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Taming the Flame: Secrets For Hot-and-Quick Grilling and Low-and-Slow BBQ
Recipes and Text by Elizabeth Karmel, Photography by Christopher Hirsheimer
Elizabeth Karmel has been taming the flame for nearly 15 years, and last spring she told her secrets! Her cookbook, published by Wiley & Sons, de-mystifies outdoor cooking with clear-cut grilling instructions and authentic barbecue techniques so easy-to-follow that even novice grillers can tame the flame in their grill and ignite the fire in their belly!
The creator of www.GirlsattheGrill.com and the Grill Friends™ line of kitchen and grilling tools designed for outdoor cooking and entertaining, is telling all in a comprehensive guide to outdoor cooking. The book focuses on everyday grilling and includes two very important chapters devoted to Karmel’s love of authentic Southern barbecue. “My goal is to make grilling and barbecue an everyday cooking technique; plain and simple. If you teach people the basics and they have success with them, then they will want to repeat the experience and move on to more complex recipes,” explains Karmel.
That is exactly how Karmel approaches grilling and barbecue. “To get started, all you need to know are the two basic grilling methods, when to use them and The Grilling Trilogy™. These three easy points reduce grilling to its essence and set the foundation for all outdoor cooking. “You can use the Trilogy on any food, and it will taste great. Once you try ‘the trilogy,’ you’ll realize that grilling and barbecue is really about the cooking method, not about the marinades and sauces!” exclaims Karmel.
Karmel’s basic principles of grilling and barbecue include:
- Know the difference between the direct and indirect grilling methods (direct means that there is heat directly under the food; indirect heat means that the burner or charcoal is not lit under the food, the heat comes indirectly from burners or charcoal that surround the food.)
- Follow the rule of thumb: Use Direct Grilling for food that takes less than 20 minutes to cook. Use Indirect Grilling for everything else.
- Now, you are ready for The Grilling Trilogy of Olive oil, Kosher salt and freshly ground Pepper. Brush all surfaces of the food with olive oil. Season with salt. Add pepper if desired.
But let’s not forget barbecue. Elizabeth describes herself as someone who grills for a living and barbecues for fun. “I am a BBQ freak—and that is a good thing as far as I am concerned!” says the North Carolina native. Karmel has been hanging around the barbecue circuit as a judge, cook and team member for more than a decade. She has transcribed these experiences in her cookbook so anyone with a backyard grill can enjoy the flavor of authentic barbecue.
Karmel devoted a chapter in the book to authentic Southern barbecue and has a recipe for everyone’s regional favorites from ribs and brisket to her home state of North Carolina’s pulled pork—and even the world’s best fried catfish from BBQ buddy, Lynn Hewitt of Taylor, Mississippi.
“I think of my rib and barbecue chapters as my personal postcards from the BBQ Trail, written in the form of recipes. I’ve even included a list of my favorite BBQ joints for those game to travel the BBQ Belt. Besides the food, the reason I am so enthralled with barbecue is that it is all about the stories, the camaraderie and a friendly competition for the hands-down, best—strip-down naked—tasting barbecue on the planet…what’s not to love about that?!” laughs Karmel.
That’s not all folks, since Karmel is a born southerner from North Carolina, she includes recipes for tantalizing appetizers—the ones she serves herself (including her famed Tumbled Tomatoes)—and luscious desserts like Zesty Lemon Bars andHer Mother’s Fresh Grated Coconut Cake. Elizabeth feels that outdoor cooking is a lifestyle and it is about making the most wonderful food and the best possible meal for family and friends. She knows that no one makes absolutely everything on the grill—even her! So, on the few occasions when grilling is not the best way to cook a recipe (like cake), or not the only way, she still includes the recipe, but gives the alternative cooking method—just like she does in her own house! “There is nothing like a holiday dinner of grill-roasted prime rib with horseradish cream, creamed spinach and sparkling red potatoes topped off by a piece of fluffy fresh coconut cake…even if you have to use the oven for something other than an over-sized pot holder! And, yes, all these recipes are in the book, says Karmel.
The chapters are organized by food category, i.e., Poultry, Burgers, Pizza Ribs, Lamb, Fruits and Veggies, etc. Each chapter begins with the fundamentals in Grilling 101 which employs grilling technique plus the Grilling Trilogy, and follows with recipes that take the technique one step further. The recipes and instructions are straight-forward and easy to follow. The fun headnotes recount stories that give you a flavor for the dish and the adventure that went along with it! This is one cookbook that you will take to bed with you, although don’t blame us if you stay up past your bedtime!
Taming the Flame is written in a lively, yet informative voice. It’s like having a grill friend in your backyard, holding your hand while you are cooking—albeit a big grill friend since the book is 368 pages. The big book is 8’ x 9” and features a 16-page color insert of Christopher Hirsheimer’s stunning color photography. The chapter openers and text pages of the book are illustrated with Hirsheimer’s signature black and white vignettes as well as a few photographs of the author by Suzi Q.Varin. The fresh straight-forward and inviting look of the book is compliments of award-winning designer, John Lineweaver.
Taming the Flame: Secrets for Hot-and-Quick Grilling and Low-and-Slow BBQ, published by John Wiley & Sons, is available at major bookstores, gourmet kitchen and housewares stores and online at www.BBQPROSHOP.com, www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com among others. For more information, contact Elizabeth Karmel at 312-951-8493 email@example.com .
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