Picasso said it took him a lifetime to forget what he learned as an adult, and to go back to paint like a child — free and uncluttered. I feel similarly about cooking – it’s taken me a long journey to come back to what I first learned around steaming pots of Catfish Stew along the banks of the Santee-Cooper on weekend striper fishing. Get the freshest shrimp, fish, oysters, chicken, hog you can get your hands on – and no offense Bi-Lo but it ain’t coming from you. It means working with local farmers, fish mongers in and around Charlotte and down to the Coasts. And then get out of the damn way and let the authentic taste of meat & smoke come through.
Don’t be slathering it all up with adobo/carmelized prunes & kale – let the food breathe. Take a nice slab of red snapper – sprinkle with salt & fresh ground pepper and maybe brush on a little olive oil or ghee to keep it from sticking. Let the fire do it’s magic. Drink a beer, call your galfriend, leave it the hell alone. Squeeze some lime juice on it, and BING – the best grilled fish you ever tasted.
I’m a big fan of Francis Mallmann of Argentina, Patagonia, and Uruguay and ascribe mostly to his style of minimalist MMF (Meat, Metal & Fire). I’ve spent time in Buenos Aires and fell heavily for the Asada-style whole animal roasting in brasseries and estancias. Check out Mallmann’s book, Seven Fires. That’s who I wanna be when I grow up.
- Whole Hog/Lamb
- Oyster Roast
- Frogmore Stew