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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.

GRILLED VEGETABLE PAELLA
VIETNAMESE  BEEF AND RICE NOODLE SALAD
MYSTERY BOX CHALLENGE: TOFU

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.

HANGER STEAK WITH MUSTARD AND CARAMELIZED ONIONS
CAMBODIAN STEAK WITH SALADS AND CONDIMENTS
REVERSE-SEARED PORTERHOUSE STEAKS WITH POBLANO CREMA

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. 

SPICE-RUBBED BABY BACK RIBS WITH CHIPOTLE BOURBON BARBECUE SAUCE
KOREAN GRILLED BEEF SHORT RIBS
MYSTERY BOX CHALLENGE: LAMB RIBS

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.   

NASHVILLE HOT CAULIFLOWER
SMOKED ACORN SQUASH WITH PARMESAN FLAN
GRILLED VEGETABLES TOPPED WITH ROUGETTE BONFIRE GRILLING CHEESE

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.

GRILLED ROCKFISH WITH SHALLOT, FIG AND POMEGRANATE SAUCE
PIT BEEF TRIPLE DECKER WITH TIGER SAUCE
CHARM CITY S’MORES 

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.

PAMPLONA OF PORK 
TEA- SMOKED CHICKEN
MYSTERY BOX CHALLENGE - CHICKEN LIVERS

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.

GRILLED OYSTERS WITH PROSCIUTTO AND PARMIGIANO
GRILLED SHRIMP TACOS 
SICILIAN GRILLED SWORDFISH WITH SALSA VERDE

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.

CHICKEN WING, SHIITAKE, AND BELL PEPPER KEBABS
KING TRUMPET MUSHROOM POPPERS
PAN-ROASTED OYSTER MUSHROOM WITH COCONUT MILK AND MINT
GRILLED BEECH MUSHROOMS WITH SESAME SOY BUTTER

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.

SHRIMP SPIEDINI WITH SALMORIGLIO
PIZZA PUTTANESCA
SALT SLAB CHICKEN WITH PEPPERONCINI VINAIGRETTE

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. 

SMOKED LETTUCE SALAD WITH JAPANESE CURED EGGS
MAPLE-CURED BACON
SMOKED CORNED BEEF WITH CAVEMAN CABBAGE

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
VOLCANO PINEAPPLE
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

313: Raichlen’s Rules:  Desserts 

When I was growing up, dessert at a barbecue was an afterthought. Sliced watermelon or fruit salad. Maybe pie from a local bakery. It never occurred to us to grill dessert—unless it was a marshmallow roasted over a campfire and sandwiched with graham crackers and chocolate to make that camping favorite: s’mores. How times have changed! We now grill pineapples and pound cake. We smoke-roast crumbles and crisps. We smoke apples and even ice cream. Desserts aren’t just served as barbecue: they’ve become the barbecue itself.   

THAI COCONUT BANANAS
SALT SLAB-GRILLED PEARS WITH AMARETTI AND SMOKED WHIPPED CREAM
GRILLED POUND CAKE WITH FRESH BERRY SALSA AND SMOKED WHIPPED CREAM
DESSERT QUESADILLAS
SMOKED ICE CREAM WITH RUM RAISIN SAUCE

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