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Chef Ted Reader injects fat and flavor into cookbook grilling recipes

High Resolution Teriyaki Flank Steak.jpg

For the 2-pound flank steak pictured, Chef Ted Reader marked both sides in diamond shapes for an overnight, flavor-enhancing soak in a spicy teriyaki marinade (recipe below).

(Mike McColl / Gastro Grilling)

Ted Reader plunges a hand blender into a jar with 20 garlic cloves dipped in olive oil, spraying them with a generous amount of salt, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce, his “secret ingredient.”

The result is a smooth seasoning paste for a well-marbled prime rib roast. This grease-covered butcher’s cut evokes the anticipatory sighs of the award-winning Canadian steakhouse chef, who notes that prime rib is his favorite dish and that grease makes it delicious. His proclaimed love for beef is well demonstrated when he oils the plump slab with his aromatic blend, massaging the flavors with vigorous touches.

“I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m a pretty happy guy rubbing my prime rib,” he says to the camera in a demo video for grill and smoker maker Bradley. “And I’m even happier when I sit down at the table.”

“Gastro Grilling” by Chef Ted Reader

The reader’s approach to grilled and smoked foods has a way of making others want to join him at his table. In his new cookbook “Gastro Grilling” (Pintail, $ 25), even the discussion of vegetables reflects his appetite for gourmet satisfaction. Vivid, large-scale photographs of her watered and butter-injected recipes take food pornography to heights that encourage visions of orgasmic gluttony.

The meats are enhanced with marinades, sauces and imaginative toppings ranging from seasoned butters (avocado butter sauce with green grapes for its halibut) to grilled whiskey onions and a sweet praline and pecan barbecue sauce. Its “Bone Dust” spice blend season meats and also borders the glass for a cocktail with bourbon and heirloom tomatoes.

Flattened chicken breasts are spread with bread stuffing, prunes and smoked mozzarella, then rolled in bacon-wrapped “cigars”. His version of fish and chips: grilled salmon with a cucumber salad in a bun next to thick salt and vinegar kettle chips. Its white shrimp cocktail sauce contains mayonnaise, cream cheese, ranch dressing, horseradish and Maker’s Mark bourbon. And imagine smoked butter burrata cheese melted on the grill to spread on Italian bread topped with grilled peaches.

For best grilled beef results, Reader advises finding a good butcher and purchasing the highest quality meat. He likes dry-aged beef for its tenderness and with a good flesh-to-fat ratio for flavor.

But his Gastro Grilling cookbook is not just a volume full of tasty and mouth-watering ideas and photos that make you want to eat from its pages. Reader, a charcoal grilling enthusiast who starts with his barbecue tips and recommended tools, teaches the technique and more. “Whenever you want to touch or flip or prick or crush your food, take a sip of beer instead,” he writes. It’s his funny reminder that constant handling can release the juices from a meat, resulting in dryness. We’re introduced to the Jaccard Multi-Tip Meat Tenderizer, a piercing gadget that Reader says is more effective than marinade in tenderizing meats.

“Ted’s Tips” are sprinkled throughout the book, sharing useful information for his recipes and for better cooking in general. He uses an injection syringe to pump flavored butters into meats and sweet potatoes, and bourbon into roasted bananas in their skins. How would you like to have a fruit flavor in your spice blend? Oven-dry thin slices of Granny Smith apples on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 200 degrees. Then mix the crispy apples into granules in a food processor and mix them with dry spices.

The 373-page cookbook will keep even experienced grills informed, with recipes ranging from entrees to desserts. In his list of tips for grilling fun, Reader shares one final wisdom: it’s not the size of your grill that matters, but the way you use it.

Teriyaki Flank Steak

Mark both sides of a 2-pound flank steak and marinate overnight in a spicy teriyaki marinade: 1/2 cup dry sherry, 1/4 cup soy sauce, brown sugar and mirin (a wine of Japanese sweet rice for cooking), 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and prepared horseradish, 4 garlic cloves (minced), 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce, 2 cloves of star anise, 2 finely chopped green onions, 1 tablespoon of fresh coriander leaves and a drizzle of sesame oil.

Grill: Drain and dry the steak. Rub with a tablespoon of brown sugar, a teaspoon of kosher salt and a little ground cinnamon. Grill uncovered at 550 to 650 degrees rare or medium rare (2-3 minutes max per side). Let stand 5 minutes; sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro before slicing.

Kimberly L. Jackson: kim_jackson @ starledger.com


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