KYU MIAMI | Why grillmaster Steven Raichlen is smokin’ hot
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By Carlos Frías for Miami Herald


The way mob bosses sit facing the door, Steven Raichlen sits at Wynwood’s KYU restaurant eying the wood-burning grill.


It’s his second visit to this polished, new restaurant and he has been eager to try the smoked Wagyu brisket, the cut by which he judges a grill master’s skill. Firelight catches his eye through his trademark Harry Potter glasses and he occasionally glances toward the kitchen, drawn instinctively to the flames.


Raichlen, 63, is just as you picture one of America’s foremost grill masters, the winner of five James Beard Awards for his New York Times Bestselling grilling books, like his most recent, “Project Smoke,” which launches Saturday at Books & Books in Coral Gables, and the eponymous PBS television show that debuts its second season Memorial Day weekend. (It will air on WPBT2 on June 25th at 11 :30 a.m.) He’s unassuming from under those English Sheepdog salt-and-pepper curls in relaxed dad jeans and a logo-free charcoal Henley with the sleeves pulled up.


Then he opens his mouth.


Soon, he’s discussing 18th century French poetry (he was a French literature major on Fulbright scholarship at Reed College), his first novel (“Island Apart,” Forge Books) and his time studying medieval cooking techniques in Europe while on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. A former Boston Magazine food critic who apprenticed in a Michelin-star rated restaurant, he appreciates food in the same exquisite detail with which he researches his thoughtful, insightful words on grilling.


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