Monday, April 14, 2014

Gastro Grilling by Ted Reader: Recipe, Book Review, and a Giveaway

Prolific grilling author, Ted Reader,  has a new grilling cookbook out just in time for the longer days and shorter nights.  

I was curious as to what the "Gastro" would be, since in some "pubs" it has come to mean snooty, overpriced and over produced food with gels and foams.  Ted understands that connotation and put's it out of the way in his opening:

Gastro does not imply pretentious when I'm involved.  Gastronomy means "the art and science of good eating."  There are other definitions in play, but I like this one.  It's simple and the truth and unpretentious, like me and my food.  - Ted Reader

Ted has had amazing grilling and BBQ experiences all over.  For example, just this week he was at Niagra for the Beer n' BBQ festival cooking with other major BBQ players like DivaQ and Dr BBQ.  Great times for sure, but he admits that his real satisfaction comes from grilling in his backyard and that is what Gastro Grilling is about.

Gastro Grilling

Fired-Up Recipes To Grill Great Everyday Meals
by Ted Reader
Pintail (part of Penguin)

Physical description:
Available in soft cover and kindle editions, Gastro Grilling weighs in at 373 pages and sports some 135 recipes.  It is organized into Party Starters, Side Kicks, Sandwiches, Meat, Poultry, Fish & Shellfish, Drinks, and Desserts.  The introduction does a good job of covering the basics and grilling options.  Sometimes the intro section of grilling books can drone on but Ted keeps it light with witty turns of phrase and comments.  Each major section also has mini-intros with general information to supplement the recipes in that section.  I like how that is put together.

Ted is the kind of cook that likes to play with his food.  Much like Adam Perry Lang, Ted's recipes get the cook involved with a lot of stuff to do, which is fun to me.  Things like making a salmon and shrimp stuffing for a bacon wrapped scallop or building a plank box for Love Potatoes come to mind.   There is a lot of wrapping, deboning, injecting, and long marinating periods.   That is my style of cooking so I ate this book up. 

Gastro Grilling also involves playing with toys and gadgets using absolutely vital grilling tools (that's what we'll tell our spouses anyway), which is also something I enjoy.  He utilizes grilling stones, planks, and the like.  He has a really cool way of cooking poultry using two skewers (although it reminds me of the scarecrows in the 1968 Planet of the Apes).  Hell, he even gets you to use a wheelbarrow if you are so inclined.

The first recipe I tried was his Grilled Mojo Chicken.  I didn't have a whole chicken handy so I used the marinade for a family pack of wings.  After they cooked, I tossed them in a jerk compound butter that I had made using 1 stick of butter, 1/2 tsp jerk seasoning, 1/2 tsp seasoned salt, and 1/4 tsp sugar.  I cooked them on one of our kamado grills using a raised/elevated cooking grate.  Quite tasty!

Grilled the wings "raised direct" at 350°F about 18 minutes a side.  See the grates used with the fire pit for an example.  The 4 1/2-inch one is what I use for our 3 kamado grills for a raised grate.

Sweet from the mojo and spicy from the jerk butter, good combo!

Next we grilled Ted's Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms.  Twice.  The first time I used what we had on hand (despite Ted's call for fresh), cheap pre-shredded mozzarella and pre-grated Parmesan cheese with lackluster results.  

The next night we used a fresh ball of mozzarella and fresh grated Pecorino-Romano for a completely different and so much better final dish.  I cooked these on my Char-Broil TRU-Infrared gas grill.   We loved this one. Alexis noted that without the bacon, you could throw this on a toasted kaiser roll for an awesome vegetarian cheeseburger option.

Oh yeah, we added bacon crumbles to the stuffing mixture, two strips worth.  It was "too vegetarian" without it, ha ha.

I covered with a half steam pan to get more browning on top. 

It was supposed to be an appetizer but it filled me up.

We knew that we had to try the Love Potatoes as soon as we saw them.  First, they are cooked in a box made from planks!  That was intriguing.  Think of these as hot crash potatoes, topped with caramelized onions/garlic, and finished off with creamy mashed potatoes.  Instead of using Emmental as called for, we used some Edam cheese that I had smoked a few weeks ago.  Every bit as good as it sounds!
I had to break out the table saw because I only had two planks and needed to shorten them to make the ends.

Plank box soaking for 1 hour prior to grilling.

What Lies Beneath?  Hot crash potatoes and caramelized onions!

My base plank was slightly warped in the package.  When it started cooking, it warped even more, splitting the ends.  No worries, it all worked out.

I topped with more smoked Edam and some of Ted's Bone Dust to finish it.
We also Dad's Grilled Steak featured below, except we used tri-tip instead.  Some of the recipes I can't wait to try are:
  • Brown Sugar Butter Crusted Shrimp with Red & White Cocktail Sauces
  • Baked Sweet Potatoes with Hot Buttered Love Injection
  • Stone Grilled Butter Burgers
  • Smoked & Grilled Beef Ribs with Beer Schmeer

Mike McColl is the photographer and Mia Bachmaier is the principal food stylist.  Both did great work, producing mouthwatering pictures that make you want to try out the recipe.  The book is loaded with quality, full and half page color photographs.  Most are of finished dishes but step by step photos are used in a few places where needed.  

Gastro Grilling is good for anyone wanting to elevate their level of grilling.  Even if you are just starting out, you will learn a lot from the recipes and techniques offered.  But I think it is ideal for the more advanced grillers, who sometimes yawn at most grilling books.   If you are bored with grilling because you've "done it all", Gastro Grilling will wake up your backyard cooking!

If you have the "set it and forget it" mindset for grilling, then this book probably isn't best suited for you.  But for anyone else, I'd recommend it.

Rank  (Out of 5)
4+ stars:  good cookbook with value added tips, photos, guides, and other content

Recipe Excerpt:  Dad's Grilled Steak
Click to enlarge - Reprinted with permission from publisher.

I didn't have a sirloin on hand so I used a tri-tip roast instead.  I also didn't have a wheelbarrow either but I figured that it was just a form of "open pit" so I used my Fatboyz Fire Pit that I had made a few years ago.
I used oak splits and burned them down to coals before cooking.

 I use two different grates.  I start off on the 8-inch tall one when the fire is hotter then switch to the 4 1/2-inch one as the coals start to cool down some. 

Did it for 20 minutes on the tall grate, flipping every 5 minutes.  Then switched to the short one and flipped every 3 minutes.

I was targeting 130°F for a medium-rare finish. 

This would be a great recipe to cook on a camping trip since most campgrounds have tire ring fire pits like this.

Close enough!  The tri-tip took about 35 minutes this way.

Rested and ready to go!
Tender and had a great flavor.  It reminded me of the first way I learned to grill flank steak with a marinade of Burgundy wine, garlic, soy sauce, and oil.

Giveaway:  Ted Reader's Gastro Grilling
Ted's publisher is being kind enough to provide not only a copy of this great new book but also a set of his signature sauces and rubs!

How To Enter and Rules

  1. To enter, leave a comment below telling us when the last time you grilled was.  A tweet about this giveaway with a #gastrogrilling hashtag gets you a second entry.   NOTE:  If you are using the anonymous comment option, please make sure to leave a way to reach you (email,  forum user name, etc) in case you win. 
  2. Giveaway entry period begins as soon as this is posted and ends Sunday, April 27th at 11:59pm. Drawing will be held Monday, April 28th at 7:00pm (All times are Eastern Time zone).  Winner will be announced in an update to this post. 
  3. Comments will be numbered by order received and will generate a random number for the winner.
  4. Limited to residents of the continental United States and Canada unless you wish to pay the extra shipping charges.
  5. I am the final judge regarding any discrepancies, interpretations, grievances, etc about this drawing.
  6. Penguin Group, Pintail, and/or Ted Reader are only sponsoring the prize. They are not responsible for the drawing or the giveaway.
  7. Winner must respond and claim the prize within one week of the winning announcement. If a winner does not claim the prize during the specified time, a reserve winner will be drawn from the original entries.
The winner of the prize package was

The last time I grilled was this past Easter Sunday, where I did a turkey for the first time on my Vision Kamado. It came out great!

Dave - I'll tweet you for your shipping info, congratulations!

[Standard Disclaimer]  I received a review copy of the book for free.  


  1. Chris, you are taking grilling to a whole new creative level. I like Ted automatically because he likes to play with his food- Those are my favorite kind of people.

  2. Sounds like Ted really knows his stuff and I also like that he's not pretentious. The stuffed portabello would fill me up too, but please include the bacon in mine.

  3. The art of good eating sounds like the perfect cookbook topic to me! Great review!

  4. We had a dusting if snow in KC yesterday... Gave me one last chance to grill in the snow (A BBQ Salmon) this season (hopefully).

    And love the MacGyver Plank Boxes! Now I need a table saw to add to me absolutely vital grilling tools :)

  5. Sounds like Ted's book has some great creative ideas that could inspire anybody who looks to cook with flame. Just grilled some portabello mushrooms yesterday for our "meatless Monday" and now regret not reading this first! Will definitely have to get a copy of the book if I don't win the book here.

  6. Can't remember the last time I grilled. Probably October, 2013. Always love clever people who think of these types of things. Love the wood box for grilling...and potatoes and caramelized onions??? omg.

  7. Thanks for posting your thoughts on the book....I have it on my wish list on Amazon....I have several of his books but my favorite so far is his King of the Ques Blue Plate Barbecue book.....his bone dust rub is awesome and I use it all the time.....I missed his book from last summer called Beerlicious.....will have to get caught up this summer...

  8. Chris, you take the best food pics! I spent most of Sunday grilling up link sausage from the meat locker in my hometown, followed by marinated chicken breasts slathered in a variety of bbq sauces. Yes, it was a great day!

  9. I just checked this out the library and am getting ready to try some recipes this weekend on the new grill that gets delivered tomorrow! So excited! So I haven't grilled since last summer when my old grill quit working!
    Am hoping to get a copy of the book, winning would be great!

  10. Since we live in Florida we grill out almost every night! We have gotten very creative with different ways to cook veggies and fish! Always looking for new inspiration! bjn1957{at}gmail{dot}com

  11. 1. You deserve the Most Ambitious Grilling Cookbook Blog Post Ever
    2. That chicken Mojo with jerk butter looks amazing. Must try!
    3. Ted's book looks amazing!
    4. Tweeted about this giveaway:

  12. Just grilled steaks last weekend when it was 70s now today snow and 28 in Michigan. What the heck

  13. Last time we grilled - that would be a couple months ago when we did rib steak and made steak salad with bleu cheese. Just before I blew out my knee, I smoked a chicken in the UDS. Right now I am just hobbling around frustrated that I can't do anything... That book is just what I need to take my mind off this!

  14. grilled t-bones in about october before it got really cold

  15. Just grilled this past Saturday, but would love the book for new ideas.

  16. About a week ago I did a slab of baby baacks and bunch of chix thighs and wings on my large BGE. Here is my version of smashed pots, BUT I like yours better. Regards Richard Fl.

  17. Table saws scare me. I nearly lost a thumb to one. Every things else on the page is dreamy. GREG

  18. I used my grill last Sunday. That is a long time ago for me. I am starting to have bbq withdrawal symptoms. I was drooling at your images.

  19. Just used my grill Sunday to smoke some St. Louis style ribs and turkey burgers for the week. I have one of Teds other books and would love to give this one a try.

  20. Chris, I love the idea of the plank box! If i'm not fortunate to win the draw, i'll be looking for this one in the bookstore.

  21. Grilled ribeyes on the kamado last Sunday. Was planning to try the Tandoori Chicken recipe from May Karlin's Wood-Fired Cooking tonight, but the weather has turned crappy, so Penny is going to do chicken in white wine and rosemary on the stove top instead. I will probably end up buying this book if I'm not lucky enough to win it.

  22. Yup, that's right. I'm forced to cook inside tonight. I know David would love this book. He loves to play with his food and build things out of planks of wood. Thanks for the giveaway Chris.

  23. I grilled a couple of weeks ago on what was supposed to be a warm day, but of course it ended up freezing!

  24. I will be grilling out tomorrow for the first time this season and I;m looking so forward to it!! However, I don't think my food will look half as the pics! The big fat steak and potatoes look delish!!!

  25. p.s. I tweeted :)

  26. Gilled out yesterday. Already have his previous book and would enjoy this one.

  27. I grill yesterday! This cookbook looks tasty!

  28. I grilled yesterday. This cookbook looks tasty! Can't wait to try it out.

  29. Holy wow!!! What a post. I'm seriously drooling at all of the items. I kept scrolling back to see what I'd make but I just can't narrow it down...I'm gonna have to try all of these!

  30. Those look like some tasty recipes.

  31. The last time I grilled was this past Easter Sunday. I did a rotisserie ham on the weber gold and a lamb shank on the Traeger.

  32. You are so awesome! The mushroom looks tasty - especially with the added bacon. The beef looks perfect and those Love Potatoes have me seriously drooling. So wish we were neighbors!

  33. The last time I grilled was this past Easter Sunday, where I did a turkey for the first time on my Vision Kamado. It came out great!

  34. Last time I grilled was last Saturday...a big rib eye on the Big Green Egg. It was excellent. #gastrogrilling

  35. Last time I grilled was last Saturday...a rib eye on the was terrific!

  36. grilling ribs and tenderloin with a side of smoke bacon mac and cheez

  37. #gastrogrilling
    grilling ribs and tenderloin with a side of smoke bacon mac and cheez

  38. The last time I grilled was about 1 week ago - between snow storms. Yes, this has been an awful winter! I have a Thermapen, would love a Thermopop and...I do NOT have your cookboot - yet. Would love it! I am the grillmaster in our family of 2.

  39. I live in Saskatoon Canada and have been grilling the whole, long, cold winter, because there is nothing better than the taste of food coming off the BGE. The last time was Easter Sunday when I made pork loin chops, stuffed with a cream cheese jalapano, and all wrapped in bacon (a chicken bomb, but with pork, because it's better). Love the website.

  40. We grilled yesterday! It was too nice outside to not fire up the grill.

  41. Period for entering giveaway is closed.


Comments are moderated and won't appear immediately.