Lessons to live by about live-fire cooking

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--"Recognize care in design. Not just beauty or function, but that someone really cared about making that object," he says. "I cannot count the times I stood next to my dad in a backcountry store admiring a cunningly crafted fishing lure. This lesson, more than anything, guides me in the design of our new grills."

--"And about business decisions," he says, "Dad's advice was very simple: 'Will it make you smile?' I follow this one strictly."

Ben Eisendrath's Mustard-Slathered Wood-Grilled Baby Backs

Most ribs are indirect grilled or smoked. Ben slathers these with Dijon mustard, then minced garlic, and then soy sauce; then he direct grills them over a wood fire. This puts the emphasis on the meat, not the smoke. Not your traditional barbecue, but no less delectable.

2 racks of baby back ribs (pick racks that are on the smaller side for quicker grilling)

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dijon mustard

3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

The best quality soy sauce

Arrange the ribs on a baking sheet and remove the membrane. Generously season the ribs on both sides with salt and pepper. Thickly slather the ribs with mustard on both sides. Sprinkle the garlic on top and sprinkle soy sauce on top of that. Let the ribs marinate at room temperature while you light and preheat your grill.

Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to medium (with one zone medium-low). Ideally, you'll grill on an oak or other hardwood fire (the logs should be burned down to embers). If grilling over charcoal, at very least toss some hardwood chunks on the coals.

Place the ribs bone side down on the grate over the medium fire zone. Grill until the bottoms are browned and the ribs are mostly cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes. If bottom starts to brown too much, move the ribs to the medium-low zone. Sprinkle the ribs a couple times with soy sauce.

Turn the ribs over and grill until the top (rounded side) is browned and the ribs are cooked, 6 to 8 minutes more. (To check for doneness, cut between the two thickest ribs -- you should see only the faintest trace of pink, which will fade as the ribs continue to cook off the grill.)

Transfer ribs to a platter and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes, then cut crosswise into two bone portions for serving. Serve with bowls of mustard and soy sauce.

MORE TIPS

Go to BarbecueBible.com for more fatherly advice about barbecuing and grilling!

Sign up for Workman’s Blue Plate Special to get a free Steven Raichlen eCookbook and discounts on three of Steven's eBooks!

Chat with Steven Raichlen LIVE on Twitter on June 26th! More details on BarbecueBible.com.

(Five-time James Beard Award-winning author Steven Raichlen wrote "The Barbecue! Bible" cookbook series (Workman Publishing) and hosts "Primal Grill" on PBS. He recently wrote his first novel "Island Apart" (Forge). His web site is BarbecueBible.com. One for the Table is Amy Ephron's online magazine that specializes in food, politics, and love. http://www.oneforthetable.com)

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