Season 3 Episodes
301: Barbecue Health Food
Here’s a little-known fact about Steven Raichlen. His first James Beard Award-winning book wasn’t about barbecue: it was a book on healthy eating. In this episode we harness the flavor-boosting, fat-melting power of live fire to produce grilled fare that not only tastes good, but is good for you. From the paellas of Spain to the grilled beef salads of Southeast Asia, this show explores barbecue health food.
302: Planet Steak
Steak. Few other words in the English language have such power to make our hearts beat faster and our mouths water than sizzling slabs of beef seared over live fire. In this show we embark on some meaty globe hopping, exploring over-the-top steaks from France, Cambodia, and the American Southwest. Hot fire. Sizzling meat. It’s a carnivore’s dream come true.
303: Best Ribs Ever
Let Texans brag about brisket and Carolinians praise pulled pork shoulder. For the rest of us, the ultimate symbol of barbecue—and test of a grill master’s mettle—is ribs. But just which rack you relish depends on where you fire up your smoker or grill. In the American Midwest, ribs generally mean baby backs or other pork ribs, while in Korea, the bone of choice is the beef short rib. In the eastern Mediterranean, lamb ribs reign supreme. In this show we give you three of the best ribs ever.
304: Killer Barbecue—Hold the Meat
You don’t need a degree in barbecue to know that vegetables have hit the grill big time. Veggies for hardcore carnivores who crave killer accompaniments to their favorite grilled meats. Veggies for health-conscious grillers who want to incorporate more grilled vegetables into their diet. Vegetables for everyone—omnivore, flexivore, vegetarian, vegan—who delights in the smokiness and supernatural sweetness live fire imparts to plant and dairy foods. This show is all about barbecue—hold the meat.
305: Charm City ‘Que
Baltimore may lack the barbecue bona fides of Houston or Kansas City. But the town where I grew up boasts plenty of awesome foods for grilling. Pit beef was born here, and this jaw-stretching sandwich of grilled top round sliced tissue-thin and piled high on a kaiser roll with fiery tiger sauce, remains some of the best barbecue on a bun. In the seafood department you find a sweet white-fleshed fish the rest of the world calls striped bass and we Baltimoreans still know, love, and grill by the name of rockfish. And speaking of Charm City specialties, no meal would be complete without local chocolate top cookies—today reimagined as s’mores. Because sometimes, the food you grew up with remains the food nearest and dearest to your heart.
306: Barbecue on a Budget
A lot of American barbecue began with inexpensive meat cuts, like spareribs, beef shoulder, and pork belly. It took low, slow cooking over smoldering hardwood to make these tough cuts tender and palatable. With the economic insecurities brought on by Covid- 19, we’re all feeling the pinch, and budget grilling has taken on new urgency. Besides, why should Kobe beef and tomahawk steaks get all the love? This is barbecue on a budget.
307: Sustainable Seafood
Pollution. Overfishing. Abusive labor practices. There’s a lot of negative news coming out about the seafood industry lately, and much of it breaks your heart. Today’s show celebrates seafood we can eat because it’s fished in a way that’s humane and environmentally sound. Activists call it sustainable seafood. I call it three great reasons for firing up your grill.
308: Social Distance Tailgating
From its humble origins as a picnic served from the back of a buckboard wagon to today’s high-tech, high-octane outdoor foodie extravaganzas, tailgating continues to enthrall—make that obsess—American sports fans. As for barbecuing, we’ve been doing it since before there was even a United States. The two come together in this show—our annual celebration of tailgating. The socializing may be distant this year—all the more reason to up your game at the grill.
309: Little Italy
When I was growing up, a trip to Baltimore’s Little Italy always meant culinary adventure. Today we celebrate Italian grilling and the food of Little Italys around North America, honoring the Italian reverence for simplicity and fresh seasonal ingredients, and the American passion for big flavors and ingenious grilling techniques. On the menu a North American twist on three Italian grilled classics.
310: Cured and Smoked
In humankind’s long march to food security, two ancient preserving techniques have stood out over the millennia: curing and smoking. The first involves preserving foods with salt, soy sauce, or sodium nitrite—ingredients that add flavor while they inhibit bacterial activity. The second technique involves blasting foods with flavorful clouds of wood smoke. This, too, impedes spoilage, but even more importantly, both techniques build distinctive flavors. Today, we’re pushing the envelope on traditional curing and smoking.
311: The Improbable Grill
Ever since our prehistoric ancestors first put food to fire, cooks have contrived ingenious and not always conventional ways to harness the flames. In this show we explore three unexpected techniques for grilling. The first stands the vertical rotisserie used in Mexico and the Middle East on its head (or at least on its side) to make a Yucatan classic: crusty juicy tacos al pastor. The second involves a piece of equipment you don’t usually find at a barbecue—a roofer’s torch—here, used to brûlée a spectacular pineapple dessert. The third involves a mystery ingredient that virtually no one on the planet has ever grilled. I give you the improbable grill.
TACOS AL PASTOR
MYSTERY BOX CHALLENGE - SUNFLOWER
312: Maryland Crab Feast
This show focuses on my favorite food growing up (and still one of my all-time favorite periods): callinectes sapidus, better known as the Maryland blue crab. Come springtime, Maryland seafood markets and restaurants come alive—literally—with soft shell crabs, eaten shell and all, traditionally deep-fried, here seared over live fire. And no trip to Charm City is complete without crab cakes at Faidley’s at Lexington Market. Which brings us to the summum of the Maryland crab experience: a crab feast known as Maryland steamed crabs. The Project Fire version starts with a blazing wood fire. In this show a native son returns home to grill and eat crab!
SOFT SHELL CRAB SANDWICHES WITH CHARRED LEMON TARTAR SAUCE
SMOKE-GRILLED MARYLAND CRAB CAKES, SRIRACHA COCKTAIL SAUCE
MARYLAND STEAMED CRABS OVER A WOOD FIRE