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Eat and Drink

'Nolan Ryan Beef & Barbecue Cookbook,' New York City-style

As spring moves toward summer, the mind starts to wander toward warm-weather traditions, like heading to the beach, overindulging at baseball stadiums and the backyard barbecues. Of course, the average New Yorker may not see grass in a day, much less have a plot of it behind his or her house. In the city, the oven broiler takes the place of the barbecue for many.

That makes it even more cruel, then, to browse the shelves at the local bookstore and see "The Nolan Ryan Beef & Barbecue Cookbook: Recipes From a Texas Kitchen," the latest celebrity recipe collection (with the food prep instructions by Cristobal Vazquez, the executive chef for Ryan's Texas Rangers).

How do these recipes translate to indoor preparation? amNY took three to a test kitchen (read: my apartment) to substitute broiling for grilling and find out.

If you go: Nolan Ryan is autographing copies of "The Nolan Ryan Beef & Barbecue Cookbook: Recipes from a Texas Kitchen" at B&N Fifth Avenue, Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.

555 Fifth Ave. | 212-697-3048

Grilled American Burger

This is a straightforward hamburger with cheese, bacon
Photo Credit: Robert Spuhler

This is a straightforward hamburger with cheese, bacon and seasoning mixed into the patty.

THE PREP: The patty formed easily thanks to the egg, while the ingredient mixing was no sweat.

THE BROIL: It took a little under three minutes for the smoke detector to go off, a problem fixed by moving a large fan under the detector, turning it to "Gale Force" and sending papers around the room flying.

THE TASTE: The burger came out juicy, and integrating the ingredients into the patty rather than simply sprinkling them on top helped. However, the difference between this and simply frying up a patty on a stovetop would be minimal.

The Tex-Mex Taco Dog

The Tex-Mex Taco Dog is an abomination of
Photo Credit: Robert Spuhler

The Tex-Mex Taco Dog is an abomination of a fusion between a hot dog and a taco. Think hot dog bun, then taco shell, then taco meat, then a hot dog on top.

THE PREP: Fixing the meat was no problem, though adding tomato juice to the meat after draining the fat made for a soupy mix.

THE BROIL: Using the broiler is a much better way of preparing a hot dog in a kitchen than either in a fry pan or microwave. However, dialing in the amount of time the dog should spend in there was a bit tricky; the first came out blackened and the second one was on fire.

THE TASTE: The taco meat and hot dog worked well together, especially with the crunchy taco shell. The hot dog bun, though, was the essence of unnecessary. Leave the off-putting food combinations for the masters (Taco Bell and KFC, I'm looking at you).

Big Tex Rib-Eye

Big Tex Rib-Eye, a steak. THE PREP: The
Photo Credit: Robert Spuhler

Big Tex Rib-Eye, a steak.

THE PREP: The marinade laid out is simple, with just Worchester sauce and garlic.

THE BROIL: The best experiment of the three, the steak took a limited amount of time and did not need the kind of precise monitoring required of other kitchen-based methods.

THE TASTE: The steak came out juicy and medium-rare. The marinade was fairly nonexistent after being allowed to soak the cut of meat for two hours, but for fans of the natural flavor of boneless rib-eye, this one is the winner.


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