1 inch grated ginger root (about 4 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend to mix.

2. Divide lettuce between 4 plates and top each with an equal portion of mango, tomato, onion, and jalapeno. Add salmon hot off the grill, and dress salad and fish with the sesame-ginger vinaigrette.

3. Serve with a chilled wine with citrus notes (Montes 2003 Sauvignon Blanc or Kris 2004 Pinot Grigio are good examples) to balance the sweet and spicy flavors of the salad.

Grilled Baja Buttermilk Toast With Yogurt-Fruit Drizzle
Janice Elder, of Charlotte, NC
A riff on French toast, grilling brings an entirely new dimension to this dish. It can be served as a breakfast/brunch dish or even as a very unusual and delectable dessert.

2 cups vanilla flavored yogurt (nonfat or low fat works well)
2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1 mango, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped almonds, lightly toasted
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup buttermilk
8 thick slices brioche, challah, or other soft white bread
1 cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted

1. Clean your grill very well; oil the grill grate and heat it to medium heat.

2. In a mixing bowl blend together the yogurt, pineapple, mango, almonds and allspice. Cover and reserve in refrigerator.

3. Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl. Add the salt, sugar and vanilla, blending well, then add the half-and-half and buttermilk, whisking to combine completely. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish. Working in batches if necessary, place the bread in the dish and let soak, then turn and soak on the opposite side.

4. Grill the soaked bread until golden brown, then turn and repeat on the other side. Serve right off the grill drizzled generously with the fruit-yogurt mixture. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Makes 4 generous servings or 8 small ones.


In honor of the holidays, we’re offering a 10 percent discount on our 10 best-selling accessories for holiday gift-giving at the barbecue store. And we’ve also created some special gift boxes, including sampler kits of Steven’s rubs and barbecue sauces.

Here’s a list of some of Steven’s other favorite holiday gifts for grill lovers:

Rectangular 4 Compartment Basket
Ultimate Grill Cleaning Brush
Stainless Steel Shellfish Rack
Non-Stick Ultimate Rib Rack
Stainless Steel Skewers 3/8″ Wide Set/6
Insulated Food Gloves
Stainless Steel Beer Can Chicken Rack
All Purpose BBQ Rub
Ultimate Square Chimney Starter

Finally, as the New Year approaches, all of us at and Workman Publishing wish you a very happy, healthy, and smokin’ 2008.

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

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