'cookouts' on Serious Eats

Guide to Grilling: Controlling Flare-ups

It's a disheartening sight, one moment you're grilling perfectly and the next the food is totally consumed in an uncontrolled blaze. Knowing what causes and how to deal with these flare-ups will ensure that precious food will never go up in flames. More

Guide to Grilling: Gauging the Heat

To become a true "Master of the Flames," you'll need to know how to own a fire. Gauging and controlling the temperature is crucial in delivering the just right heat to your food—luckily, one of the easiest way to determine this is always at hand (literally). Just hover your hand above the cooking grate and count the seconds it takes until you're positive your skin will melt off. With the findings, you can determine if the heat is at high, medium, or low, and which foods should be cooked at each. More

Guide to Grilling: Arranging the Coals

One of the great glories of the grill is its versatility to deliver different types of heat, with coal arrangement being a main player in this arena. A little know-how is all that's needed to create the right type of heat to successfully grill just about anything. More

Guide to Grilling: Keeping a Clean Grill

To love grilling is to love your grill. No matter what type of grill you own, with some tender care in the way of basic maintenance, you'll be rewarded with years of grilling bliss. Here are some tips on cleaning the grill grate (and what happens when you don't), whether or not to oil the grate, and what to do with all those charcoal remains. More

Has Anyone Cooked with this Weird Contraption?

I'm a big fan of Brendan Koerner's "The Goods" column in the New York Times Sunday business section. Yesterday he wrote about a newfangled outdoor cooker, the Orion. Here's how he described it: "a cylindrical, stainless steel gadget that resembles something out of the Apollo space program. Powered by charcoal, the Orion envelops meats in waves of hot air, also known as convection currents." According to its inventor, Christian Fitzgerald, "This not only eliminates the need for turning but also preserves juiciness and reduces cooking times. He estimates, for example, that the Orion can cook a 20-pound turkey in two and a half hours, and six racks of baby back ribs in 75 minutes." Here's my question: Does the Orion... More

Being Mario Batali's Sous-Chef Was No Picnic

How could I resist this invitation (right), which gave no hint of what was to come yesterday around lunchtime? Mario Batali serving roast pig, which, from a previous appearance at his house in northern Michigan, I knew I would enjoy immensely. Dave Pasternack from New York City's Esca roasting and grilling octopus, which I knew from co-writing his about-to-come-out cookbook, was just about the most delicious tentacled morsel of food you could eat. And the hospitality of Batali partner Joe Bastianich, who apparently lives large on a few acres of prime real estate in suburban Connecticut. The first mistake I made was emailing Mario to see if he was really leaving Del Posto at 10 in the morning to... More

Being Mario Batali's Sous-Chef Was No Picnic

There were four huge bags of Sullivan Street Bakery ciabatta rolls. They were supposed to have been split at the restaurant before they began their journey to Joe Bastianich's cookout. They were not, and someone had to split those thousand rolls before the guests arrived in an hour. "Dude," Mario said, "you ready to split the rolls?" I believe this was the definition of a rhetorical question. More

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