Secrets of the World’s Best Grilling

A Video and Recipe Master Class with Steven Raichlen


By Steven Raichlen

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“Whenever I need a barbecue recipe, I reach for Steven’s books for inspiration.” —Thomas Keller

“The gladiator of grilling.” —Oprah

“One of America’s grilling masters.” —Emeril Lagasse

Take your grilling to the next level with bold and authentic international recipes from America’s bestselling, award-winning grilling authority, Steven Raichlen. In Secrets of the World's Best Grilling, the man Esquire called “America’s Master Griller” has gathered the most eye-popping, jaw-dropping, most guaranteed-to-wow recipes from his extensive travels around Planet Barbecue. Mouthwatering photographs plus step-by-step slide shows and video bring smoke, spice, and sizzle from faraway places right to your backyard. 


– Instructional videos that have you grilling side-by-side with Steven Raichlen—each chapter begins with a video showing a recipe preparation from start to finish.  – Photo slideshows throughout breaking down the techniques with step-by-step instructions.

– Stunning color photographs. 

Learn how to make a sensational Spiessbraten from the Rhine-Palatine region of Germany. Curried pork kebabs from Cape Town, South Africa. From Buenos Aires, a chimichurri-topped strip steak. Gaucho-Style Beef Ribs straight out of Brazil. Lamb on a Shovel from Australia. Mussels Grilled on Pine Needles from the western coast of France. It’s a travelogue and cookbook all rolled into one.

Millions of grillers have honed their skills with Steven Raichlen as their guide. Now, in his primer on live-fire cooking from around the world, he’s taking it up a notch. Fasten your seatbelts and join him on a rip roaring tour of the world’s barbecue trail. 



The Best Beef Satés in Singapore (video)

Piri-Piri Chicken Wings in the Style of Nando's

Village Hammers: Serbian Bacon-Grilled Prunes

Smoked Egg Pâté

Grilled Eggplant Salad with Jerusalem Flavors

Bell Pepper Salad with Capers and Pine Nuts

The Best Beef Satés in Singapore

Where: Singapore

What: Tiny flame-seared beef kebabs—the cumin, coriander, and turmeric marinade rocks

How: Direct grilling

Satés in Singapore play the same role as hot dogs in New York, a popular, affordable, and democratic street snack enjoyed at all hours of the day and night by rich and poor and everyone in between. So to have your saté named the best in Singapore by The Straits Times (think The New York Times of Southeast Asia) is no small accomplishment, especially if you're an ang moh, foreigner—in this case, an American: my stepson, Jake Klein. These satés were first served at the restaurant Wood, which featured Asia's first, and only, exclusively wood-burning kitchen (wood-burning grill, oven, smoker, and rotisserie). But even if you cook on a gas grill, the robust spicing of these satés will blast through loud and clear. For centuries Singapore and the Strait of Malacca were the epicenter of the Asian spice trade; the legacy lives on in these electrifying satés.

Serves 6 as an appetizer, 4 as a light main course

1½ pounds rib eye steaks (about ½ inch thick)

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

1½ teaspoons ground cumin

1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce or soy sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Singapore Cucumber Relish (optional, recipe follows), for serving

Fried Garlic Peanut Sauce (optional, recipe follows), for serving

You'll also need

8-inch bamboo skewers; an aluminum foil grill shield

Advance preparation

2 to 12 hours for marinating the beef

1. Cut the steaks, including the fat, into ½-inch cubes and place them in a nonreactive mixing bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, coriander, turmeric, cumin, pepper, fish sauce, and oil. Let the beef marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 2 hours; the longer it marinates, the richer the flavor will be.

2. Drain the cubes of beef, discarding the marinade. Thread the beef onto bamboo skewers, leaving the bottom half of each skewer bare for a handle and ¼ inch exposed at the pointed end. The satés can be prepared several hours ahead to this stage. Refrigerate the satés, covered, until ready to grill.

3. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high.

4. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the satés on the hot grate, with the aluminum foil shield under the exposed ends of the skewers to keep them from burning. Grill the satés until cooked to taste, 1 to 2 minutes per side for medium-rare, a little longer for medium. (In general, Southeast Asians prefer their satés medium to medium-well done.) Use the poke test to check for doneness.

5. Serve the satés with Singapore Cucumber Relish and Fried Garlic Peanut Sauce, if desired. The traditional way to eat the satés is to skewer a piece of cucumber on the pointed end of the skewer, then dip the saté in the peanut sauce.

Singapore Cucumber Relish

Variations on this simple relish/salad turn up throughout Southeast Asia. The purpose is to give you a bite of cool, crisp, crunch to counterpoint the spicy hot meat.

Makes 1 to 1½ cups

2 Kirby (pickling) cucumbers, or 1 medium-size cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and seeded (see Note below)

1 shallot, minced (2 to 3 tablespoons), or 1 scallion, both white and green parts, trimmed and minced

1 small hot red chile, such as a bird or cayenne pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the cucumber(s) into ¼-inch dice. Place the cucumber(s), shallot, chile, rice vinegar, and sugar in a mixing bowl and toss gently to mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The relish can be made up to 2 hours ahead.

Note: It is not necessary to seed Kirby cucumbers.

Fried Garlic Peanut Sauce

To most North Americans barbecue sauce is some variation on a combination of ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar, but on any given day on Planet Barbecue probably far more people are dipping grilled meats in peanut sauce. The basic formula starts with deep-fried peanuts or peanut butter and the flavorings typically include garlic and ginger for pungency, sugar for sweetness, and fish sauce or soy sauce for saltiness. The peanut-sauce belt begins in Indonesia (its probable birthplace) and extends through Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia, all the way to Hong Kong. The Singaporean version owes its fragrance to fresh lemongrass and ginger. Dried shrimp are available in Asian and Hispanic markets. Fish sauce isn't a bad substitute, although you can omit it and still wind up with a killer sauce. The addition of fried garlic chips is very characteristic of Southeast Asia.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

5 cloves garlic, 3 cloves thinly sliced crosswise and 2 cloves minced

1 shallot, minced

1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and minced, or 2 strips (each ½ by 2 inches) lemon zest

1 to 3 small hot chiles, such as Thai chiles or serrano or jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced (for a hotter peanut sauce, leave the seeds in)

1 tablespoon dried shrimp, minced, or 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)

¾ cup peanut butter

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, or as needed

2 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste

1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground pepper

1. Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, 2 minutes. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Add the 2 cloves of minced garlic, the shallot, lemongrass, chile(s), and dried shrimp, if using, to the wok and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 minutes.

2. Stir in the peanut butter, coconut milk, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, if using (instead of the dried shrimp), lime juice, and ¾ cup water. Reduce the heat and gently simmer the sauce until it is thick but pourable, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cilantro during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

3. Just before serving, stir in the fried garlic slices. If the sauce has gotten too thick and pasty, add a tablespoon or so of water. Taste and correct the seasoning, adding salt and pepper, and more sugar and lime juice if needed. The sauce should be richly flavored.

Piri-Piri Chicken Wings in the Style of Nando's

Where: South Africa

What: The most popular fast food in South Africa—chicken grilled in a fiery paste of piri-piri chiles

How: Direct grilling or indirect grilling

I don't normally eat at fast food joints—especially not at airports. However, I make an exception whenever I'm in Johannesburg or Cape Town: Nando's. Over three decades, Nando's founders, Fernando ("Nando") Duarte and Robert Brozin, have built traditional African-Portuguese chile-grilled chicken into an empire spanning five continents. The pair uses a two-step process, soaking chicken overnight in their piri-piri marinade, then glazing it with a lemon, herb, and chile sauce as it comes off the grill. So how do you make their piri-piri marinade and basting sauce? As you can imagine, Duarte and Brozin aren't talking. But they did suggest some broad guidelines. The following gets you in the infield, and it definitely gives Buffalo wings a run for their money. Note: Nando's spells this specialty peri-peri; elsewhere on Planet Barbecue it's piri-piri. Take your pick.

Serves 4

For the wings and marinade

½ cup South African peri-peri sauce, Brazilian piri-piri sauce, Tabasco, or other hot sauce or ¼ cup hot sauce plus 3 to 4 fresh piri-piri chiles, cayennes, red serranos, or other hot, fresh red chiles, stemmed and cut in half, and seeded (for hotter wings, leave the seeds in)

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1 small onion, peeled and quartered

1 piece (3 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and cut into ¼-inch slices

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

¼ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons coarse salt (kosher or sea)

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 pounds whole chicken wings (about 12 wings)

For the glaze

4 tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons South African or Brazilian piri-piri sauce, Tabasco hot sauce, or other hot sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Advance preparation

6 to 24 hours for marinating the wings

1. Prepare the marinade and wings: Place the ½ cup of hot sauce or ¼ cup sauce and the chiles, the garlic, onion, ginger, cilantro, oil, ¼ cup of lemon juice, and the salt and pepper in a blender and puree until smooth. Or you can puree the piri-piri chiles, if using, and the garlic, onion, ginger, cilantro, salt, and pepper in a food processor, then work in the hot sauce, if using, and the oil and lemon juice. Transfer the marinade to a large nonreactive bowl or roasting pan.

2. Rinse the chicken wings under cold running water and blot them dry with paper towels. Cut the chicken wings in half, cutting off and discarding the tips. Add the wings to the marinade and stir to coat. Let the wings marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 6 hours, or as long as overnight, stirring them every few hours. The longer the wings marinate, the richer the flavor will be.

3. Make the glaze: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the cilantro and garlic and cook until sizzling and aromatic, about 2 minutes; do not let the garlic brown. Stir in the hot sauce and lemon juice and let the glaze simmer until blended and flavorful, about 2 minutes.

4. To grill: Grilling the chicken wings using the direct method is truer to the way they do it at Nando's but requires a little more care than grilling them using the indirect method. Whichever method you use, drain the wings, discarding the marinade, before grilling.

If you are using the direct method, set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to medium. Leave one section of the grill fire-free for a safety zone. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the chicken wings on the hot grate skin side down and grill them until crisp and golden brown and cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes per side, turning with tongs. Should any flare-ups occur, move the wings to the safety zone.

If you are using the indirect method, set up the grill for indirect grilling, place a drip pan in the center, and preheat the grill to medium. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the chicken wings skin side up in the center of the grate over the drip pan and away from the heat. Cover the grill and grill the wings until they are crisp and golden brown and cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes.

5. To test for doneness, make a small cut in the thickest part of one of the wings; there should be no traces of red or pink at the bone. Transfer the grilled chicken wings to a platter and pour the glaze over them. Toss to mix, then serve at once.


Whole Chicken Piri-Piri: This is the dish that made Nando's famous. Substitute a 3½- to 4-pound chicken for the wings in the Piri-Piri Chicken Wings, spatchcocking the chicken. If you use the direct method, it will take 15 to 20 minutes per side for the chicken to grill. Using the indirect method will take 40 minutes to 1 hour. Spoon the glaze over the bird and serve at once.

Chicken Kebabs Piri-Piri: Another Nando's best-seller is a fiery twist on shish kebab. Start with 1½ pounds of skinless, boneless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1-inch squares. Marinate the chicken in the piri-piri marinade for 3 to 4 hours, then drain it well and skewer it alternating with 1-inch squares of green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and pieces of onion. Grill the kebabs using the direct method until the chicken is browned on the outside and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side, 8 to 12 minutes in all. During the last 3 minutes, start basting the kebabs with the piri-piri glaze. Spoon the remaining glaze over the kebabs before serving.

For Piri-Piri Chicken

1. Puree fiery piri-piri chiles and the other ingredients in a blender to make the marinade.

2. Cut each chicken wing into two sections, discarding the wing tip.

How to a Spatchcock a Chicken

You can't grill a chicken if you don't know how to spatchcock it. Or to be more accurate, you can't grill a whole chicken using the direct method if you haven't mastered spatchcocking. But why bother? Can't you simply cook the chicken by the indirect method or smoke it? Well, if you happen to live in a part of the world where grills do not come with lids, this is the only way to grill a whole chicken. Since this covers about three quarters of Planet Barbecue, the technique is quite indispensible.

The odd term, spatchcock, which is thought to come from the word dispatch, as in the sense of "quick," as in quick to cook, refers to the process whereby you cut out the chicken's backbone and open the bird flat like a book. Here's how you do it.

1. Turn the chicken breast side down. Using poultry shears or a sharp knife and starting at the neck end, make two lengthwise cuts along the backbone, one on each side, from the neck to the tail.

2. Cut out and discard the backbone, or save it for stock.

3. Open the chicken up like a book. Run the tip of a paring knife along the breastbone and cartilage below the breastbone.

4. Run your thumbs along both sides of the breastbone and white cartilage, then pull them out.

5. Using a paring knife, cut a 1-inch slit in the skin between each leg and the back end of the breast.

6. Insert the end of each drumstick through one of these holes.

7. Pull the drumstick through the hole and lay the chicken flat.

8. If desired, cut off the wing tips. The spatchcocked chicken is now ready for grilling.

Village Hammers: Serbian Bacon-Grilled Prunes


Where: Serbia

What: Prunes stuffed with piquant cheese, wrapped with smoky bacon, and grilled—it's hard to imagine easier, tastier finger food anywhere.

How: Direct grilling

If you've ever had an image of what an eastern European restaurant should look like, no doubt Dacho (pronounced Da-ko) will match it: It's cavernous but cozy, with wreathes of dried red peppers and tables draped with colorful cloths. Every square inch of the walls is covered with Serbian handicrafts, painted crockery, weavings, and wall hangings. It looks, in short, like a rustic farmhouse picked up from the Serbian countryside and plunked down in a gritty working-class suburb of Belgrade. Which in a sense it is. The only way Dacho owner Damir Ashmi could get his mother to follow him to the big city, so the story goes, was to move the family cottage stick by stick and brick by brick to Belgrade. As with any Slavic restaurateur, Damir's first order of business was to install a waist-high fireplace in the kitchen and a brick smokehouse in the courtyard.

Damir built his menu around the sort of country cooking that makes Serbs' mouths water: marinated fire-grilled hot peppers, for example, and cornmeal- and paprika-crusted pork kebabs. What better way to start dinner than with "village hammers," supernaturally sweet prunes stuffed with salty cheese and grilled in bacon. Prunes may lack the cachet in North America that they have in, say, the Balkans or France, but their rich plummy sweetness definitely belongs at a barbecue—especially when the sweet, tart, jam-textured prune in question comes from a Serbian sljiva (plum). (That's the same plum used to make the famous Balkan brandy slivovitz, and that's what you should drink with these.) So where does the hammer come in? Well, with a little imagination (and a lot of slivovitz), the bacon-wrapped prune skewered crosswise at the end of a toothpick does look a little like a hammer.

Serves 4

4 ounces Gouda cheese

16 pitted prunes

4 lean slices of bacon, or more as needed

You'll also need

16 short, thin bamboo skewers or wooden toothpicks, soaked for 1 hour in cold water to cover, and drained; an aluminum foil grill shield (see Note below)

Advance preparation

None needed, although the "hammers" can be assembled several hours ahead.

1. Cut the cheese into ¼ x ¼ x 1–inch pieces and stuff them inside the prunes.

2. Cut each slice of bacon crosswise into 4 pieces; each piece should be just large enough to wrap around a prune. Wrap each prune in bacon and secure it through the side with a bamboo skewer or toothpick so that it resembles a hammer. The hammers can be prepared several hours ahead to this stage.

3. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high. Leave one section of the grill fire-free for a safety zone.

4. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the wrapped prunes on the hot grate, with an aluminum foil shield under the exposed ends of the skewers or toothpicks to keep them from burning. Grill the hammers, turning with tongs, until the bacon is crisp and the cheese is melted, 1 to 3 minutes per side. In the event you get flare-ups, move the hammers on top of the grill shield or to the safety zone. Transfer the hammers to a platter and serve immediately.

Note: For a picturesque variation on the grill shield, wrap the exposed end of each skewer or toothpick with aluminum foil as pictured in photo number 3 below. The effect will be the same—to keep the bare portion from burning.

How to Make Hammers

1. Stuff the prunes with cubes of cheese.

2. Roll the stuffed prunes in strips of smoky bacon.

3. A novel way to keep the toothpicks from burning: wrap them in foil.

Smoked Egg Pâté

Where: Israel

What: Egg salad barbecue style (smoked and served with grilled bread)

How: Indirect grilling on a charcoal grill or smoking; direct grilling for the toast points

Eggs loom large in the landscape of Jewish religious symbolism. Eggs are eaten for the breakfast, for example, at the end of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. And a roasted egg—symbol of spring and new beginnings—appears on the Sedar plate (the platter of ritual foods) at the Jewish feast of Passover. So it seemed appropriate that our dinner at the Auberge Shulamit began with a smoked egg pâté. This historic inn, built in the 1930s and used as a lodging house for British officers during the Mandate period, houses a French-Israeli restaurant that doubles as Rosh Pina's barbecue central. Rosh Pina is an artist town overlooking the Sea of Galilee, and it was here, more than a decade ago, that an American friend of the restaurant's founders, Gadi Berkuz and her daughter Lea, introduced the art of American barbecue (smoking low and slow over hickory and cherry wood) to local Israelis, who licked their chops in wonder. You will, too, when you taste what smoking can do to commonplace egg salad.

Serves 4

8 large eggs

½ cup mayonnaise, preferably Hellmann's

Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper

About 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish (optional)

Fresh lemon juice (to taste)

4 slices of dense white bread or 4 pita breads, cut in half on the diagonal

Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

You'll also need

2 cups hardwood chips or chunks, such as cherry or hickory, soaked for 1 hour in water to cover, then drained

Advance preparation

1 hour for smoking and cooling the eggs

1. Place the eggs in a saucepan and add cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat so that the water simmers and cook the eggs exactly 10 minutes. Drain the eggs in a strainer and rinse them under cold running water until they are cool enough to handle. Peel the eggs. The recipe can be prepared up to a day ahead to this stage.

2. To grill: If you are using a smoker, set it up following the manufacturer's instructions and preheat it to 250°F. When ready to cook, place the eggs in the smoker and smoke them until they are covered with a light brown film of smoke, 40 minutes to 1 hour.

If you are using a charcoal grill, set up the grill for indirect grilling, place a drip pan in the center, and preheat the grill to medium. When ready to cook, toss the wood chips or chunks on the coals. Place the eggs in the center of the grate over the drip pan and away from the heat. Cover the grill and cook the eggs until they are covered with a light brown film of smoke, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Transfer the eggs to a plate and let them cool about 20 minutes. Quarter the eggs, place them in a food processor, and coarsely chop them, running the machine in short bursts. Work in the mayonnaise and then season the eggs with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, for a slightly more complex flavor, add a few drops of lemon juice or a spoonful of horseradish. Transfer the egg pâté to a bowl or mound it into a neat cylinder, using a metal ring. The egg pâté can be refrigerated, covered, for several days—not that it will last that long.

4. Just before serving, set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high.

5. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the bread on the hot grate and grill it until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Watch the bread carefully; it can burn quickly. Sprinkle parsley on top of the egg pâté and serve with the grilled bread.

How to Smoke Eggs

1. Hard-boiled eggs, peeled and ready for smoking. Soak the wood chips in water to cover so they smolder, not catch fire.

2. Place the eggs on the grill over the drip pan and smoke until covered with a thin brown film of smoke.

Grilled Eggplant Salad with Jerusalem Flavors

Where: Jerusalem, Israel

What: A deconstructed Middle Eastern eggplant salad

How: Direct grilling

After a day prowling the grill stalls and shawarma


On Sale
Jul 10, 2013
Page Count
299 pages


Steven Raichlen

About the Author

Steven Raichlen is the author of the New York Times bestselling Barbecue! Bible® cookbook series, which includes the new Brisket Chronicles; Project Fire; Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades; Project Smoke; The Barbecue Bible; and How to Grill. Winners of 5 James Beard awards and 3 IACP awards, his books have been translated into 17 languages. His TV shows include the public television series Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire, Project Smoke; Primal Grill; and Barbecue University; the French language series Le Maitre du Grill, and the Italian series Steven Raichlen Grills Italy. Raichlen has written for the New York Times, Esquire, and all the food magazines; and is the founder and dean of Barbecue University. In 2015, he was inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame. His website is

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