4 Amazing Grills
1. Weber Ranch. A kettle grill on steroids, this enormous charcoal grill measures three feet across. Its size and high-domed lid mean it can even smoke a whole hog. $1,299; weber.com.
2. Lodge Logic Sportsman's Grill. This hibachi-style model is large enough to cook kebabs, yakitori or satays for a crowd, small enough to fit on a table. $145; lodgemfg.com.
3. Horizon Classic Smoker. Designed by an Oklahoma pit master, this smoker looks and cooks just like the big rigs used at barbecue competitions. From $825; horizonbbqsmokers.com.
4. Big Green Egg. This giant, egg-shaped ceramic cooker has fanatical fans. One reason: It can go from 225° (for slow-smoking) to 700° (for searing) in minutes. $700 for the large model; biggreenegg.com.
Steven Raichlen's Top Grill Recipes
Steven Raichlen uses a particular grill to make each of the recipes below—but he's adapted them all so any basic charcoal or gas will deliver fantastic results.
Horizon Classic Smoker
the grill There comes a time when every griller wants to cook "low and slow" (at low heat for half a day or more) in the style of a Southern or Texas pit master. This requires a "pit" (smoker) like the Horizon Classic Smoker, created by Oklahoma pit master Roger Davidson from a rugged 1/4-inch-thick oil pipe. The Horizon smoker works just like the rigs the experts use on the competitive barbecue circuit—the charcoal and wood go in the firebox and the meat goes in the smoke chamber.
the recipe The Horizon cooks spice-rubbed ribs to smoky perfection. The barbecue sauce comes from my neck of the woods, Miami: It's a tropical blend of guava paste and rum. This recipe is adapted from a version in my new book, Raichlen on Ribs.
To cook these spice-coated baby back ribs in the Horizon Smoker, light the coals in a chimney starter. Fill the firebox with hot coals and top them with about 1 cup of soaked wood chunks or wood chips. Set the ribs, bony side down, in the smoke chamber. Adjust the vents for a smoking temperature of 225° to 250°. Smoke the ribs for four to five hours, until very tender. Add fresh coals to the firebox every hour as needed, and add soaked wood chunks hourly for the first three hours.
Lodge Logic Sportsman's Grill
the grill Grills in the West are all about enormous size and lots of BTUs, but for Asian grill masters, small is beautiful. And it's hard to imagine a more perfectly designed small grill than the hibachi-style one made by 110-year-old Lodge Manufacturing. Constructed of heavy cast iron so it holds and radiates heat, the grill can produce enough yakitori, satays or other Asian kebabs for a group, yet it can fit in the center of a picnic table (on a row of heatproof trivets or an inverted baking sheet), so guests can grill their own food.
the recipe I love to set up a hibachi and have guests cook their own seasoned shrimp skewered on sugarcane. Think of the dish as deconstructed Vietnamese shrimp-mousse kebabs.
Big Green Egg
the grill The Big Green Egg may not be the sleekest or most macho-looking grill on the patio, but this enormous egg-shaped cooker has an almost cultlike following. Its thick ceramic walls hold in heat, making it amazingly fuel-efficient, while its unique venting system allows it to go from 225° to 700° with the twist of a dial.
the recipe The Big Green Egg is the perfect grill for cooking chicken—a meat known for its perverse dual tendencies to dry out on the grill or burst into flames because of dripping fat. The chicken legs here are marinated in garlic and coriander in the Thai manner, then doused with sweet Thai chili sauce.
To cook the chicken in the Big Green Egg, pour hot coals in the bottom of the grill. Insert the grate. Set the chicken on top, skin side up. Cover and adjust the vents for a temperature of 325° to 350°.
the grill This monster charcoal grill is three feet in diameter, with more than 1,100 square inches of cooking area. It's astonishingly simple to use, and its plated steel grates create killer grill marks.
the recipe Thanks to its sheer size and high-domed lid, the Ranch is ideal for making my version of Patio Pig Pickin'. Instead of cooking a whole hog, I slow-smoke a ham North Carolinastyle, and serve it on a bun with peppery vinegar sauce and mustard slaw.