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Mastering the Grill: The Owner's Manual for Outdoor Cooking Paperback – April 2, 2007
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About the Author
Andrew Schloss is a well-known teacher, food writer, cookbook author, and food industry consultant. He lives in Pennsylvania.
David Joachim has authored, edited, or collaborated on more than 25 cookbooks. He lives in Pennsylvania.
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This book teaches you the basic science of food selection for grilling, and methodically teaches you about grill types and methods. The charts are clear and concise for such things as teaching you to gauge the temperature of a grill with just your hand. Also, I've never found them elsewhere.
Every page will be full of things most of us haven't learned in a lifetime of grilling, and the illustrations are gorgeous and the recipes we've tried so far are wonderful. Be sure and check out that porterhouse steak au poivre. Lipsmaking good!
The upfront stuff, in some ways, is really important. I sort of bumble along on my gas grill, learning by doing, using recipes that I like, experimenting on different ways of cooking. But I really only know a handful of ideas and techniques (Including some simple maxims as some things need to be cooked on the side without flame; others are to be cooked directly over the flame). The authors assert that there is something unique about this book (Page 10): "In this book, we approach the grill from the perspective of science and mechanics. Our goal is to impart an understanding of what occurs during grilling, so that you can make better-tasting grilled food."
Introductory sections in Chapter 1 discuss the type of grills that can be used (from hibachis to gas grills and so on), how grills work, grill cleaning and maintenance (oops; I learned that I should do a better job cleaning the grill grates), requisite grill tools (I have a bunch, but could probably add some additional items, based on their discussion).
Chapter 2? "Mastering Your Technique." This explores what I always thought of as exotica, mastering the fire, the science of heat transference (conduction, convection, and radiant heat), grilling techniques (e.g., indirect versus direct grilling, and so on), and mastering temperature (judging doneness and making sure that one let's what is grilled "rest" at the end). Resting? Goodness. I take the food right off the grill and on to my family's/guests' plates. Not good! Grilled food (and other typed of cooked foods) should rest a bit, so that you don't get parts that are too dry. I am now trying to be a batter cook and let the meat thus cooked "rest" for 5-10 minutes.
Chapter 3 looks at the different foods that you can grill and a boatload of information about each.
Finally, the piece de resistance! Recipes! There are a lot of these; the text notes about 300 of them. They are divided into sections on burgers and their like; steaks and chops; roasts, ribs, and slow food; major, complex cooking projects; vegetables and side dishes; fruit, dessert, etc.; marinades, glazes, rubs, and the like.
The one downside of a number of recipes is that they take a great deal of upfront work and are complex. I prefer interesting but simpler recipes. However, for those who want to experiment, there are plenty of opportunities to do so with the recipes in this book. A few quick examples of recipes.
Buffalo blue cheese burger: Based on hot Buffalo wings. I'm interested, since I used to enjoy visiting the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, home of the chicken wing! Create a hamburger by mixing together ground chuck, celery seed, onion, garlic, blue cheese in a bowl. Then, separately, melt butter and mix in hot sauce (e.g., Tabasco Sauce). Put the hamburger patties created from the hamburger mix on greased grill grate. Cook. Put burgers in the hot sauce, coat, and eat with knife and fork (although I might be inclined to put the resulting burger in a nice Kaiser roll!).
With steaks, there is a nice looking recipe for Porterhouse au poivre that captured my interest. Or Tandoori chicken with Vidalia chutney (a little more complicated than I'd like, but boy does it sound yummy!), grilled summer vegetables with brown-butter vinaigrette, grilled maple-crusted apple rings. . . .
This is a terrific resource for those who want to go beyond simple grilling without really knowing what you are doing (that's been me!). Some of the recipes are over the top, I think, but these will doubtless appeal to some who are likely to be rewarded for their efforts. Worth a look!
Liked it so much I got both the Kindle and the paper versions.