It’s a goofy cliche to say outdoor cooking stirs in men some sort of cellular caveman memory about fire and roasting Mastodon shanks or whatever. But given how firmly the obsession has taken hold of me, there may be something there. I grill at least three times a week, from as early in the spring as possible until I have to start scraping ice just to get cooking. People kept telling me I had to get Steven Raichlen’s How To Grill, so to kick off this year’s grilling season, I bought it. Now I know why people rave. It’s not only the best grilling book I’ve seen, but it’s probably one of the best cookbooks in print. Beautifully designed with great recipes, step-by-step photos and useful marginalia. Warning: Raichlen puts butter or oil on everything, even steak. Beyond meat, there are lots of recipes for grilled veggies and even grilled deserts.
[From reading the Amazon reviews it appears that this book has turned many men into chefs. They started out grilling and ended up cooking. -- KK]
The pros use the poke test to gauge the desired degree of doness: A quick poke of the meat with your finger will tell you whether it’s rare, medium, or (heaven forbid) well-done. Use the following guide to help you, but remember: A steak will continue cooking even after it comes of the grill.
“Bizarre” and “outrageous” aren’t necessarily words you expect to find in a cookbook. But how else would you describe roasting a chicken in a vertical position over an open beer can? I first encountered the method at the Memphis in May Barbecue Festival and described it in The Barbecue! Bible. Since then, I’ve prepared beer-can chicken hundreds of times, and each time this astounding technique produces an exquisite bird. The fact is, the upright position helps drain off the fat, and crisp the skin, while the beer in the can steams and flavors the bird from the inside. Needless to say, the sight of a roasted chicken standing erect on an upright can of beer will astound your guests.