The books I´ve written are like my children (well, not really, but it brings a bit of drama to this whole smoky mess). I love them all, but there is a soft spot for the first one. The book “Far Lukter Svidd” (very loosely translated as “Dad´s on Fire”) came out in 2003. The material here is now ten years old, but what I see when I read it is that the same rules for grilling still apply: be one with your grill, be focused, use as good ingredients as you can, and lastly – don´t give a shit if you make a few mistakes along the way. Grilling is about having fun, so just get out there and Do It! One last thanks to Tynlee Roberts for all the help with the translations.
First, let me say that I love grilling. Give me a good grill, some quality raw ingredients and some tools, and some good food will be the end result. Most people like food cooked on the grill, although unfortunately many think grilling is difficult (or the family has a hard time swallowing the finished product).
Grilling juicy pork chops or seriously good hamburgers is not witchcraft. “Dad’s On Fire” is about smoking, grilling and barbequing, (yes, there is a difference), and everything you need to know about grills and other equipment, ingredients and techniques. This book is a griller’s guide and handbook. It would not feel at home on the dining room table. It would feel more comfortable next to the hot grill. A few spices, a little grease and some ashes on the pages are proof that the book is where it belongs.
The recipes in this book are sure-fire. They are easy to understand, easy to use, and produce great results, again and again. Just be aware that these recipes are not written in stone. Use them as the foundation for your own creations. People experience tastes in different ways. Some like more salt, while some prefer more of an acidic taste, to name a couple.
One doesn’t need to be a genius to be a great chef. Higher education has never been necessary for one to be able to cook good food. The key criteria are an interest in good flavors, a commonly outfitted kitchen (or terrace), and time. Time to practice. Time to learn…. and just like a good tomato, time to mature.
I have a theory: Many of the physical and psychological problems people have today are derived from stress. We talk on the phone, we email and we text ourselves to death. The tech age has made us more impatient. We want things to happen quickly. It is common for both parents to work and for the kids to go to school and have umpteen recreational activities. We eat more and more frozen and instant meals, and spend less and less time in the kitchen.
The theory is that in order to reduce stress, we need to start with the basics again. We must come together around the table: families, friends and colleagues. It can just be eating a sandwich in a café or a burger in a fast food restaurant. Preferably, however, we should eat at home and cook for ourselves. There is no need to spend lots of time cooking, or making a big dinner every day. Begin with one or two days a week. Create something simple, but good. Food off the grill is a good place to start.
Grilling is a valuable weapon against life’s stress-filled days. The entire process, from the planning and buying of ingredients until the first mouthful of spare ribs or a juicy burger, is an adventure for me. Give me the slightest opportunity to light up the grill, and I’m there.
Put on your sweat suit or Hawaiian shirt and join me on a delicious, exciting trip into nature.
The Grill’s 13 Commandments
- Plan your shopping and cooking (and do not forget the beer and wine!).
- Take your time grilling. If using a charcoal grill, you MUST wait until the coals are ready. The coals are ready once they have a nice, gray surface and emit considerable heat.
- Do not make it complicated. Make some hot dogs or hamburgers for the kids. Remember soda, chips and straws for them.
- Paper plates and plastic cutlery are a gift from the gods.
- Familiarize yourself with the barbecue techniques in this book. This will give you the opportunity to toss around some professional grilling expressions, such as, “indirect heat” and “with-or-without-lid” among the guests. This tactic will make the other quasi-professional grillers insecure.
- It is a good idea to use an apron. Some men will think this is a little too feminine, and if that is the case, they are better off tinkering under a car. Grilling often comes with some oil splashes and spills, and an apron will help with that problem.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before you begin. It is also very important to wash your wands continuously, as you will be working with both raw and cooked meat, fish and vegetables.
- Do not be afraid to salt the meat/fish before it is grilled. There is no harm in salting the meat in advance.
- Remember that thick cuts of meat require lower heat and longer grilling times than thin cuts. Thin steaks or hamburgers will cook quickly at high heat on both sides. Medium rare is the goal. Well done is “done”, but not necessarily good.
- Use grill tongs and a spatula to move/turn the food. A grilling prong fork will make holes and let the important juices out. The fork, however, is a very good tool to use when you just want to move the coals a bit.
- If you are going to use sauce or marinade during the cooking process, remember one thing: sugar and tomato-based sauces are incredibly flammable. Brush the sauce on the meat only during the very last stage of grilling.
- Allow steak, pieces of chicken, and all big pieces of meat for that matter, to rest before serving. This will keep the meat juicy.
- Never grill without a cap. A good chef always uses something on his head. As a cap-man myself, I would recommend a “promo” cap from any company. You will look good, a little bit redneck, and you will have a great substitute handy if you have forgotten paper towels, pot holders or a fly swatter.
On the school bench
- The best meat can be purchased from a good butcher or a well-stocked grocery store.
- Wet your hands with cold water when making burgers so the meat does not stick to your fingers.
- Treat your meat with care! You will end up with juicier burgers that way. Too much handling will make the meat too compact and dry.
- Burgers coming off the grill often look more like tennis balls than burgers. This is because meat changes shape when it is heated. We can avoid this problem by making a hole in the middle on one side, which will result in thicker sides than the middle. When the burger is grilled this way, it will ultimately become flat, which is the perfect base for the added condiments.
- Do not be tempted to press down on the burger with the spatula. When you start to grill, you must leave the burger alone. The good juices will flow out if you mess with the meat. Use only the spatula to turn the meat, and preferably only once.
An old proverb says: Shallots are for babies, onions are for men, and garlic is for heroes. I tend to say: There is no such thing as “just a little” garlic.
I have enjoyed garlic bread ever since I was little kid. I still like it even though I am no longer a little boy.
Amount: A lot, but it is not possible to eat just “a little”
Temperature: Medium High
Preparation: Approx. 20 minutes
Grilling time: Approx. 10 minutes
250g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 dl grated Parmesan cheese (not cheese in a bag)
1 dl mayonnaise
6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large French bread (or a baguette), cut in half lengthwise
- Thoroughly mix the butter, Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, garlic, parsley and cayenne pepper in a bowl.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Spread the mixture on both halves of the bread.
- Wrap the bread in aluminum foil.
- Place the foil package(s) on the grill. It will take about 5 minutes at high temperature for the butter to melt.
- Take the bread out of the foil and brown it a little, right on the grill.
The butter can also be used in other ways. Serve over freshly grilled asparagus, spring onions or fish.
It is said that garlic can cure various diseases: scorpion bites, cancer, rubella, tobacco poisoning, dog bites, diabetes, dandruff, bronchitis, bad stomachs, epilepsy, gangrene, influenza, lead poisoning, measles, and much more. It will also keep the vampires away. A convenient commodity, I think.
If you have old garlic in the cupboard at home that has begun to sprout, you can plant it. The green seedlings that grow can be used as chives, and have a nice, mild garlic flavor.
Shops are full of old garlic (about which you are actually allowed to complain). Check that the cloves are hard, that they have a nice, fresh color, and that there are no green sprouts. Store garlic at room temperature in a dark place. Never keep it in the fridge, or else it will rotten.