Book Review – Commander’s Wild Side

Commander’s Palace has been a fine dining institution in New Orleans since 1880. Executive Chef Tory McPhail and managing partner Ti Adelaide Martin have mined this restaurant’s extensive collection of recipes to coauthor the Commander’s Wild Side: Bold Flavors for Fresh Ingredients from the Great Outdoors.

As the title suggests, the book focuses on wild game dishes – crayfish, rabbit, elk, boar, etc., prepared in ways that enhance the natural flavors, not cover them up.

The book is organized into nine sections: Sea, Stream, Air, Land, Not-So-Wild Game, Campfire Cooking, Showstopping Dishes to Impress Your Friends, Sensational Sides, and The Sweet Finish.

While the focus is on the entrees, care has been taken to ensure that all of the side dishes and desserts are designed to “fit with what you’re fixing.”

Now, there are lots of great game recipes out there, but this book is more than that. There’s a strong theme that runs through every recipe of doing the best with what is fresh. I’ve always thought that the best way to test a cookbook is to make a full meal from it, so I (and my dear wife) put together five recipes to create a feast for some of our foodie friends. Continue reading “Book Review – Commander’s Wild Side”

Review: Cooking with the Woo2 Raised Grid

My only complaint with the Big Green Egg ceramic cooker is that grilling directly over the lump can be a little challenging. The standard direct setup puts the cooking grid right on top of the hot coals. The heat can get plenty intense and the angle makes it hard to get at the food to move it off of the hot spots. After losing a prime ribeye to immolation after a sear-gone-wild, I decided to investigate some options for remedying this shortcoming.


The Woo2 (now Woo3) from The Ceramic Grill Store is a stainless extender that solves these problems by raising the cooking grid. The grid is moved up about 4 inches so it’s almost level with the bottom edge of the cooker, creating 8 inches of clearance above the firebox. This makes handling food a lot easier and gives you much better temperature control. Continue reading “Review: Cooking with the Woo2 Raised Grid”

Review – Maverick ET-73 Wireless Thermometer

Maverick ET-73The Maverick ET-73 Redi-Chek® Wireless Remote Smoker Thermometer is the perfect tool for barbecuing.

Big cuts of meat require low heat and long cooking times to be transformed into that smoky, tender fare that we crave. And those long times mean that the pit master is often chained to the cooker. That’s fine if it’s a sunny afternoon and there’s a ready supply of company and adult beverages. It stinks if it’s just you and your bunny slippers crawling out of a warm bed in the middle of the night.

The ET-73 has two sensors that monitor the temperature of both the meat and the smoking chamber and transmits them up to 100 feet to a portable receiver. So instead of having to go out to check on the cooker all the time, you can just check the display on the receiver. Continue reading “Review – Maverick ET-73 Wireless Thermometer”

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