For almost two decades now, Bobby Flay has been showing us how to cook like men. Through countless best-selling books, Emmy-winning TV shows and his own fine dining establishments, this NYC native has taken culinary mastery mainstream—and become a cultural icon in the process. Now, building on the popularity of the Food Network hit Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction, he’s rolling out a fantastic new cookbook of the same name, packed with insights, advice and 150 boldly flavored meat, chicken and seafood recipes. We caught up with him to ask about the appeal of outdoor cooking, grilling gaffes and the best cut of meat for wowing a crowd. C’mon, are you really gonna argue with an Iron Chef?
When I first started grilling, years ago, I made many mistakes—overcooking or undercooking. Grilling is like every other thing in life—the more you do it the better you get at it.
MADE MAN: First off, congrats on your new book! What’s the best reason to get our grimy grill mitts on it?
BOBBY FLAY: Because I have added smoking and barbecue to my repertoire. For years it was all about quick cooking on the gas grill for this city boy, but now my eyes have been open to the virtues of low and slow. That means lots of new recipes and really good information on how to barbecue and smoke.
MM: What excites you most about this style of cooking?
BF: Outdoor cooking has always appeared to the “boy” in me. I do most of my outdoor cooking during relaxed weekends at my home in The Hamptons. The beach, golfing and grilling make up my ritual and I grill almost every meal during the summer.
MM: May is Grill Spectacular month for Made Man, and we want answers! So, when it comes to getting a grill: charcoal, electric or gas?
BF: Never electric! Electric grills never get hot enough. I would suggest using an indoor cast iron grill pan and your stovetop over electric grills. I like to use gas grills for quick cooking food such as burgers, chicken breasts, fish fillets. Quick and less mess for something for a few people that only takes ten minutes or less to cook. Charcoal for low and slow—brisket, whole chickens, thick-cut steaks, whole fish, ribs. The food really benefits from the flavor of smoke when it takes a while to cook.
MM: What’s the biggest mistake the average grilling guy makes?
BF: Literally playing with his food! For some reason men just love to turn, flip and prod at the meat or fish while it is on the grill. You really should only flip your food once, twice at the most. Brush with oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper. Make sure your grill is really hot, then put your steak, chicken or fish fillet and on the grill and walk away. Don’t touch it until a crust has formed and it is ready to come away from the grates of the grill naturally. This will take a good four to five minutes. If you try to flip before it is ready, it will stick, tear, fall apart.
Looks like required reading to us…
MM: So that we might feel better about ourselves, have you ever experienced a major grilling gaffe? What happened?
BF: Of course, when I first started grilling, years ago, I made many mistakes—overcooking or undercooking. Grilling is like every other thing in life—the more you do it the better you get at it.
MM: What grilling tool should no self-respecting BBQ host go without?
BF: Chimney starter—greatest grilling tool ever invented. Never use lighter fluid to light your charcoal.
MM: What’s the most fool-proof, grill-friendly meat?
BF: Hamburgers. I mean, even a slightly overdone hamburger is still pretty great, right?
MM: On the flip side, what should we throw on the range if we’re really looking to impress?
BF: Bone-in rib eye, about two inches thick. Impresses every time.
MM: Last time we checked, you had five shows running on Food Network. Where should we look for you next?
BF: On more Food Network shows, traveling the country for my book tour for Barbecue Addiction, opening another Bobby’s Burger Palace in May and a new NYC restaurant in December.
MM: Any parting words of wisdom?
BF: Don’t be intimidated by your grill! It is a source of heat, just like a stove and very user-friendly.
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