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Boy Gets Grill

125 Reasons to Light Your Fire!

By Bobby Flay with Julia Moskin
(Scribner, New York, May 2004)

Boy Gets Grill



Truth be told, we tend to be more critical of TV celebrity chefs' cookbooks. Telegenic attributes do not necessarily yield a worthwhile book, and we should expect more from those with extraordinary resources. In this case, Bobby Flay's Boy Gets Grill: 125 Reasons to Light Your Fire, his fifth book, is a welcome surprise, a pleasant summertime, or any time of year, companion for those that like to experience the kitchen outdoors.

Yes, there is plenty of barbecue and grilling competition. You could buy Steve Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible and be set for life, or maybe even pick up a copy of Boy Gets Grill's predecessor, Boy Meets Grill. If your self-esteem is a little low, maybe Grilling for Dummies fits the bill. If things get really bad you could even plunk yourself in front of the television and grill vicariously. Let the talking heads have all the fun.

Try to resist this boy and his grill

What you do get from Flay, star of the Food Network's "Boy Meets Grill" and chef-owner of New York's Mesa Grill and Bolo are easy-to-follow basics on how to grill—from setup to heat requirements to testing for doneness. The 125-recipe, 300-page Boy Gets Grill is not the definitive grilling book, but rather a quick tour of internationally inspired foods suited for the open flame—be it heat from charcoal or gas, from hibachi or top-of-the line Viking outdoor setup. In fact, on Flay's TV show, grilling happens on a rooftop in Queens. And while the food is worldly, it's not from by a trip around the world, but from an equally exciting whirl through the ethnic enclaves of New York City.

It's no surprise that Latin and Caribbean culinary influences figure big in Flay's recipes, but you'll also encounter Peking Duck Breasts with Scallions, Pancakes, and Grilled Oranges; Grilled Baby Lamb Chops with Orange-Mint Yogurt Sauce and Grilled Oranges (grilled oranges are great for squeezing over meat, and a nice change); and Balsamic-Marinated Flank Steak with Arugula, Tomato, and Shaved Parmesan Salad.

Flay's Eight Cool Drinks are perfect for poolside, rooftop, deck, or backyard. Mojitos, of course, White Peach Margaritas, and Mango-Mint Iced Tea are among our favorites. Then we think about what we would cook this weekend, or next. Maybe start with Grilled Flatbread with Cucumber-Yogurt Salad and Toasted Walnuts, and Crispy Bacon and Corn Quesadillas with Avocado-Cherry Tomato Relish. Let's use the grill for the unexpected.

Then, we can't resist stepping inside to make Fava Bean and Manchego Cheese Salad (sherry vinaigrette goes great on this), and then back out for Parmesan-Crusted Portobello Mushroom Caps. Grilled Whole Sardines with Lemon, Olive Oil, and Black Peppers bring back memories of lusty dinners in the Greek Isles, and then we shake things up with Coffee-Spice-Rubbed Ribeye with Smoky Tomato-Red Chile Salsa.

Grilled pineapple is divine, so dessert will be Grilled Pineapple with Butter-Rum Glaze and Vanilla Mascarpone. The grown-up milkshakes are irresistible—like Café con Leche Milkshakes spiked with coffee liqueur, and Fresh Blueberry-Vanilla Rum Milkshakes. Forget the waistline this weekend.

Better yet, Flay includes thirteen themed menus with a game plan: great combinations like Greek on the Grill, Italian-American Firehouse Dinner, and Asian Flavors. They're simple, complete, and fun. There's also a Big Parties chapter, with dishes that serves groups from 8-12—like a Fish Taco Party, Skewer Party, and a Burger Bar.

But here's why we're so glad about Boy Gets Grill. It's focused but fun, interesting but not self-indulgent, and creative. Co-author Julia Moskin deserves a mention here. It is a manageable book, easy on the eyes, with good lessons on how to demand the most from your grill without exhausting yourself. After we tried a handful of recipes and tested Flay's advice, we must say that this book alone has enough to keep us at the grill all summer long.

Reviewed by Kevin Schoeler

(Updated: 06/18/10 SG)

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