Thursday, August 23, 2007

Letter to Mark Bittman from A Hunger Artist

Dear Mr. Bittman,

I'm writing to you in response to something you said about gas grills in your most recent video All Things Steak* at The New York Times's web site. While I don't disagree with your assertion that gas grills cannot get as hot as charcoal grills, I am a bit disappointed that you did not point out how easy it is to compensate for the typically cooler grilling temperatures associated with backyard propane or natural gas grills.

My method for raising the grilling temperature of my gas grill is via a process I call "flamethrower grill broiling" and employs a Red Dragon Vapor Torch, which produces a flame over 2000 degrees F of direct heat and 500,000 BTU/Hr! I originally purchased my Red Dragon for killing weeds and entertaining my children, but quickly realized it's culinary applications. Since then I've used it for grilling steak (see me at work below), browning baked Alaska and (you guess it!) burning creme brulee.

In closing, I invite you to write to me for advice and counsel whenever you feel that the cooking task you wish to teach would benefit from a little professional advice. Goodness knows, I've got plenty to burn.

Click for a Larger Image

*For reasons unknown to the author the All Things Steak video does not auto-play in his browser (Firefox) but works fine in IE.


Jennie/Tikka said...

Wow! And I just so happen to have a great recipe for a jet-fuel marinade (that requires heavy flavoring....go figure).

JunkyPOS said...

Hahaha...very nice. Torched to perfection.

Whilst I agree that charcoal my be superior...nothing beats the ease of the gas grill. And what about these new "trendy" infared??? ones?

When enlarging the picture...the first thing that came to my mind was... C'mon Bob, you could maybe use a new grill.


Bob del Grosso said...

Verily, I do need a new grill. That one is 14 years old,has never been stored indoors or even wrapped. Trouble is it works as well as it did when it was new (even the starter still works) so I've been reluctant to replace it.

The thing is butt-ugly though and I'm thinking that I'll get a new one after I finish up my terrace project. And I'm def. getting a new charcoal grill ASAP.

redman said...

is that thing hooked up to a standard propane tank?

Bob del Grosso said...

You bet your zippo! Want one? C'mon admit it :-)

BTW check out this stuff, might be interesting for your students

Tags said...


Is that the ghost of a shrimp I see rising above the flame? And does napalm still smell like victory that late in the day?

Kevin said...

I hate to take Mr. Bittman's side, but only winps use a gas grill.{g}

Bob del Grosso said...


If that video is any indication of how "non-wimps" should grill, then those who exclusively use gas need not worry about getting sand kicked in their faces at the beach anytime soon.

But I hear you, I prefer charcoal too. My charcoal grill was off-camera in the photo.

Crazy Raven Productions said...

So, in order for a gas grill to equal a charcoal grill (in heat...can't do a bloody thing about the taste), you have to use a TORCH on your food? Why not just use the torch? Oy.

Bob del Grosso said...

"Oy" indeed Crazy Raven! But let me let you in on a little secret. See, the grill was actually turned off!

I did not want to mention that little detail in the letter for fear that Mr. Bittman might appropriate it for use in his next video. Shhh...!

Kevin said...

"If that video is any indication of how "non-wimps" should grill, then those who exclusively use gas need not worry about getting sand kicked in their faces at the beach anytime soon."

Classic over-compensation.

And I do confess I've considered buying a gas grill for things like grilling a couple of hot dogs or hamburgers, but I'm afraid I wouldn't use it enough to justify the expense.

Sorcha said...

Hmm. I think Mr. Sorcha needs to see this. *G*