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Sustainable Grilling with Barton Seaver

May 21, 2013

Maybe you recognize Barton Seaver's name from his first cookbook, For Cod and Country. In his second cookbook, Where There's Smoke, Seaver applies his culinary, environmental, and health philosophies towards one of America's treasured pastimes: Grilling. As chef, scholar, activist, and culinary diplomat for the the American Chef Corp, one might assume that Seaver's approach to grilling would be rather lofty. It's not. Where There's Smoke is rather refreshing in that he places emphasis on grilling foods that aren't primarily beef, pork, or chicken. The focus on fresh, seasonal produce, as well as a good number of seafood recipes makes this book perfect for anyone following this month's Doable Challenge: Healthy Grilling, ? la Mediterranean diet. Seaver took some time to answer a few questions about how to get started grilling, why fall is his favorite time to grill, and gives some tips on how to grill seafood. And of course, shares several of his grilling recipes. Epicurious: You have such fond memories of food cooked on the grill. For people who doesn't have that, how would you suggest they get started? Barton Seaver: Grilling is an easy tradition to start at any age! To get started one only needs a modest investment in equipment and a little bit of outdoor space. While there are many varieties of grills, each with their own virtues to be sure, I prefer the standard Weber kettle grill. Don't be fooled into thinking that you need any fancy gadgets in order to take advantage of cooking over a live fire. Just a good set of tongs and you're set. The key to good grilling is to recognize that you are setting yourself up to cook in a whole new environment. This is actually one of the main purposes of grilling--to get yourself outside. But this takes you away from the choreographed flow of working in your kitchen. You have to plan ahead and think through all of the ingredients that you are likely going to reach for. If you are outside and your olive oil is still in the house, you're in for a bit of exercise. That's why when I grill I use a few go-to ingredients such as salt, olive oil, lemons, and I always have these located by my grill. It is also very useful to have a large tray on which you can arrange all of your ingredients and tools. By thinking through the grilling process while still in the kitchen you can easily gather all of the items that you might need and conveniently carry them to the outdoors area. (Continue reading the Q&A with Barton Seaver--and get his recipes--after the jump.) Don't be afraid to experiment with different types of charcoal, wood chunks or chips, and size of fire. It is only by practice that you can become fluent in reading a fire, so give yourself some different experiences. There are very few hard and fast rules to good grilling and it is harder than you think to...

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