The Thrill of the Grill

Raichlen saves his blue-and-white-tiled test kitchen for the end of the tour. It's also the kitchen for the household, and it overlooks the patio, where six grills and two smokers have been set up. Recipes from The Barbecue Bible are taped to cabinets, with changes penciled in. His assistant, Roger Thrailkill, darts in and out of the house, rummaging through a Sub-Zero refrigerator, stirring duck stock on a Five Star professional gas range, and rendering a whole bird with slivered ginger under its skin on one of the grills.

An enormous ficus tree stands next to the patio, where Raichlen spends a considerable amount of time. We settle at a wrought-iron table, on which rests a constantly ringing portable phone. One of the calls is from Jake Klein, the chef-proprietor of JADA restaurant in South Miami and one of Barbara's two grown children. Klein wants to drop off some of his recipes for Raichlen to scan. He is quick to credit Raichlen for his direction in life: "He got me interested at an early age. My education started in the restaurants Steven took us to, when we made a game out of guessing what was in our food."

Raichlen apologizes for the interruptions. We sit surrounded by the grills -- some are powered by gas, others by charcoal. He serves tasty Balinese fish kebabs grilled on stalks of lemongrass, an example of what he calls "flavor triangles" -- ground meat or fish mixed with sugar and garlic. Later he slices up a Brazilian rib roast stuffed with cheese and vegetables. Both recipes can be found in The Barbecue Bible.

Next on Raichlen's agenda: a sequel to the Bible, a New Testament that deals only with American barbecue. Raichlen looks forward to the project. "The only thing worse than doing what you want to do," he says, "is not doing it.

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