Sum-sum-summertime is here! Corn on the cob, watermelon, and cooking on the grill all are poised to settle in as the norm over the next couple of months, as time slows down just a little and we all kick off our shoes and bask in the sunny perfection that is Southern California in the summer.
We love cooking on the grill. It keeps the heat outside instead of in the kitchen, and just seems like the proper American thing to do post-Memorial Day. Carne Asada, burgers, dogs, and even pineapple – we love it all. But I’ve been ready to become a little more of a pro when it comes to grilling, so we have fewer over-cooked “oops” moments, and a larger repertoire to pull dinner ideas from.
To that end, I set out to find the perfect grill companion. A book that could tell me what cut to use for which recipe, how best to tenderize, and what the optimum cook time is for anything from chicken to peppers.
I found just what I was looking for in “The Barbeque! Bible” by grilling god Steven Raichlen, winner of the prestigious IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Award. A true example of one-stop shopping, this all-inclusive handbook has everything, short of the food itself, you’ll need to create a successful grilled meal.
With chapters covering cook times, grill types, essential tools, marinades, rubs, and basting, you might think there wouldn’t be room in one book for anything else. However, in addition to the barbeque basics, it also includes more than 500 recipes, and even a section on the perfect cocktails to accompany your chosen meal.
Raichlen is a well-versed traveler, who has scoured the world to learn the techniques behind making authentic grilled foods from many cultures. In addition to imparting to the reader his extensive cooking knowledge, he freely shares his travel experience, making the book a bonus travelogue of sorts as well.
One easy summer recipe I found in the “Bible” was this one for Spicy Thai Beef, which it suggests serving on an Asian-inspired green salad:
1 flank steak (1 ¼ to 1 ½ lbs)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced, peeled fresh ginger
Lightly score the flank steak in a cross-hatch pattern, cutting ¼ inch deep. Mix remainder of ingredients, whisking until sugar dissolves. Place meat in a glass baking dish, pour mixture over flank steak and let marinate, covered for 2-8 hours.
Grill the flank steak until nicely browned on the bottom, 3-5 minutes. If you like, rotate the steak ninety degrees after 1 ½ minutes to create an attractive cross-hatch of grill marks. Turn the steak over and grill the second side the same way.
To serve, thinly slice the flank steak sharply on the diagonal across the grain.
Yum, yum! I wish I hadn’t already thawed chicken for dinner.