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Chef Sinnes info

A. Cort Sinnes
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Wood Chips

One of the easiest ways to add flavor to gas-grilled food is to add wood chips to the inside of the grill when you cook. If you do decide to experiment with wood-smoke flavoring, you'll add a whole new dimension to your grilling repertoire, and, with practice, you'll even be able to approximate the skills of a venerable Southern pitmaster. To get you started, here are the more common types of wood available, along with the foods with which they go best:

ALDER: Traditionally pairs with seafood, especially salmon. Also excellent with pork and chicken.

APPLE: A sweet flavor very good with ham and sausage, and good with other pork dishes, along with poultry and game birds.

CHERRY: Great with duck and very good with chicken and turkey. Pairs handsomely with lamb and venison, too.

HICKORY: The traditional wood for Southern-style pork barbecue, but perfectly appropriate for beef and poultry as well.

MAPLE: Traditional, of course, with cured or cold-smoked ham, and very fine, too, with grilled ham. A good complement for turkey and some vegetables, such as squash.

MESQUITE: Not a traditional barbecue wood, but popular in recent years, to say the least. Use sparingly and not over a long cooking time, to avoid a bitter flavor. Goes well with pork or lamb chops, beef steaks, and swordfish, and used modestly with vegetables.

OAK: Great with steaks and other beef dishes, and does nice things for duck and all manner of pork.

A. Cort Sinnes wrote his first cookbook, The Grilling Book, for Aris Books in 1986. In 1992, his second cookbook, The Grilling Encyclopedia, was published by Atlantic Monthly Press and was nominated for a James Beard Award. From 1986 through 1990 Cort was editor-in-chief of Flower and Garden Magazine in Kansas City, Missouri. After leaving the magazine, he started his own book series, Backyard Books, of which there are now two titles in print; In Your Own Backyard and Backyard Games, published by Andrews and McMeel in 1992 and 1993. In 1993 In Your Own Backyard was awarded the prestigious Quill and Trowel Award for excellency in writing from the Garden Writers Association of America. Cort currently writes a syndicated newspaper column entitled "In Your Own Backyard", which appears in more than 250 newspapers nationwide on a monthly basis.

Cort Sinnes is also a regular food columnist for National Gardening Magazine and Fishing World, as well as a frequent contributor to Fine Cooking and Cooks Illustrated magazine. Additionally, Cort has served as a media spokesperson and creative consultant for a variety of companies in the outdoor living and specialty food arena, including Kitchen Aid. He lives in Kansas City.

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