Grill Directly on Hot Coals, You Cowards

 Grill Directly on Hot Coals, You Cowards

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Photo: Samantha Palazzi

This may be a wildly unpopular opinion, but cooking on a gas grill is cheating. There is something both primal and humbling about cooking over an open flame that you started yourself, but you have to let go of a small portion of your ego, and accept that the fire is the one that makes the rules here. (Let’s be real—relinquishing control can be the hardest thing to do in almost any scenario.)

Unlike gas ovens and stovetops that we can bend to our will, there is much less we can control about an open fire. Maybe the wind is messing with your airflow, or your wood has more moisture than you’d like. Whatever it is, the best you can do is observe and react. But the reward is entirely worth it.

So now I implore you: Chuck your food in the fire and watch it burn.

Feasting around a fire has origins all over the world, so I am certainly not the first open-fire-obsessed home cook to toss whole ingredients into white-hot coals. Dwight D. Eisenhower did it with his steak—aptly called the Eisenhower steak. Lennox Hastie, chef and owner of Firedoor in Sydney, Australia, calls for it in plenty of his open-fire recipes. More and more cookbooks are coming out and calling for this “caveman” style of grilling. With asada in Argentina and Uruguay, grigliata in Italy, churrasco in Brazil, barbacoa in Mexico, and “low and slow” BBQ in the United States, you can find grill masters across…

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