whole food ~ well made

How to Be a Serial Griller + Cookbook Giveaway

Love to grill? Meet serial griller Matt Moore sharing sure-fire tips for the best techniques and tools to make grilling a year-round habit.

When I received Matt Moore‘s e-mail invitation to preview his new book, Serial Griller, my first impression was, “Uh-oh, more bro-grilling advice.” Big flames and bigger cuts of meat are the biggest turn off to me.

Grilling can seem like the man cave of cooking topics. But as I paged past striking images of ribs, pork belly and rib-eye, I also noticed a sensibility in the mix of grilled vegetables and salad recipes.

This is the “grill everything” approach that’s about inviting everyone to participate in the timeless human experience of cooking food over a flame. And sharing it.

Harnessing the heat of a charcoal grill for mixed vegetables.

I connected with Matt by phone while he was recently in Seattle. His wit and knowledge bowled me over, and he charmed me with his warmth and lack of bravado.

Along with learning that I need to clean my grill more often, I picked up a lot from Matt. Listen in…and then check out his book.

Matt has also generously offered one Forage reader a complimentary signed copy of his book, Serial Griller. See details to enter the drawing below.

Meet a Serial Griller Q&A

Hailing from Nashville, Matt Moore is an enterpreneur, cookbook author, a husband, father and a master of grilling. {Hey, that sounds like an advanced degree.}

Matt has collected a lot of wisdom from other serial grillers profiled in his fourth cookbook, Serial Griller. Here is an edited version our Q&A–complete with Matt’s take on grilling, best tools and ideas for extending the grilling season way past Labor Day.

Grilling Traditions

Lynne: You credit your parents for introducing you to the grilling way of life. Culturally, who do we acknowledge for making grilling a part of our culinary traditions?

Matt: What I love about grilling is that actually it’s a whole world of diversity, right? Grilling is holistically shared across all cultures in the world. I call it the grilling gospel. [In the book] I wanted to just cast this beautiful landscape of diverse flavors, people, personalities and tastes.

Lynne: Can you tell me more about your philosophy on grilling?

Matt: Serial Griller, obviously, is a play on serial killer. So, to me it doesn’t matter the course or the meal. I’m trying to make the argument that everything is made better over fire.

Lynne: So, let’s get this straight: what is grilling versus barbecue?

Matt: Truthfully, low heat, indirect cooking over coals is really what defines barbecue in the United States. And everything that’s hot, fast, direct cooking is what we would consider grilling. Nothing good in barbecue is going to happen above 300 degrees Farenheit. In grilling, everything good happens above that temperature.

Grill Types & Tools

Lynne: Is charcoal really better than gas?

Matt: I tend to be more of a purist and like the flavor of charcoal. But I also understand the convenience. You know, 63% of people that own a gas grill and that’s okay, too. You can get great flavor from a well-seasoned gas grill. If you feel like [charcoal grilling] it’s too much, buy a gas grill and own it. Be proud of it.

Using the whole surface of the grill to prepare a simple dinner.

Lynne: What are the essential tools one needs to have to pull off of a big, grilled meal from start to finish?

Matt: I’m a minimalist. I do not buy stupid stuff. So, what I think you need is a pair of tongs, like first and foremost. I think a good meat thermometer is essential, right? You can get one and you’re never to worry about is your food going to be under cooked or overcooked. You don’t need to go spend $200 on these wireless Bluetooth thermometers. I think it’s ridiculous.

Grilling Techniques

Lynne: What does your book offer in terms of, like you say, broadening the perspective on what’s grillable?

Matt: Of course I want to focus on classics, right? So I just want to celebrate the classic burger, the ribs, the steaks, the traditional things that people all expect from a great grilling book.

Yes, Mac and cheese is a vegetable in the South, but also we have access to beautiful grilled okra and carrots, beets and salads. So I kind of wanted to push the envelope a little bit. Just do not try to grill an egg.

Lynne: What happened? Did it blow up?

Matt: Yeah, it exploded. I was trying to get creative [for a grilled Caesar salad] and, um, I probably had the heat a little to high.

A super simple dinner of grilled shrimp, mixed vegetables and flatbreads with salad.

Lynne: Let’s talk about big flames we see in cookbook photos. What’s your perspective on solid technique with grilling over live fire?

Matt: I think flames are for the sizzle, but not for the steak. A flame is just going to tend to create char. And that’s not really what we’re looking for, but there’s different methods of heat, right?

I’m not a grilling nerd, but I want to provide enough background [in the book]. So, I talk about direct heat, which is when the sun is beaming down on us– that direct radiant heat. Indirect is when I stand under a shade tree on a hot day. I’ve shielded myself from the radiant sun, but it’s still hot to me because I’ve trapped that heat similar to closing the lid on your grill. But you also have convective, which is more along the lines of what you’re talking about with flames, right?

Is Grilling Season Really Over?

Lynne: After Labor Day, a lot of people stop thinking about grilling. What does it look like to be a serial griller year round?

Matt: I never closed the door on the grill. End of story. During the summer it makes so much sense because you’re not heating up the kitchen. But during the winter and cooler months, when you put a grill out you’re already setting the atmosphere. I think grilling brings all of us a chance to spark an atmosphere that feels like you’re departing from normal everyday life.

During the Wisconsin winter, where I go visit my wife’s family, we’ll set a grill out on the edge of the garage and crack it [the door] open so we’re ventilating properly. And everybody hangs out outside, and we just love being around the ambiance of a grill.

Lynne: I’m intrigued. What types of recipes do you make in the off seasons?

Matt: Comfort food. You can make different dishes that aren’t traditionally considered to be grilled dishes. So, putting a cast iron or a Dutch oven on the grill and we take the lid off and allow that smoke and flavor to permeate. We might grill portions of those dishes like the grilled chili or in the Bolognese [recipes in his book].

I think the grill offers us incredible heat, essentially, for us to pull off every dish that we might do on a typical stove top or an oven or any other cooking device… It’s an all in one that I think is super powerful when you harness it in the right way.

Win a Signed Copy of Serial Griller

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What to get dad? Hmmm… #serialgriller

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To enter this drawing to receive a signed copy of Serial Griller, follow Lynne’s Forage on Facebook or Instagram and tag two friends. One winner will be randomly drawn on Sunday, September 20th. {Update: This contest has ended.}


and become a forager

Are you a serial griller? Let me know in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.

I received a copy of the cookbook, Serial Killer, from the publisher. All opinions are mine, and I was not compensated for my time.

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