Interview with Grilling with Rich

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It is no surprise that Grilling with Rich got the top 3 spot as one of the Best Food Bloggers of 2011. Sure, his blog has to do with a topic we at the FriendsEAT office particularly love; grilling. But I am sure I know why the community picked Rich. Grilling with Rich is thorough, organized and really should be considered the leading source to get any grilling information you could possibly need. Rich is also really nice and makes me salivate with his reviews. If you’re not familiar with his blog; then grab a rib and take a few to read what he had to say when we asked him about life, writing and of course grilling:

FriendsEat: What’s the story behind your site’s name?

Rich:  Well it is very simple. I had a friend from college come to visit me on the Fourth of July a year ago and I made pizza on the grill. Before she came down I told her that I would be grilling and she responded: “What are we, Grilling with Rich?” The pizza on the grill turned out amazing. She told me that I needed to write about my experience and that I needed to start a blog. So I did just that.I asked her what the name of the site should be and the first thing that came out of her mouth was obviously: Grilling with Rich.

FE: Who is Rich? Tell us about him.

R: Rich is a person who loves a lot of different things. Rich loves grilling and cooking, he also enjoys reading about technology and social media, loves football and listening to all different types of music. You can call Rich a “Renaissance Man” in the sense that he loves so many different things. While he is not necessarily an “expert” at everything, he loves learning about many different things and having great experiences around them. Another thing about Rich is that he is very passionate about whatever he does and whoever is in his life. As a result, he never does things “half way.” It is basically all or nothing for him.

FE:  Why did you choose grilling as the theme of your blog?

R: A lot of it has to do with my answer to the first question. Also, when I first moved into my house I was only allowed to cook on my grill, so it was natural to write about all my grilling adventures. However, now grilling means a lot more to me than when I first started my blog.

FE: What is a typical day in your life like?

R: Well, believe it or not, I have a full-time job from 8am-5pm so I am always busy with that. I do manage to fit in time to think about both my upcoming barbecue and grilling adventures while also reading articles about social media, technology, and current affairs. But when I get home from my day job it is all Grilling with Rich. From researching the next best barbecue sauce or restaurant, to working on recipes and web design (by the way, I do all of the web design and programming for my website) I’m constantly busy with adding new material and improving the site. Somewhere in between all of this I find time to walk my dog and watch TV.

FE: What has been the biggest change you have seen in food blogging since you started?

R: Hmm. The biggest change that I have seen is that the way bloggers are able to communicate with each other and with their audiences. Social media has really become more important than ever and is also the biggest change.

FE: How difficult is it to cook the perfect barbecue?

R: Actually it is very difficult and something that I haven’t even come close to doing. “Pitmasters” try for years and years to cook that perfect barbecue so it is extremely difficult task.

FE: Describe the perfect barbecue.

R: I think that if you ask ten different people you will you will get ten different answers. In my mind what makes perfect barbecue is that tender loving care that you put into your food. It really shows in the final product. If you care, watch over it, and pick the correct protein it will show in the final product. I also like various layers of flavors, from a bit of sweet to a bit of spice. You just know perfect barbecue when you taste it, and it remains with you all day long.

FE: What are the major things that one has to consider in making barbecue?

R: Hmm. Some of the major things that one has to consider in making barbecue is the time it takes and also the temperature of your smoker or whatever you are using to make the food.

FE: What makes a great barbecue sauce?

R: I think that if you asked this question to ten different people you would get ten different answers. To me, what makes a great barbecue sauce is a sauce that is a bit sweet but has a hint of spice as it goes down your mouth.

FE: When is the best time of the day for grilling?

R: I personally love grilling in the morning when the sun is rising. There’s still a cool breeze in the air. You can smell and fully take in the freshness of the dew in the morning, it is truly epic!

FE: How do grill enthusiasts survive the winter?

R: LOTS of layers!! I know a lot of grillers that grill throughout the winter. It is actually one of my favorite times of the year to grill. There is nothing like huddling around the warm grill on a cold winter night or day.

FE: What is the most challenging meat to grill?

R: Believe it or not I think that the most challenging meat to grill is a steak. The reason I say that is most people like to just burn it. Finding, and getting, your steak to that perfect tenderness definitely requires some skill.

FE: Describe the ultimate grill; the one you dream of inventing.

R: Great question. Believe it or not I haven’t thought of what my “ultimate grill would be.” But I would say definitely a combo smoker/gas grill with a sliding grate so that all you would have to do to move your food between them was to slide the grates back and forth. I would have to have some great gadgets with it, like a wireless thermometer and a device to maintain a specific temperature in the smoker. It would also have to be Gold and Blue on the outside (those are my favorite colors!!)

FE: We know you grill, but what does your kitchen look like?

R: Haha, hmm. I am not normally allowed to cook in the kitchen. But I must say that it is nice and clean, and of course full of great barbecue and grilling cookbooks!

FE: How do you feel about foodtertainment?

R: I think that it is great! I really like that there is now food “superstars” in our culture. I also like to see how other cooks perfect their trade. I like how I can watch a TV show and learn something even if it is something as trivial as the correct way to cut a veggie!

FE: Would you be interested in being part of a reality cooking show?

R: Yes, I love cooking shows and I love good reality TV like Survivor, etc. So being a part of a reality cooking show would be something that I would be very interested in being part of. Maybe soon I will have an opportunity to do so. I love sharing my life with others and most importantly sharing my grilling and barbecue adventures with others.

FE: What is your favorite condiment?

R: Would it be too obvious to say Barbecue Sauce?? But I would have to say next to Barbecue sauce my favorite condiment is a great Honey Mustard.

FE: Is there any food at all that cannot be grilled?

R: I haven’t found one yet!! Do you know of one? I would love a challenge!

FE: Where do you see yourself and the blog in ten years?

R: Great question. I would really like to see Grilling with Rich become the New York Times of the Barbecue World. A great website with a lot of great recipes, fun adventures, a resource of material where people can find that extra tip from the pros to improve their grilling and barbecue adventures, find that great barbecue restaurant, and everything else in between. I want Grilling with Rich to be a place where you can learn, and also just laugh, about Grilling and Barbecue. Finally, I want my readers to walk away with a great experience that made them part of a community, because to me that is what Grilling and Barbecue is about – being part of a community.

FE: What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone interested in starting a food blog?

R: WOW! Just one piece of advice? I would have to say make sure that you have both the time and also the passion to fully devote yourself in your blog because it takes a lot of patience to develop both a following and also put together a product that you will be happy with. Another piece of advice (sorry I know that you said just one but it is also important) don’t be afraid to ask people for help. I know a lot of people are afraid to ask for help, but there are obvious limits to what you know and by asking people to help you are in fact making those people become part of your story!

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Blanca Valbuena
I am one of the co-founders of FriendsEAT. Obviously, I love to eat. Other passions include A Song of Ice and Fire, Shakespeare, Dostoyevski, and Aldous Huxley.
Blanca Valbuena
Blanca Valbuena

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