On an ordinary night, it might be enough to just grill a great steak or a fresh fish and a pile of veggies with nothing more then salt and pepper or a drizzle of soya sauce or olive oil (or both). But on the 4th of July you’d better have your game on – fancy or fun, grilling is key. For that kind of grilling, open up Gastro Grilling: Fired-Up Recipes to Grill Great Everyday Meals (Penguin 2014) from Ted Reader. You can use it every day, but pull it out for the summer and have some fun making more sticky, smoky, sweet and salty creations on your grill.
The introduction of Gastro Grilling has more than enough information on charcoal grilling – use gas if you want – but charcoal is all about the fun and skill and Ted Reader will lead you through any tricky parts including using a plank. Next is a thick chapter on Party Starters like Fire Roasted Oysters with Crawfish Bacon BBQ Butter (p. 44) or Plank Grilled Lobster Cakes with Brown Butter Drizzle (p. 59) if you want to go all out – or elegant Grilled Asparagus with Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese (p. 78) that is sprinkled with fresh sage and a drizzle of olive oil in the photo by Mike McColl.
Chances are that someone at your table is going to want beef for the 4th. Ted has plenty of recipes for steaks – Ted has tips on what to buy, the difference between dry and wet aging and how to do it at home. The recipes start with an easy, versatile recipes like adding Smoky Garlic and Herb Oil (p. 170) that has liquid smoke hickory flavor, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and sage. Then he gets more complicated with flavors piled on the steak – like Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Fire-Roasted Red Pepper and Goat’s Cheese (p. 181) or Steak Oscar with Crab Brie Compound Butter and Grill Asparagus (p. 189). Ted also likes to add flavors right into the steak, like Grill-Roasted Whole Beef Tenderloin with Spiced Whiskey Butter Injection (p 182). What might be the best choice, especially if you have a great piece of meat on your hands, is Steaks on a Hot Bed of Coals (p. 196) – the steaks are buried in the coals much like Turks or Greeks would bury a stew. That way the meat, in this case, NY strip loin steaks, get cooked on all sides at the same time.
Gastro Grilling is a start to finish BBQ cookbook – that is, there’s salads, vegetarian and vegetable recipes, fish, drinks and some desserts. It’s the wide variety of recipes that are appeal – from over-the-top to straight up, this is a fine grilling book for good food and good parties.
Happy 4th of July!