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Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen

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Long before Spanish culinary mad scientist Ferran Adria stunned the world with his foams, infusions, and molecular cuisine, grill masters from the Iberian peninsula were setting the world of barbecue, well, on fire. Like Basque grill master, Victor Arguinzoniz, whose grilled shrimp calls for olive oil and txakoli wine misted from spray bottles. Or Matias Gorrochatequi, whose salt-grilled steaks are a masterpiece of fiery simplicity.

More taste than time? There's no excuse not to fire up your grill. Travel the world's barbecue trail and you'll discover that in many countries, grilling is the original fast food. Here are three grilled masterpieces that let you assuage your hunger without making you break a sweat-basil-grilled tuna steaks, chicken breasts grilled under a brick, and coconut-grilled pineapple for dessert. Because there's simply no reason not to fire up the grill when you get home from work.

More than 5000 years ago, a potter in Central Asia made a tall, urn-shaped, incredibly efficient clay barbecue pit-the origin of the Indian tandoor. Today, tandoori, Indian barbecue, is enjoyed from New Delhi to New Caledonia to New York. This show features tandoori salmon (washed with garlic water and marinated in spices, yogurt, and chickpea flour). Next up, two traditional Indian charcoal-grilled breads made from the same dough: naan and flaky, puff pastry-like lachha paratha, followed by fragrant Persian-inspired saffron chicken tikka kebabs.

Spice may give barbecue its personality, but smoke is its heart and soul. This truth is obvious to anyone who has spent time in American barbecue country (in Texas or Kansas City, for example). What you may not realize is how universal smoking really is. In this show, you'll learn how to smoke Cousin Dave's chocolate chile ribs in an offset barrel smoker, Chinese-style duck in a water smoker, and ginger-stuffed smoked pears in a kettle grill. And because, as Raichlen's rule states: If something tastes good baked, fried, or sauteed, it probably tastes even better grilled.

Back before there were supermarkets (or barbecue grills), grill masters hunted, fished, gathered, and grilled in the wild. This show celebrates the primal pleasures of cooking wild foods with live fire. It starts with-what else? Wwild salmon from the Pacific Northwest grilled on cedar planks with a juniper and wild berry glaze. Our next course is grilled elk loin, marinated in wine and wrapped in bacon, and grilled wild mushrooms foraged in the forests of Washington State. Steven will even show you a wild dessert-a smoke-roasted wild fruit crumble.

Grilling brings out the cowboy in all of us. After all, smoked brisket originated in Texas cattle country and barbecue was brought to Missouri with the great cattle drives along the Chisholm Trail from Fort Worth to the meat-packing houses in Kansas City.

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