grillworks cooking

Lobster on the Grillworks Tenderloin Cheese Steaks Monster Veal Chops Grilling Elk over Wood

Steven Raichlen is a longtime Grillworks owner. He bought a Grillworks 20 (aka The Grillery) for his personal collection years ago and uses his Grillworks 42 on both his show Primal Grill and for instruction at twice-annual BBQ University. Consequently Steven does a far more entertaining job than we could demonstrating The Grillworks for some of his on-air recipes. Used with permission from Steven and Maryland Public Television.

Grilling over Flame

Live-fire cooking, and Grillworks, owes perhaps the most to the traditions of Spain and Argentina. And though each uses varying degrees of flame and coal the core value is the same - wood fire is king.

Over our grills there is no need to wait for coals. In fact we (the terminally biased) say don't wait. Though charcoal does a fine job of providing long even heat, most of the character of the wood it once was is gone, burned away with the moisture. Since you can crank the food at least 16" above the fire on our grills, you can start the food over whole, unadulterated wood the minute you have steady flame. There's no waiting. But if there's still no weaning you away from charcoal have at it. Many customers (and Grillworks folks) use it alone or mix it with chunks of a wood type paired to the dinner - like a seasoning choice. And no fear: if you are ready to experiment with the wide range of flavors wood has to offer but don't have a local source try some of the types we prepare for our customers.

Regarding basting

Our V-ChannelĀ® surfaces carry juices to a detachable pan in front and away from where they might cause flaring. This function opens up the use of live fire for cooking where previously it simply couldn't due to the potential inferno flammable fats and oils can cause. But as important to us is V-Channel use in seasoning. Most American grills achieve much of their "grilled flavor" through the food's contact with smoke from burning juices. If these juices are instead flowing in a continuous round-trip from food to hot V-Channel to basting pan they slowly reduce, concentrating flavors. The wins are multiple: never a dry result, intense flavor and a championship sauce base.

For Professionals

Grillworks grills have been around for over 30 years and in use at restaurants almost as long. But recently we've greatly expanded our professional line, introducing both built-in options, portable restaurant-ready Asador models and the enthusiastically-received Infierno large-format freestanding grills.

Many decisions are guided by consultation with both longtime and new chef customers. And we don't kid ourselves - almost anything can be eventually destroyed by the intensity of a top kitchen on its stride - but these grills, with a minimum of care, will go the distance asked of them. And if anything goes awry, we'll be there to help; these are our babies.

Who has our grills and where can you see them? Check out our map: Grillworks-Powered Restaurants

Help Along the Way

Once you begin grilling over open fire (or return to it as the case may be) you'll invariably experience a steep learning curve. Comfort with your cooking fire is the most important skill you'll pick up on this arc. Once a feel for fire - each fire - develops you're off to the races. Before long you'll be able to tell by smoke, sound and smell rather than thermometer how hot that fire is, where to place dinner on the surface and how to feed it. Wood flame cooking is truly an organic experience. You will get dirty and you'll ruin a few meals along the way, but we promise you loads of fun on the road to mastery.

When you need an advanced answer give us a call at (855) 434-3473[F-I-R-E]. You may also drop us a line at or post your question to our Facebook page. Ben responds via Twitter too:

Ben also writes about grilling and food for The Atlantic and Huffington Post, so recipes and longer-form flame philosophy can be found there:

The Atlantic
The Huffington Post

The Grillworks Guide

Our manual does double-duty as a resource for those who own our grills and as a more intimate look at the ownership experience for prospective owners. In it are assembly instructions, care, basics on getting started and a cross-section of our different grill lines. Download the PDF here: