Skip the necktie. If your dad’s a foodie, he wants something cool for the barbecue grill this summer! All of these ideas have been rigorously tested by our panel of experts (OK, just me), and get a big thumbs up.
Digital Smoker: I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to grilling. I refuse to use a gas grill because I think there’s no difference between that and my kitchen stove. If I’m grilling, I want to use real hardwood charcoal, with real smoke and real flavor. But when it comes to smoking meats, basic smokers require constant maintenance so that the temperatures don’t fluctuate. With a 6-year-old daughter to take care of, that is something I don’t have time for, especially if I’m cooking something low and slow for about 12 hours. So my solution is a digital smoker. You plug it in, set the time and temperature, and then periodically add wood chips through a side drawer to smoke the meat. You can literally set it and forget it. I have it cook through the night, so I wake up to a beautifully smoked slab of meat in the morning. Masterbuilt Electric Digital Smokehouse: www.walmart.com
Cognac! How can you go wrong with booze for Father’s Day? But if you’re looking for something really special to give Dad (or your favorite morning DJ with a food blog), may I suggest Kelt XO. What makes Kelt XO special is that before bottling, they place the barrels of cognac on board ships that sail the world for months at a time. During this time, the cognac gently rocks back and forth in the barrels, slowly acquiring a smoothness you can’t find in other spirits. Each bottle even comes with a tag that tells you exactly what ports around the world your cognac has been to. At most high-end liquor stores.
Jack Daniels smoking chips: Whether you have a smoker or not, these chips will make anything you cook taste better. Made from the old oak barrels that they use to age Jack Daniels, you get a serious hit of whiskey in every bag…and in your food. Simply toss a handful of chips you’ve soaked in water for about a half hour, and they will infuse the food on your grill with flavor. You can also use them dry, on charcoal or gas grills. At Amazon.com.
Cookbook favorites: “Jamie at Home,” by Jamie Oliver (a great combination gardening/cookbook), “Charcuterie,” by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn (the best book on how to cure and smoke meats), “Barbecued Ribs, Smoked Butts, and Other Great Feeds,” by Jeanne Voltz (my absolute barbecue Bible!), and “Martin Yan’s Feast: The Best of Yan Can Cook” by Martin Yan (the authority on Asian cooking, with what amounts to his greatest hits.)