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DVD Review: Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen, Volume 2

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It’s not exactly outdoor grilling weather here in northern Canada – still, Steven Raichlen’s Primal Grill, Volume 2 is enough to make a guy (or gal) whip out the barbecue and start whipping up some delicious, marinated grilled entrees. Celebrated author of the wildly successful The Barbecue! Bible, Raichlen takes to the screen once again in this second DVD collection from his Maryland Public Television cooking series.

Raichlen is the ultimate Grill Master, confident and charismatic. Grilling and smoking have long been the domain of men, and Raichlen’s dynamic presentation will certainly appeal to budding grill aficionados far and wide. Still, this rarified (and often confusing to enter) domain isn’t for men alone – my daughter and I spent an enjoyable evening watching Primal Grill for both entertainment and inspiration.

Divided into five thematic episodes of approximately 25 minutes, each tackles three recipes using various grilling techniques and international flavors. “On the Bone” features meat grilled on the bone, “By the Sea” is a scrumptious seafood feast, “From the Garden” focuses on grilling vegetarian-style, “In the Fire” involves cooking directly in the coals or flames, and “On the Rotisserie” is self explanatory – with the crowning preparation of a whole 50 lb. roast pig. Three bonus recipes are also included.

With so many scrumptious grilled dishes to choose from it’s difficult to pick favorites. Being partial to seafood, the Coconut Shrimp Kebabs are particularly enticing, while the Indian Grilled Paneer Cheese Kebabs appeal to my love of the firm cheese. The juicy Wood Grilled Veal Chops on the bone look terribly delicious, and Lomo Al Tropo — a whole beef tenderloin that is wrapped in salt and cloth and roasted directly in the embers — is a showstopper.

The 150-minute DVD includes excellent, easy to use navigation. It can be played through, by episode, or by the recipes within each episode. Those who need specifics to cook by might be frustrated by Raichlen’s 'toss this in, toss that in' approach, and some condiment recipes aren’t shared in the show itself. Detailed recipes are promised at the Primal Grill website. It would have been nice to see these included as printable PDFs on the disc.

Filmed on location in the outdoors at the Esplendor Resort and Country Club at Rio Rico in southern Arizona, recipes alternate between daytime and evening filmings. An internationally inspired soundtrack provides the backdrop for a wide range of culinary delights drawn from Raichlen’s extensive worldwide travels in search of new and traditional barbecue.

As a grilling novice, I truly appreciate Raichlen’s introduction to the tools of grilling, and the safety tips that he provides throughout each grilling session. Even those just getting started will be taken by the hand and led through grill safety and cleanliness time and again. Viewers will have to suffer through some old-earth caveman quips (to be expected I suppose with a title including the word “primal”), but it’s well worth it to see a man so at ease with his craft at work firsthand.

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