The Ultimate Summer Condiment

There is a condiment unlike any other — a glistening concoction that will transform your burgers from fine to sublime, and that will have your summertime guests kneeling at  your feet in reverence, O’ God of the Barbecue. And I will share it with you, here, now, just in time for the 4th!

Bacon onion marmalade

This is not a condiment for vegetarians or the tentative. I call it bacon onion marmalade. And it is the anecdote to mediocre summer burgers. You may even want to bring a little stash with you when someone invites you to their barbecue. More

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Sensuous Sumiyaki

One of the things I like about Tokyo — and Japan, in general — is you will find different restaurants catering to specific styles of food preparation. Here in America, we have sushi bars and teppanyaki table grills (given a P.T. Barnumesque American twist where chefs flip shrimp into the air, catch eggs in their hats and make rice volcanoes). In Japan, you have ramen joints, tempura bars, shabu shabu houses, unagi (eel) restaurants, skewered chicken innards cafes and countless other establishments catering to a single style of cooking or eating. There are even, unfortunately, restaurants specializing in whale.

Sumiyaki

With our large Japanese population in Los Angeles, more and more of these diverse eateries are appearing. More

A Phoenix from the Flames

Among the world’s barbecue meats, next to regal rib-eyes and blissful racks of pork baby backs, chicken is the ugly red-headed stepchild.

More often than not, as I’m sure you’ve experienced at your share of backyard feasts, chicken is ruined on the grill. Rubbery thighs emerge black and blistered. Breasts languish on blazing grates while the host chats and tends to other things, turning them six or eight times over the course of an hour or so and eventually asking, “Do you think they’re done?” (Is it possible to successfully cook a chicken breast on the barbecue? Yes. Is it likely you will encounter it this summer? No.) More

The American Series, Pt. IV — The Soul of BBQ

50 million grills will be fired across America on the 4th of July. On many of them, the breasts of chickens who gave their lives for the event will be cooked long periods at a high heat into chalky oblivion. Burgers that held such promise will be transforming into rocky discs while their cooks chat with party guests over a beer. But on the best barbecues, magic will be happening. And I want that to be yours.

When I contemplate what to grill for Independence Day, my imagination travels the great barbecues of our country. More

Paella

There are a few things you must know about paella:

• It originates from the region of Valencia in Spain, and traditional versions were made in the field by hunters and contained not seafood but rabbit and snails.

• The pan is called a paella, and the dish is named for the pan. While you can cook a reasonable paella without the pan, it won’t have the same theater (see the video below). Besides, it’ll only set you back around $20 for a 15″ pan from Spain. (www.surlatable.com)

• Paellas were traditionally cooked outdoors over an open fire. This is still the best way to cook paella. Although you can achieve just as good an effect on the barbecue. When our kitchen was being remodeled, I cooked outdoor on the barbecue for two months. We ate a lot of paella. More

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