With Charred & Scruffed, bestselling cookbook author and acclaimed chef Adam Perry Lang employs his extensive culinary background to refine and concentrate the flavors and textures of barbecue and reimagine its possibilities.
Adam's new techniques, from roughing up meat and vegetables ("scruffing") to cooking directly on hot coals ("clinching") to constantly turning and moving the meat while cooking ("hot potato"), produce crust formation and layers of flavor, while his board dressings and finishing salts build upon delicious meat juices, and his "fork finishers"—like cranberry, hatch chile, and mango "spackles"—provide an intensely flavorful, concentrated end note.
Meanwhile, side dishes such as Creamed Spinach with Steeped and Smoked Garlic Confit, Scruffed Carbonara Potatoes, and Charred Radicchio with Sweet-and-Sticky Balsamic and Bacon, far from afterthoughts, provide exciting contrast and synergy with the "mains."
Gas grill owners need not bother with Lang's down and dirty third book of barbecue. As the proprietor of New York's Daisy May's BBQ and co-owner (with Jamie Oliver) of London's Barbecoa, propane is not in this chef's vocabulary. His methodology employs high heat from fired-up coals combined with a raised grate and lots of flipping, or else clinching, a boxing term he reinterprets to mean placing cuts of meat directly onto the coals. Clinching, while being the ultimate solution to flareups, is not as manly as it sounds: the process begins with using a hair dryer to remove the coals' excess ash. But a 10-ounce clinched strip steak is done in just nine minutes and is infused with "an intense blast of superheated flavor" as the juices steam directly back into the steak. Add a soaked plank of cedar to the mix and the results include clinched and planked rump steaks, lamb racks, or lobster tails, with the wood bringing additional layers of flavor and color to the meats. The scruffing referred to in the title involves roughing up the meat to create extra tears and ridges thereby increasing the surface area where flavorings can seep in. It's a technique that works equally well with some vegetables, as in his scruffed carbonara potatoes, where bite-sized chunks of Yukon Gold soak up a lightly seasoned egg sauce.