Tuesday, January 8, 2008


PICTURED: Ted Reader and good friend Jack

Ted Reader is a maniac. I mean that in the best of possible ways. His dedication to BBQ is unparalleled. As the unofficial Canadian emissary for all things cooked low and slow, Ted is much sought after for his catering, television appearances, lectures, restaurants and cook books.

We are very happy that Mr. Reader has squeezed in some time from his busy schedule to talk with us.

Q. Let’s start with the basics. You seem to bring an infectious enthusiasm to all things culinary. Does that enthusiasm extend to other things in your life?

Yes it does. My life is full of fun and excitement. Especially my time with my wife.

Q. Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of cooking that you bring that energy to?

I work a lot, so when I do have down time I spend it with my wife. W play together a lot and travel a ton.

Q. Have you always been as dedicated to your interests as you are today? Was this something that developed as a child?

Always been interested in cooking since I was about 6. Stems a lot from my grandfather who had a passion for life unlike any I have seen. He rocked.

Q. How many outdoor cookers do you have? Can you give us an overview of your collection?

I have over 90 grills and smokers in my yard. You can see a variety of them on my website in a section called Ted’s Equipment, but here is a list of some of my favorites: Napoleon Grills Gemini Model, Big Green Egg, Primo Smoker/Grill, My Dead Serious Texas Barrel Smoker on a trailer, Traeger Pellet Smokers (2), Brinkman Smoker, Freedom Grill for tailgating, Weber Ranch Kettle, Weber Kettle, Tandoori Oven, Wood Burning Pizza Oven and Hearth, Brazilian Gaucho Style Fire Pit, and the list goes on from small portable charcoal and gas grills to big smoking rigs. It is a collection of love.

Q. If I were to find you at a casual neighborhood get together, what would you be cooking on and what equipment would you have at your disposal?

I travel with a modified charcoal/propane grill (Napoleon P600 model) that fits in the back of my pick-up truck and it rolls out onto the tailgate. I use charcoal and propane on this rig. This allows me to cook anywhere from tailgating at a football game to whipping up a few burgers at the drive-in to doing quick promo events and demos or easy catering in a driveway. Most of my gear is portable so I have tons at my disposal.

Q. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Roasted marshmallow with chocolate swirl.

Q. When and how did your interest in cooking develop?

When I was 6, through my grandfather. He told me I can do anything to live life to the fullest. So I liked food. He was from Latvia and ran paper mills in Europe after the war. He loved food and good drink. I learned a lot from him.

Q. Did you have any official training in the culinary field?

Yes. I am a Culinary Management graduate from George Brown College in Toronto.

Q. What’s your favorite cook book that was not authored by you?

The American Encyclopedic Cookbook. It is an old, out of print cookbook with tons of recipes. Lots of basics and old homestyle recipes. I have two copies. It weighs about a ton and is full of info.

Q. Who do you consider a peer in the BBQ field?

I consider anyone that grills or smokes a peer. There is so much to be learned and you should never stop learning so every guy or girl that fires up a grill or a smoker in their backyard I consider to be my peers.

Q. Do you have any culinary heroes?

My best friend Wendy is one of my culinary heroes. She has been cooking for over 40+ years and has slaved away over hot stoves all over. From restaurant and catering kitchens to product development kitchens and manufacturing facilities everywhere. I would take her into a culinary battle any day. She has more energy and passion than most of the young chefs out there. They can learn from Wendy what hard kitchen work is. She is my hero.

Q. The celebrity chef has gone from being a rarity a decade ago to almost being ubiquitous today. If you were flipping through the channels who would you want to watch a show hosted by or focusing on?

I don’t watch cooking shows. I prefer to watch movies and South Park or Robot Chicken. Not a fan of tv in general. Mostly I go to movies and the drive-in. I love the drive-in. S my favorite tv chef that I have seen would be Graham Kerr – the Galloping Gourmet, Julia Childs and I do like Mario Batali. He is cool. Other than that I draw a real blank.

Q. The epicurean world is deep and wide. Why have you focused on BBQ?

BBQ (grilling and smoking is primal. It requires a great amount of patience and discipline. It is ever changing and many times out of control. So for me, it is a daily challenge to try and make BBQ perfect. And it is very difficult to make perfect. So I try and try and some days we are there others we start over. But I have not just focused on the world of BBQ. I own and operate a product/recipe development business and I consult to manufacturers world wide on retail and foodservice recipes and product development. I do this daily as well as BBQ. It is my other love in the culinary world.

Q. You have committed some heinous atrocity (like boiling ribs) and
you are on death row. What would Ted Readers last meal be?

Ted Reader’s last meal. Well I would start off with a couple of shots of Jack Daniels and then for the first course I would have salt and pepper crusted roasted marrow of bones with thinly sliced sweet Vidalia onions, served on fresh baked baguette. Second course would be coffee porter braised oxtail served with some more baguette but I would ad a little butter to the demi to just rich it up a bit. Third course; crispy fried soft shell crabs and to finish it all off a big glass bottle of icy cold coca-cola. So cold your head aches and it goes down smooth. Than I’m done. Call the dude and end it all.

Q. Of your many accomplishments in the culinary world, what are you
most proud of?

Meeting my wife Pamela.

Q. Can you tell us a bit about your restaurant? Being a Canadian, how did you choose the location?

I was walking down the beach in the Dominican with a friend of mine and there was this abandoned restaurant on the beach. I said that would be a fun spot for a BBQ joint. He said he owned it and that if I wanted to make it a place, it was mind. So I did.

Q. What is on the horizon for you? Anything major coming up?

I am launching a new line-up of food products (12 new items for 2008) as well as another cookbook and two signature series gas/charcoal/infrared grills. I am in development on a new BBQ television show and I am also writing two more books. Ted Reader’s World Famous BBQ is the brand of items I am pushing forward on.

Q. A BBQ novice wants to step into Teddy’s world. What’s the best
way to go about that? What books would you recommend? What can he/she
find on your website?

Hey, if they want to be a part of my world, great. Remember this; keep it simple, have fun (always), patience is very important, never leave your grill or smoker, have a vew cold beverages on hand and have fun. HEY IF THEY WANT TO BE A PART OF MY Surf my website, I love my Sticky Fingers and Tenderloins cookbook; but have fun. Enjoy life and if you have any questions, ask me. I share all my info. I have no secrets. I want everyone to be able to grill and smoke as well as I do.

Q. Can you discuss the focus of your books and where readers could find

I have written a number of cookbooks (15 to be exact that I have been involved in). Nine were written under my name. The focus is grilling primarily and now I am adding and moving more into smoking. Many discuss the art of plank grilling and that is one of my favorite methods of cooking. Hot, fast way of smoking on a grill. I have written two books on the subject of planking and both have won awards. They are beautiful books with lots of fun info. Best place to find them is on my website: www.tedreader.com

Q. What is your favorite charity?

Charities that focus on helping kids.

Ted, we thank you for taking the time. Look for a review of one of Ted’s books in the next few days her on the Home of BBQ.

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cupboy said...

Ted Reader rocks!

Want to become a grilling pro?

My three favourite books by Ted are

Sticky Fingers and Tenderloins (worn out a copy already)

The Art of Planking

Blue Plate BBQ...it's a monster of a book with looks of kick ass recipes and great bbq'ing tips

Eric Devlin said...

I agree completely!

Look for a review of Blue Plate BBQ in the next few days. Excellent book.


cupboy said...

Sorry, "lots" of recipes, not "looks"

Eric Devlin said...

N/P. With all the pictures, there are plenty of great 'looks' as well.