Bobby flay’s green chili burger recently took top honors at the 2013 south beach wine & Food festival Burger Bash.
62 real food summer 2013
recipe from bobby flay’s barbecue addiction by bobby flay with stephanie banyas and sally jackson; Copyright © 2013; published by Clarkson Potter, $35.
Winning Burger photo Courtesy of BBP; book cover and steak photo by Quentin Bacon
nd if there’s smoke involved, all the better. When I ask Flay what draws him repeatedly to grilling and barbecuing, the answer has nothing to do with the stereotypical he-man-bondingwith-primal-flame. “It’s not even the flavors I remember,” he says. “When I was young we’d go to the Jersey shore, and I remember my parents grilling things—hamburgers, hot dogs, every once in a while lobster, corn. What I remember is not even the taste, but the smell—the wood burning, the food cooking. That’s what’s intoxicating.” Combine those two obsessions—a quest for bright, vibrant flavors and an intoxicating dose of smoke—and you have Flay’s newest book. Consider Barbecue Addiction a crash course in some of the world’s best riffs on open-fire cooking. There’s a porterhouse given the Tuscan treatment with garlic and rosemary and a side of grilled Treviso radicchio, as well as jerked wings in a smoky, tamarind-infused glaze and scallops with a North African dose of harissa and tahini. There are recipes drawn from every corner of the United States, from oysters inspired by those served up in the Little Italy of his hometown, New York City, to Texas-style brisket, Carolina pork and Dungeness crab. “What I love is bringing in global inspiration to food,” he says. “I get inspiration in the food of the people wherever I go; you can learn so much through just what’s on their plates. If you find out what people are eating, you’re going to learn about their culture.” Maybe even your very own culture: The Curry-Rubbed Smoked Chicken Thighs might sound Indian, but in fact Flay devised the recipe in homage to the key part Charleston, South Carolina played in the 19th-century spice trade. A glaze of sorghum, the south’s answer to maple syrup, drives home the connection.
Barbecue Addiction is also the first of Flay’s books to give real barbecue—cooking low and slow—so much space. His SlowSmoked Pork Shoulder takes as much as six hours; the Texas-style beef brisket nearly ten. Is it worth it? Does someone as busy as him ever really take an entire day to tend to a brisket? Flay laughs. “As I mature, I’m more apt to do something that will take a lot longer,” he says. He’s also been converted into a big fan of The Big Green Egg (a ceramic cooker modeled on early Asian clay cooking vessels) and La Caja China (essentially a wooden box lined with metal]: “It’s kind of magical: you put in a large chunk of meat, and what comes out is so tender.” Neither requires much fussing. Then again, neither does grilling, Flay says. “Just think of it as a burner on a stove with grates on top.” And forget all the fancy grilling accouterments: “You need a spatula—a metal one,” he says, “and a pair of tongs—not too long; you want to be able to control them. Then you need a grill brush to clean the grill, and some silicone brushes to brush sauces on. That’s it.” As for what to cook, he’s big on fish—it’s the longest protein chapter in the book— but admits he really loves red meat. “A rib eye is my favorite cut—ask any chef and they’ll tell you that—but I also love a skirt steak, and it gets no attention.” He gives this affordable cut the full Flay treatment in his Cuban Skirt Steak (reprinted here), a recipe inspired not by travels to Cuba but just to Miami. “It’s an incredible melting pot of Latin cultures and flavors here,” he says, “and it’s got all the flavors I love to reach for—fruity, acidic, spicy, herbaceous—it hits all my favorite notes.” Just imagine the smell when the marinated meat hits the grill. Even if your neighbors don’t know what’s cooking, they are going to get hungry.