Hello Reddit! I'm Steven Raichlen, author of The Barbecue! Bible and Planet Barbecue! Do you have any burning barbecue questions or techniques you'd like to master and need some tips on? Want a bucket list of best BBQ places to go to in 2014? Our topic today is "2014 Grilling Resolutions," and you can check out more on that over on http://barbecuebible.com/

UPDATE: Well everyone that was a lot of fun and thank you all for joining me! I can't wait to do another one soon. Until then, I'll do my best to respond to more questions that are posted here. Grill on!

Comments: 163 • Responses: 38  • Date: 

Chereth_Cute_Story15 karma

Sir! I absolutely love your show on PBS. Compared to those other food television "networks" what made you go with PBS, and have you considered going more mainstream? Thank you so much for showing off your incredible skills and knowledge!

stevenraichlen15 karma

Thanks! I guess I've always though of myself more a teacher than a showman, so I felt that PBS was the right place to be. Right now we're working on an on-line video version of Barbecue University. Stay tuned!

Glad_Hander14 karma

Searing over direct heat, then cooking over indirect heat.

I learned it watching you....I LEARNED IT WATCHING YOU!

stevenraichlen6 karma

Yeah. It's a technique that's guaranteed to make you look good!

DanDierdorf14 karma

If you could only use one type of fuel and one style of cooker for a year, what would you choose?

stevenraichlen21 karma

Fuel would be natural lump charcoal with oak chips. Cooker would be a Weber Performer for both smoking and grilling.

flaginplay10 karma

My chicken on a gas grill always, always dries out. It's too pink, and then BAM it's overdone. Tips?

stevenraichlen14 karma

I need to know more to diagnose completely, but here are a couple suggestions.

Sear over direct heat, then indirect grill to cook through (good for a whole or half chicken.)

Brine the bird before grilling.

Spit roast it on the rotisserie. I never had an dry bird off a rotisserie. A couple ideas. (And I'd need to

BavarianStallion9 karma

Hi Steven,

I am a German who got into barbecue about 8 years ago when I joined a bbq-message board. I was intrigued to say the least. I remember very well that every time somebody asked for a book to learn the basics, your books like “The BBQ Bible” or later the German translation of “How to Grill” were (and still are) highly recommended. American barbecue was something really new back then and you helped to get us hooked.

So my questions are:

  • How does it feel to be co-responsible for barbecue to become a more international phenomenon?
  • What do you think about our rather young barbecue-culture across the pond so far?

stevenraichlen14 karma

It feels immensely gratifying to have helped the world discover American barbecue (and to have helped Americans discover world barbecue, like German Schwenkbraten and Spiessbraten). There's almost nothing I'd rather do that travel the world's barbecue.

I've had some excellent American style barbecue in Germany and I love the growing competition scene. But what I'd really like to celebrate is regional European grilled specialties. Germany is one of the world's best kept barbecue secrets, but I also love French eclade de moules, Italian spiedini, Greek souvlaki, Spanish asado, etc.

From the very day I had the idea to travel the world's barbecue trail, I knew I was onto something important. (And I was hooked.)

itoddicus9 karma

Steven, How do you manage to shoot your TV shows when you have been smoking for long hours? You never seem tired, and are always completely clean. Does someone else do all the cooking?

stevenraichlen15 karma

We have a crew of 25, including a full kitchen team that prepares briskets at every stage of the process, so I can effortlessly pull out a cooked one after 10 minutes. My work day starts at 5 a.m. and ends at 11 p.m. If I look rested and clean, I must have one hell of a makeup artist!

SolGarfuncle9 karma

I don't have a question, I just wanted to let you know that the BBQ Bible is a GOAT cookbook and you kick ass.

stevenraichlen3 karma

Thanks! You rock for saying it!

rleveridge8 karma

I just wanted to say hello Mr. BBQ GOD! My husband and I met you a few years ago. You are pretty much his hero! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

stevenraichlen9 karma

To you, too! Happiness, health, and lots of wood smoke.

somedaypilot6 karma

What's your opinion on the trend in competitions to go for "good for one bite" meat? Over-sauced, over-salted, over-sweet, it seems like competitions are less and less reflecting the best barbecue and more reflecting the best one-off sample. Sort of like how the Pepsi challenge worked in part because of the small sample size.

Is there anything that can be done about this while still keeping competitions double-blind?

stevenraichlen9 karma

I have great admiration for the teams that compete on the circuit, but I focus most of my efforts on creating recipes, demonstrating techniques, and finding restaurants where the public at large can enjoy great barbecuing and grilling. Of course the guys who compete elite raise the bar for all of us.

jimtk6 karma

Bonjour Steven,

Quand reviens-tu nous voir a Québec?

stevenraichlen3 karma

Aussi-tot que possible. Je vous adore!

felisrufus6 karma

I wanted to thank you for your books and what you have done for the BBQ community. I routinely give out your Barbecue! Bible as a gift.

What direction is the BBQ world headed in? What are the newest cuts/techniques we're going to see pop up everywhere?

stevenraichlen7 karma

Thanks for your kind words. I see several directions for barbecue and it will be the subject of a future blog on www.barbecuebible.com. One is neo-traditionalism. Guys like Aaron Franklin and Billy Durney turning out textbook Texas-style brisket. Another is emergence of gourmet wood fire grilling (typified at restaurants like Ox and the Imperial in Portland, Oregon. I used to disapprove of sous vide (a molecular cuisine low poaching technique), but one bite of Nathan Myhrvold's pastrami beef ribs or the barbecued rabbit at the Granary in San Antonio has made me a believer. I think we're about to enter barbecue's Golden Age.

Waliano6 karma

Hello Steven. I always wondered how the grill cam is set up. The grill cam is one of my favorite parts of your show.

stevenraichlen14 karma

If I told you, I'd have to kill you. Live another day to grill for your family and friends!

Crafty0ne5 karma

Whats the best small smoker a person can buy? I live in a small apartment in Boston but have a little backyard that I could put one in.

stevenraichlen9 karma

Luhr Jenson for cold smoking. Weber Smoky Mountain for hot smoking (I would get the 22-1/2 inch if you have space for it). Indoors on a cold winter day (not that that stopped me when I lived in Boston), I'd use a Cameroons stovetop smoker cooker.

Gravy-Leg__5 karma

If you had to pick, what are your favorite restaurants for Texas, Carolina, Memphis, and Kansas City styles of BBQ?

stevenraichlen13 karma

Toughie, but here are some I like: Franklin's in Austin Allen & Son in Chapel Hill Rendezvous in Memphis Oklahoma Joe's in KC

Unidan5 karma

Hi Mr. Raichlen,

When I was a cook, we used a big container of liquid smoke for some of our quick-and-dirty barbeque recipes, since we didn't have our own smoker and such.

What's your opinion on liquid smoke usage?

Additionally, how long would you recommend keeping liquid smoke around before it needing to be replaced?

stevenraichlen5 karma

I'm OK w liquid smoke for barbecue sauces. (Turns out it's a natural product made with real wood smoke.) In fact, it's an ingredient in some of my Best of Barbecue sauces. But for meats, I prefer to use smoked salt and smoked paprika.

molrobocop4 karma

How much are you a stickler on bbq vs grilling?

I'll admit that it irks me when the term barbecuing is used interchangeably with the grilling cooking method. High direct heat, versus low, slow, indirect heat.

stevenraichlen8 karma

I'm an East Coast Yankee (at least at heart, although I live in Miami), so I'm very comfortable using the term barbecue to embrace slow smoking, high heat grilling, spit-roasting, caveman grilling, etc. The more I travel and learn, the more I have come to realize that there are a lot of gray areas. No one would argue that Coopers in Llano, Texas, is a barbecue restaurant, and yet they shovel live coals under the meat as in grilling.

Rob_G3 karma

When I was living in Ecuador, one time I ate some barbecued worms from a street vendor. How would you go about preparing worms for the grill?

stevenraichlen7 karma

Got me there, but I guess I'd start with a pretty potent rub. However, I'd love to see photos and more details. Please send them to the Barbecue Board at www.barbecuebible.com. (I'm serious. I've been known to book trips solely to sample a cool grilled dish someone tells me about. Like lomo al trapo in Colombia.

blaspheminCapn3 karma

Steven, thank you for all your hard work - and teaching so many people the 'correct' way to grill.

One question - have you considered a book or program specific to just Smoke and Smoking?

PS - Your Maple wood smoked Turkey Breast is my little daughter's all time favorite dinner. I take no credit, as it's all yours!

stevenraichlen7 karma

My pleasure! Funny you should ask: I just signed a contract for a book on smoking. Nothing better than making a little girl happy is there?!

notmyrealnamethistim3 karma

You are a hero.

The first time saw you cook mussels in pine needles it blew my mind. Simple and awesome. Any reason oysters wouldn't work just as well?

Also do you have a recipe for the kind of sauce they put on grilled oysters in Northern California? Almost like chimi churri.

stevenraichlen3 karma

Thanks! First time I saw mussels grilled on pine needles, it blew my mind too. No reason it would work w oysters, but you might have to augment the heat with a charcoal or wood fire underneath it.

Northern California oyster sauce in my book BBQ USA.

h6man3 karma

How do you set up a Weber Genesis grill for indirect heat - there are 3 heating rods running horizontally (i.e., side to side) and there doesn't seem to be enough space between any two rods to create a cool(er) zone that is protected from flare-ups?

stevenraichlen3 karma

There isn't. Light your front burner and do the indirect grilling over the back two burners. Only problem is you'll have to reach across a wall of flame. Come to think of it, that's the fun part!

bobmooney3 karma

Love your books and PBS shows!

I always use Raichlen's Rub for my ribs, and everyone goes crazy for them.

For Christmas dinner I'm smoking a 13 pound brisket. What should I use for a rub, if any? What temp should I smoke at, and for approximately how long? Any recommendation on what type of wood to use?

Thanks for doing this AMA!

stevenraichlen9 karma

With a compliment like that, I have to answer! Equal parts coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper. 250 degrees for 10 to 12 hours. Hickory, oak, or applewood. Wrap in butcher paper after 8 hours.

phlunkie3 karma

Welcome to reddit and thank you for doing this IAMA. I dvr all your shows to fall back and watch for inspiration.

I was curious about your thoughts on pellet grills. Is this something that we may see you cooking with on a show? (if you have and i have missed it, just means i haven't caught up with the dvr yet)

stevenraichlen6 karma

We have several and BBQ U. I appreciate their reliability for smoking, and our students love them. But I guess I'm more a charcoal, wood, smoke and live fire guy when I cook at home. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward!

Sumoleo3 karma

Hi, tried a few recipes from your books. They are awesome. Thank you ! I'm thinking of buying a smoker which is best a electric. Propane or charcoal. I'm new to this. Did some on my gas grill found it to hard to maintain heat and smoke. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

stevenraichlen6 karma

If I were practical and smart, I'd buy an electric smoker (consistent temperature and predictable cooking times). I'm not. I guess I like the sport of smoking with charcoal.

Minnesota_pirate3 karma

I'm a huge fan, literally (too much BBQ...)

What is your favorite beer & BBQ pairing?

stevenraichlen5 karma

Thanks! If I had a half day, I could go into detail, but one offbeat combo I like is krik limbic (Belgian cherry beer) with salmon grilled or smoked over cherrywood.

Ozzel11383 karma

I just recently got an electric smoker. What is a good beginner recipe that would help me learn the basics?

stevenraichlen3 karma

Smoked salmon. Cure in 2 parts brown sugar and 1 part coarse sea salt for 4 hours. (You can add black pepper, too.) Rinse, dry, and smoke. I like oak or cherry. BTW, just started work on a smoke book and we'll be blogging about smoking A LOT in 2014 on www.barbecuebible.com.

NDBulldog2 karma

Huge fan Steven! I'm grilling a 4 bone Prime Rib Roast for Christmas. I want to add some smoke to it. What type of wood would you recommend? Have a Great Holiday!

stevenraichlen2 karma

Hard to beat oak or hickory. It's all about prime rib in the current blogs on www.barbecuebible.com

Thanks everyone! I REALLY enjoyed chatting with you. Grill on!

BeTuned2 karma

Slowly smoking a venison hind quarter. Thought about brining it if 1- I have a big enough cooler (haven't seen the hid quarter) and 2 - does venison take to brining? Any other suggestions?

stevenraichlen7 karma

To be honest with you, I've never brined venison. Marinated in wine and wrapped in bacon, yes. Burt I see no reason why it shouldn't be completely excellent.

h6man2 karma

Whenever I cook steak, I get great grill marks on the first side, but the other side gets different, more burnt looking marks, and then sometimes the steak curls a bit. How do you get perfect girl marks on the second side, and how do you stop a steak from curling? Many thanks.

stevenraichlen7 karma

Remember, steak needs more time on the first side than the second side (60 - 40 percent time wise). That's because on the second side the steak is already warm. To prevent a New York strip from curling, make a cut in the side. To prevent a flank steak from curling, lightly score a crosshatch pattern on the top and bottom.

Billfromsandiego2 karma

Hi Steven Love your books and videos!

What do you see as the trends in smoking in 2014, new things to smoke, recipes, etc?

stevenraichlen4 karma

I mentioned some above, but here are some more:
first, everyone will learn how to smoke an awesome brisket. smoked duck cold smoking smoked potatoes (it's started already) smoked eggs (that's started already, too) smoked bread and smoked cocktails (the subject of next week's blog on www.barbecuebible.com.

Angel32 karma

I love your show, love your books and love that you grill right in front of the cows! I've been on a BBQ hiatus for the last year (taking care of newborn) but can't wait to get back on the grill. I have actually been going through the barbeque Bible trying to decide what I'm going to try to make for my first time back, thinking of trying the montevidean stuffed beef roll or one of the Lamb chop recipes. I currently grill and smoke on a 22" Weber kettle grill but would like to purchase something that keeps a more consistent temperature. I am looking to keep any purchase within the $200-300 range. What would you recommend? (I would also be willing to take one of yours off your hands if you have one to spare)

stevenraichlen2 karma

Well, I'm pretty big on the Performer (kettle grill w gas ignition to light the charcoal). My son-in-law is an amazing mixologist. I want him to write a book called Fatherhood. What do you think?!

Thegogetter2222 karma

Yo Steven, just want to say I love your show and have your Bible books. You are very entertaining and enjoy hearing about your vagabonding experiences with global food. very cool!

stevenraichlen2 karma


RDB00372 karma

Steven, I'd also like to say thank you. You've shown me alot over the years.

stevenraichlen2 karma

;-) Thanks. You folks enable me to have the coolest job on the planet. Just wait until you see the next book! (Man Made Meals--The Essential Cookbook for Guys.)

azrhei2 karma

Steven - I read one of your books a long time ago, and I remember in it you commented that some of the best 'Q you ever had was cooked in a tire rim somewhere in East Asia. Does that still hold true, or have you since one - upped that experience?

stevenraichlen3 karma

That dish was pretty amazing, and what I loved about it was that it didn't require a $2000 stainless steel gas super grill to make amazing grilled beef. As you can imagine, I've had a LOT of amazing food since then. French eclade--mussels grilled on pine needles was pretty cool. Recipe and photos in Planet Barbecue.

Bad_Motha_Fucka2 karma

Hey Steven, thanks for doing this AMA!

  1. What would you consider to be the best BBQ joint in NY?
  2. What is one thing you always order when you go to a BBQ joint?
  3. Dry rub or sauce for ribs?
  4. Any tips for someone looking to start smoking BBQ at home (particularly brisket)?

stevenraichlen7 karma

As the old saying goes, it's good for me too.

  1. In NYC, I recommend Mighty Quinn.
  2. I always try the brisket (it's the hardest thing to get right).
  3. Dry rub on meat. Sauce on the side.
  4. Would I sound too self serving to recommend picking up a copy of How to Grill or Barbecue Bible?

ok_man2 karma

Hey Steve, hope all is well and smokey. I fell in love with your grilling style after seeing your show more than a year ago. The first thing I ever made from your list of recipes was the spiessbratan. I also got my first rib recipe from you (first timers w/ bourbon mop sauce). You introduced me to a whole world of good grilling techniques early on in my career including charcoal chimneys, lump charcoal, the wonder of coarse salt, and mop sauces. I love and share your interest in trying grilling/ bbq styles from around the world, and I'm currently taking an interest in Churrasco grilling. I can't thank you enough for the wealth of information you have provided to me and others. Now if I can only decide what to grill for the family over the holidays..

stevenraichlen3 karma

Thanks! Grill on!

Untjosh12 karma

Thanks for what you do. It really helped me out when I was getting started, and I've really enjoyed the episodes I've been able to see of your show whether I care to try the food or not. It's always entertaining.

The biggest issue I have when trying to smoke is maintaining an even temperature. Any tips for consistently maintaining a temp?

stevenraichlen3 karma

You could go electric. But for me, manipulating the coals to keep an even heat is the fun part!

bacchusthedrunk2 karma

What, in your opinion, is the best small charcoal pit for one to two people?

stevenraichlen2 karma

Smoky Mountain is good. I'm more a traditionalist than an infrared guy. BTW, next week I'm blogging on my favorite grills and smokers for 2013 on www.barbecuebible.com

Fusorfodder1 karma

What is your favorite premade/commercially available rub and bbq sauce? Thanks for the AMA!

stevenraichlen3 karma

Steven Raichlen's Best of Barbecue All Purpose Barbecue Rub Best of Barbecue Lemon Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce. created them myself!
thanks for asking!