011 AUDIO: Steven Raichlen Reveals BBQ Secrets for Quick Smoke

This Memorial Day weekend, service men and women in the U.S. will be honored for their service and those who served will be remembered.  Many of these celebrations will occur in backyards and over hot, smoky barbecue grills and cold, refreshing beverages.

If you’re planning on throwing anything on the grill this weekend you must watch this exclusive interview with multi-award-winning author, journalist, cooking teacher, and TV host, Steven Raichlen!

Raichlen shares secrets of the grill with our Motormouth Podcast recently. Raichlen is the man who reinvented barbecue. His best-selling Barbecue! Bible cookbook series (5 million copies in print) and Primal Grill™ and Barbecue University™ TV shows on PBS have helped people all over the world ascend the ladder of grilling enlightenment.

“I’m visiting Amarillo to have some fun and help my friends at Panhandle PBS raise awareness of all their great programing,” says Raichlen.

Learn barbecue smoke secrets from the Master; Steven Raichlen
Learn barbecue smoke secrets from the Master; Steven Raichlen

Raichlen’s obsession with live fire cooking began with The Barbecue Bible (Workman, 1998), an IACP/Julia Child Award-winning encyclopedic study of global grilling chronicling his 4-year, 200,000-mile odyssey in pursuit of the world’s most remarkable grilling. How to Grill (Workman, 2000) was the world’s first step-by-step guide to live fire cooking, with more than 1000 color photographs, hailed by the New York Times as “astute, approachable, and eminently appealing.” How to Grill won an IACP Award and has more than 1.8 million copies in print.

The Street Auto Group; Street Toyota and Street Volkswagen, have served the Amarillo area for over 34 years and has received the prestigious Toyota President’s Award for the past 11 years.  Street Toyota was named the 2012 Automotive News ‘100 Best Dealerships To Work For.’  The Street Auto Group has been a valuable corporate citizen in the Panhandle area. They provide support to area nonprofit organizations such as Boy Scouts of America, United Way, The Mavericks Boys and Girls Club, High Plains Food Bank, Eveline Rivers Christmas Project, Snack Pak 4 Kids, Amarillo Symphony, Amarillo Museum of Art, Discovery Center, CACHA (Hispanic Chamber of Commerce), West Texas A&M University and many other organizations.

Media Contact: Flo Lopez, Street Toyota of Amarillo, Texas, (806) 355-9846, flo_lopez@street-toyota.com

For more stories from the West Texas Panhandle area, check out all of our latest Motormouth Podcast episodes on iTuneshttps://goo.gl/4rlAOP


John: Here we are again in Amarillo. I’m John ‘Motor Mouth’ Luciano from Street Auto Group. We’ve got something…

Flo: Hi, guys.

John: Really fun today!

John: You know my cohort over here, Flo. We’ve got Steven Raichlen with us today. We’re going to talk a little bit about his book, Project Smoke, his show Project Smoke, so I’m kind of guessing it’s all about smoke for you, right?

Steven: It’s all about smoke. Yes, because all barbecue is smoke, but not all smoked foods are barbeque, right? Think of smoked salmon. Think of smoked cheese. Think of even bacon, that’s not barbecue. The book is really about smoke in all of it’s tasty splendor.

John: That is awesome. In all kinds of different types of food, right? You can barbecue anything. Am I right?

Steven: Well, you can smoke anything.

John: Okay.

Steven: I don’t know that you can barbecue a cheesecake, but you can smoke a cheesecake.

John: [laughs]

Steven: And you will actually find a smoked cheesecake recipe in my book.

John: Okay. There’s our first word for today. Flo, you’ve got to find a smoked cheesecake.

Flo: That’s why you didn’t write the book.

John: That’s why I didn’t write the book. You’re exactly right. I think I’ll stay in the car business. We’re in Amarillo, Texas, as you guys know. And we’re talking about the Panhandle PBS today, who we love and is dear to our heart, as you know. And It’s awesome that your show is shown by them and take it. And now, we talk about your book. One here. So you’re signing autographs today with Boyd’s equipment, on the canyon.

Steven: Boyd’s carries the books and also my Best of Barbecue cooking accessories. You can also find it at Hasting’s book store and Barnes and Noble, online at biblebarbecue.com, which is my website, widely available.

John: Barbequebible.com?

Steven: Yes. B-A-R-B-E-C-U-E-B-I-B-L-E.com.

John: That is awesome.


John: Okay. There’s another one, so we’ll put that website down here below. We’ll talk a little bit about that. Tell us the big question that everybody’s going to want to know, and mainly your biggest fan, Laverne Davis. Laverne, we’re asking your question.

Flo: Laverne.

Steven: Hi, Laverne.

John: Hi, Laverne. Let’s make sure we take care of that.

Flo: And you’re going to autograph her steak, if that’s okay.

John: Yes, we’ll get that autographed. How did it all start? You didn’t just wake up in Massachusetts one day, and say, “I think I’ll smoke something or…”

Steven: No. Actually, it’s a very funny…

John: The bell means the steak’s ready. We got a bunch of cooking going on. Yes, dive up. Somebody at the drive through.

[“Ding, ding,” bell rings]

Flo: The fries are ready!

Steven: Funny and weird story. I actually have a degree in French Literature, believe it or not.

John: [laughs] And that lead to…

Steven: [speaks French]

John: How do you pronounce bar-be-cue in French Literature?

Steven: It’s a strange story but it actually– I got grant, after college, to study Medieval Cooking in Europe.

John: Where was college?

Steven: Reed College in Puerto Rico.

John: Okay, Reed College. But you always got to get those in there. And the mascot was?

Steven: I didn’t have a–

John: Wasn’t a chicken wing or anything, right?

Steven: No. It was actually the Griffin.

John: [laughs]

Steven: A mythological Greek cre–

Flo: Well, it’s an Eagle.

Steven: The head of an Eagle and.–

Flo: Here we go. That’s kind of Griffin.

John: [laughs][unintelligible 00:02:36]

Steven: No. Anyway, but [sic] I think the important thing is about 20 years ago, I had this realization that people grill and smoke all over the world, but they do it differently in each country and culture. So, I set out to travel the world’s barbecue trail. Document how grilling and barbecuing are don in each culture. The result of that was the Barbecue Bible, which became a Runaway Best Seller and that’s how–

John: We got one of those here, right?

Steven: Yes.

John: We got that here too.

Steven: And that’s how I got into barbecue.

John: And how long ago was that?

Steven: Well, 1994 I started the book and it was published in 1998. So, I’m coming up on my 20th anniversary.

John: That is awe– That’s a lot of cooking.

Steven: Well, it’s cooking. It’s teaching. It’s TV shows. It’s travel. Yes.

John: Is there–

Steven: And writing, of course.

John: Is there a signature dish? Is there a favorite, like, “This is my favorite dish?”

Steven: Well, in terms of dishes, they’re all my children, they’re all my favorites. But, these Slam Dunk Beef Ribs, on the cover of the book. These are beef plate-ribs that are smoked for about ten hours. And I would-

Steven: And I would have to say that if I had to pick my last meal-

John: [laughs]

Steven: – God forbid, that’s what I would want.

John: I’m guessing it’s charcoal or wood over gas?

Steven: No. Actually– Well, you can smoke with all three of those fuels. Wood is essential for smoke. Alright, if you cook ribs over charcoal but [sic] they will not taste smoky. So, you either build a bed of charcoal fire and then you add wood chips, or chunks of logs. Or you build just a straight wood fire. Or you work in a gas smoker that burns wood chips. But, wood is the key.

Flo: I spilled coffee all over John’s desk last week. He was smoking. But that’s a different king of-

John: [laughs] That was a different kind of smoke.

Flo: Thatís a different kind of smoke.

John: Just a quick question. Longer is better in most cases? Slower?

Steven: Not necessarily. Depends [sic] what you’re smoking. Here we are in Texas. This is the Epi Center of barbecued beef. And that is general-

John: We’re in the beef capital of the world right now.

Steven: – And that is generally cooked low and slow. Meaning a low heat, 250 degrees for– brisket might take 12, 14, 16 hours. But, in Project Smoke, There are a lot of dishes that don’t require that much cooking. In fact, the new show, which starts airing this weekend, on– Let’s see, Panhandle PBS.

John: Panhandle PBS.

Steven: One of the shows is called Smoke in a Hurry. And it’s all about dishes that you can smoke in ten minutes or less.

John: Wow. And still get that smoked flavor?

Steven: And still get a great [unintelligible 00:05:10].

John: And not artificially. Not by pouring silly liquid on it?

Steven: One secret is to smoke with hay instead of wood. That’s a very good smoking method. Another, I’ve got a recipe for a smoked ice-cream that I demonstrate. You’ve got to smoke that fast before it melts.

John: Sounds good though.


John: I’m still thinking about the smoked cheesecake. That sounded awfully good.


John: It is?

Flo: Smoked cheesecake is what they told me.

John: That would be awesome.

Flo: His recipes are inspired.

John: If you get the chance, you need to come down to Boyd’s Equipment and see your utensils and different things that you sell. You can also get the book. He has this amazing line. He’s got some of the coolest grills. I’ve ever seen.

Steven: Yes. This is a great collection.

John: Depending which way you want to grill? Looks like he’s got gas. He’s got charcoal. He’s got–

Steven: Gas, he’s has charcoal, Kamados, pellet smokers. Yes, this is the kind of place where you feel like, if you’re into grilling and smoking, you died and went to heaven.

John: Beautiful job went into the location.

Flo: – Boyd told me this is not a backscratcher I found out.

Steven: [laughs]

Flo: [inaudible 00:06:08]

Steven: Is that what he told you, to take it out of your shirt?

Flo: Yes.

Steven: That’s a very good thing. [laughs]

Flo: [laughs]

John: Miami is kind of where the mail goes, you told me?

Steven: No. Miami is where the mail goes.

John: But you are on the road so much.

Steven: I’m on the road for about four months a year, yes.

John: Well, that’s good. We’re really glad that you made it– You been to Amarillo before, I understand?

Steven: I have. So this was a second trip. Yes, absolutely.

John: That’s awesome. And from here unto–?

Steven: Tomorrow is Austin, with Aaron Franklin, the–

John: Famous Franklin’s barbecue, right?

Steven: Major heavy weight in barbecue.

John: Oh my gosh. You bet.

Steven: And then–

John: People waiting four to five hours. My wife and the kids from young life, they’ve waited four or five hours in line to do the deal. It’s amazing.

Steven: I know. It just makes me wonder, “Does anybody in Austin ever work?” It seems like all anybody in Austin does is wait in line for barbecue.

John: Keep it weird. They got their t-shirt. You’ll see plenty of that.

Steven: And then I head up to Toronto.

John: Wow. That’s quite a jump from Austin to Toronto. Hopefully, youíre going to fly, right?

Steven: I am.

John: Okay. [laughs] That’s a good thing.

Flo: And you eat the barbecue chips on the plane?

Steven: I do not eat on flights.

Flo: I don’t

John: [laughs] Don’t eat on flight at all?

Steven: I draw– I do now. I draw the line on that.

John: [laughs]

Flo: [laughs]

John: Well, Steven. It’s just been awesome.


John: It’s just great that you would take the time to talk to us.

Flo: Thank you.

Steven: Thank you.

John: We’ll put it out there. And we’re going to get a signed book for–

Steven: Is it Laverne, right?

John: Laverne Davis.

Steven: Laverne? Okay, Laverne. I’m watching you.

John: Yes, thanks. She’s watching you. She is your big fan.

Flo: Absolutely.

John: From Street Auto Group. From Street Volkswagen and Street Toyota, we want to thank Steven and the people at Boyd’s. And you really got to come see this. This is a great, wonderful store. Just another hidden treasure in Amarillo, Texas. There it is. It’s Memorial weekend coming up and everybody’s going to be barbecuing. Two things you are going to need. You got to get Boyd’s. Get your barbecue equipment. And you got to have this book. Steven will tell you exactly the best way to do the best barbecue, right?

Steven: That’s right.

John: We talked about it a minute ago and we’re talking about it more.

Steven: Yes. Project Smoke. Everything from the gorgeous monster beef ribs, on the cover of the book, to pork shoulders, smoked fish, smoked vegetables, even smoked ice-cream for dessert.

Flo: That’s it?

John: Awesome. Smoked cheesecake. We’re going to try that tonight.

Steven: Smoked cheesecake, tonight. Yes.

Flo: Smoked cheesecake, too.

John: Boyd’s in Amarillo on the canyon [unintelligible 00:08:06]. Come see us. Come sit. Thanks to PBS, we had a part of this. And Steven, thanks for coming to Amarillo.

Steven: Alright, Thank you.

John: Thank you.

[00:08:22] [END OF AUDIO]

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