So there we were, testing our way through this season’s grilling and barbecue cookbooks, when a question flared up like embers sizzling with marinade drippings: If we can land a man on the moon, why can’t Those Who Grill agree on standard temperatures for low, medium, medium-high and high?
For this roundup of new recipes — some of which can be made indoors and don’t involve heat at all — Bobby Flay’s medium ranges from 350 to 375 degrees with a four-second hand test; Barton Seaver skips specifics and offers a 2-to-3-second hand test for medium; Michael Chiarello goes with just the numbers (his medium, 400 to 450 degrees); and Bon Appetit editor Adam Rapoport equates a simple label of “medium fire” with “medium-high” for the gas grill.
It’s enough to send a committed recipe follower back to the kitchen stove. What happens, though, is that you spend time flipping through the introductory material about what each author brings to the fire-building party. And if you’ve already established a grilling method that works for you, this will cut into only your cocktail/refreshing beverage hour.