Learn to Grill at Barbecue University with Steven Raichlen
Award-winning author Steven Raichlen offers Barbecue University for those hungry for grilling tips.
A panoramic view of Colorado awaits attendees of Steven Raichlen’s Barbecue University.
courtesy Mic Click Photography
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – Barbecuers find their way to the historic Broadmoor Hotel each June for a special event: Steven Raichlen’s Barbecue University.
Raichlen, the award-winning author of The Barbecue! Bible and Barbecue USA, has gained a following who hungrily watch his PBS television programs, buy his DVDs and his grilling gadgets, and then faithfully try his creative recipes.
As one of 50 people making a pilgrimage to Colorado Springs for the intensive three-day grilling event, I was in the company of other backyard barbecuers, chefs and restaurant owners; Olympic gold medalist Peggy Fleming and her husband, vitner Greg Jenkins; an Australian pilot with Emirates Airlines; and an Army food and beverage director.
As each day begins, Steven Raichlen calls for volunteers: “If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do or had trouble with, that’s the dish to volunteer for.” Volunteers prepare for grilling during Raichlen’s talk. Later, outside, they grill, plate the dish and tidy up.
Raichlen demonstrates eight recipes a day while students sit riveted, taking notes on the printed recipes provided.
As Raichlen explains it, barbecue is when food is exposed to fire. The class covers all five methods of fire cooking:
- Direct Grilling: food is cooked 3 to 6 inches above hot embers. Used for steaks and hamburger.
- Indirect: cooking next to, but not directly over, the fire. Best for tough or large cuts of meat so they can thoroughly cook without burning.
- Smoking: a form of slow, indirect grilling, utilizing low heat and wood smoke.
- Spit Roasting: rotisserie grilling with infrared or ceramic heating behind a turning spit. This constant, slow turning bastes both internally and externally, resulting in juicy meat.
- “Cave-Man” style grilling: Raichlen carefully demonstrated his favorite technique, “Heavily season a thick, tender T-bone steak. Lay the steak right on the coals; use natural lump charcoal. Why are we doing this? Because surface charring of meat makes a smoked flavor and crust you can’t get on a conventional grill. Periodically, grab the meat and knock off embers so they won’t stick to the meat, making it cook unevenly. Cook about 3 minutes per side. Turn the meat when you see little pearls of blood form on top.”