There are so many reasons we love grilling and barbecuing, from the practical (keeping the kitchen cool on a summer night) to the purely pleasurable (let's talk flavor!). This Fanning the Flames issue opens with an interview featuring grilling expert Steven Raichlen, host of PBS' Primal Grill and author of numerous barbecue books. The story circles the globe to spotlight some of Raichlen's favorite whole-animal barbecue traditions worldwide, which hark back, he feels, to "the most primal human activity of all": fire-roasting a whole animal (be it cow, chicken, pig, goat, or lamb) for a communal feast.
Vegetarians may subscribe to a different theory of culinary evolution, but they're still invited to the cookout. Our roundup of foods you never knew you could grill showcases 10 mostly meat-free recipes and tips that will take you from starters (grilled lettuce and avocado for your salad) to dessert (cake on the barbecue). We've even got a few grilled garnishes for uniquely stylish and delicious cocktails.
Raichlen's tour of grilling traditions takes us to Bali, the Philippines, Argentina, Mexico, Jamaica, Greece, Morocco, and other far-flung destinations, but for BBQ picks right here in the U.S., see our latest Road Trip collaboration with BlogHer. It's full of favorite local eateries across the country for regional 'cue, from mesquite-smoked ribs in Southern California to Angus beef brisket and cheesy biscuits in central Florida.
For a look at the scientific side of grilling, we've got "10 Questions for Maxime Bilet," the co-author of the landmark molecular-gastronomy tome Modernist Cuisine and the forthcoming Modernist Cuisine at Home. In our interview, Bilet explains why he prefers to use the grill simply as a "searing surface," reveals the $7 gadget that's essential for grilling success, and shares other high- and low-tech secrets for creating perfectly moist and smoky grilled foods.
For more delicious recipes, dig into two new books, Gourmet Weekday and Gourmet Italian. These hardcover versions of two popular Gourmet Special Editions feature some of our very best recipes, complete with photos of every dish.
What's your favorite grilled food? Let us know via Twitter or Facebook, drop us a line, or post a comment on our blog. For more tasty bites, sign up for our weekly newsletter to get convenient access to our most-read blog posts, editors' favorite recipes, and exclusive reader offers.
Have a sizzling summer!
The editors of Gourmet Live