Check It Out: Where there’s smoke, there’s meat on the grill



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Now that it’s June, my husband and I think about grilling — a lot. Not that we don’t barbecue the rest of the year, but June practically shouts “summertime cookouts!” in our household. Which is probably why I wrote about a grilling cookbook last June, and why I’m doing it again this year. There is a difference, though. Last year I encouraged outdoor chefs to venture beyond grilled meat by checking out “The Gardener and the Grill” — a great choice for learning how to move those veggies from the frying pan into the fire. This time I want to give meat-lovers the chance to grill up a delicious menu with the help of Adam Perry Lang’s “Charred & Scruffed.”

Ever since humans first discovered fire, a certain formula has made for happy cooks around the world: fire + smoke + meat = tasty food. Adam Perry Lang knows this formula very well. Graduating with distinction from the Culinary Institute of America, Adam hit the kitchens running in top-rated French restaurants in France and New York City. Then, taking a barbecue fork-in-the-road, so to speak, he turned his chef’s eye toward the grill, entering and winning awards and kudos at several barbecue championships. This passion for good grilling has since led him on a professional and personal journey helping career chefs and home cooks move beyond standard barbecuing techniques.

From beef to fowl, sauces to finishing salts, Lang guides the cook through several unique ways to grill and season your favorite protein. Grill-masters may think they know all there is to know about throwing a steak on the barbecue, or taking the “low and slow” route with larger pieces of meat. Not that there is anything wrong with these practices; they’re well-known for a reason. But Lang proves how fun and delicious it is to throw the barbecue SOP (standard operating procedure) off the grill and do something a little different. This can be accomplished by placing lamb chops directly on hot coals to create a quick crust and a tender interior. Or, you can try one of Lang’s creative “spackles” (his twists on condiments), or a “co-star” (what he calls a side dish).

Whatever you, or your favorite pit-master decides to “throw on the barbie” this summer, “Charred & Scruffed” has plenty of recipes to lure the griller to the grill. After all, fire and meat are a grill’s best friends.

Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at