The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke

Mastering the Grill

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Mastering the Grill by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim is the subject of this blog entry. This is probably my second favorite grill cookbook and is the one I would recommend buying after you get some of the recipes from Steven Raichlen’s HOW TO GRILL under your belt. What I like about this cookbook is it states that cooking is both an art and a science. Many cookbooks ignore the science in favor of the art. I like to know the explanations behind how things work. I find it helps me understand what might be going on when things stop working.

I would say this is not necessarily a beginners cookbook. It is more of an intermediate one. That is why I say give How to Grill a try first. What I like about this book is it goes into greater depth on many topics than some of the other books. Most cookbooks have a chapter at the beginning of the book talking about grills and the types of grilling and cuts of meat. This one does too, but this one goes nearly 90 pages before it starts getting into the recipes. It breaks down all the different cuts you might use in great detail. It talks about the different types of heat (convection, conduction & radiation) and how they each cook the food. They cover the different types of grilling which they divide into 8 categories. They get into art and science of temperature control and measuring doneness. The cover the different types of seasonings such as rubs and pastes or what is the difference between a brine or a marinade and when you use each. By the time you get done with the intro chapters you have a thorough introduction to grilling.


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London Broil was the first recipe I tried and it was great

Next come the recipes. They break the recipes down into the following categories:

  • Burgers and Other Quick Meals
  • Steaks, Chops and Other Quick-Cooking Cuts
  • Roasts,Ribs and Other Slow Food
  • The Big Kahuna and Other Incredible Grill Projects-these are items like whole pig roasts. This book certainly covers the full spectrum
  • Vegetables and Other Sides
  • Fruit, Dessert, Dough and Everything Else
  • Marinades, Mops, Brines, Rubs, Wet Pastes, Glazes, Sauces and Dips


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After a few Kabob suggestions from the book I turned out my best kabobs ever

Don’t worry though: Once you’ve reached the recipes the background science isn’t done. There are numerous sidebars that cover the nuances of each recipe: Some do’s and don’ts, what to look for when choosing the meat. these side bars are in small type and as a result the book is full of far more info than it first looks. These tiny sidebars are one of my few criticisms of this book. They are impossible to read without my reading glasses. The first recipe I actually tried from this book was a London Broil. I had shied away from making this in the past, but the authors told you the different cuts that are used and how to deal with each. They mentioned there are some cuts sold for London Broil that just aren’t suitable. Others can be used with a marinade, and of course they supplied the recipe. Lastly were the preferred cuts, which is what I used. The result was an excellent tender meal. When they cover Kebabs, they talk about the problems with grilling kebabs and how to get around them. See Lamb Kebabs. When they give a marinade recipe there is always a chart for the items it is appropriate for, complete with the range of times for the various cuts. This past weekend I made a chili/beer marinade and there was a full page chart with all the statistics on the types of beers with alcohol content , taste, food recommendations.

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One different twist on burgers is to take the toppings and put them in between two patties like these Chili Cheeseburgers

The other interesting thing about this book is the authors sometimes take a somewhat different approach to certain types of foods. The authors mention how a combination of leaner beef grilled to a higher temperature has resulted in bland burgers. There solution to this is two fold. In the first instead of making a 1/3 pound burger (151 g), you make two 1/6 pound (75 g) burgers and make a burger sandwich using a filling that gives both flavor and moisture to the resulting burgers. An example of this is the Chili Cheeseburgers. The second method is to take what would normally be used as a condiment on top of the burger and instead you mix it in with the patties. The Bacon-Parmesan Burgers or the Horseradish, Cheddar & Apple Burgers were from this family of recipes. These burgers are not only moist, they are so tasty you really don’t need to use any other condiments.

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The Bacon Parmesan Burgers take the normal topping ingredients and mix them up with the meat.

It took me a while to get through all of the upfront information and move on to actually making some of the recipes. With the wealth of background information I would have enjoyed this book even if I never made a single recipe from it. So far I have made a dozen recipes out of the book and it has been a pleasure. They have all come out great and all of the necessary information was right at your fingertips. Some cookbooks I feel like there are gaps in the information where you aren’t 100 percent certain of how to proceed. One of the other things I like is the estimated cooking times have pretty much been right on for my gas grill. As I mentioned earlier: Mastering the Grill often uses different approaches than some of my other grilling cookbooks, but I can’t argue with the great results. The first grilling book I usually recommend to people is How to Grill. The second book you should get is Mastering the Grill. Or just save time and gas and buy both. You won’t regret it and you will have years of great grilling ahead of you.

Here are some Picture Page entries from MASTERING THE GRILL

  ANCHO STUFFED TURKEY Poultry Picture Entry
  BACON-PARMESAN BURGERS Burgers Picture Entry
  BEEF & LAMB KEBABS Kebobs Picture Entry
  CAJUN BURGERS Burgers Picture Entry
  CHILI CHEESEBURGERS Burgers Picture Entry
  GRILLED POLENTA Other Picture Entry
  GRILLED POTATO CHIPS Sides Picture Entry
  HORSERADISH BURGERS Burgers Picture Entry
  LONDON BROIL Beef Picture Entry
  MEATLOAF BURGERS Burgers Picture Entry
  STEAKHOUSE BURGERS Burgers Picture Entry
  SMOKE ROASTED PEPPERS Veggies Picture Entry


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