Even if you're going to be on the road over the 4th, you can still enjoy the traditional American gut-buster BBQ. While grills aren't a normal feature on even the most decked-out rigs, you can cook your July 4 favorites on the engine. Pop the goodies under the hood in Chicago and they'll ready to eat by the time you get to Indy!
You might not see this on the Food Channel, but there's an actual cookbook on the market that tells you how to cook using your car or truck engine. The cookbook, Manifold Destiny: The One! The Only! Guide to Cooking on Your Car Engine, by Chris Maynard and Bill Scheller is available from Amazon.com. It's a little pricey at $59.74 for a used paperback, but it's currently out of print and has become a cult collector favorite. Try Iooking for it at flea markets and used book stores where you can sometimes get it at a bargain price.
The book's a hoot to read and provides recipes in language any stick-pushing hauler can understand. The authors teach you to locate cooking surfaces using the "burn your finger method." Most recipes call for wrapping your food in heavy-duty foil -- LOTS of foil, dousing it with a couple good shakes of your favorite seasoning blend (or whatever you've heard about on TV), and sticking it under the hood. Cooking times are given in number of miles!
The authors are die-hard rally drivers and cooks so most of the recipes are written with car engines in mind. Number of servings depends on car size. A Camry serves only 3 but comes with a bun warmer while a Chevy can serve a family of 6. Meet up with a couple of other rigs and together you can easily cook up enough to serve a whole slew of hungry truckers!
Witty, irreverent, completely preposterous, the recipes actually work. There are more than 40 recipes in the original cult classic, even more in the sequel that touts "New '98 Model, with More Recipes per Gallon." Try out the Cutlass Cod Supreme, Cruise-Control Pork Tenderloin, Nifty NAFTA Nachos, Fupped Duck Catera or Donner Pass Red Flannel Hash. Each dish is road-tested, taste-bud-approved and closer to gourmet cooking than I'll ever get in my kitchen! Cooking techniques are ingeniously designed to cook correctly on different parts of the engine. The authors make full use of the vehicle, cooking not only on the engine, but making use of valve covers, fuel-injector housings, and exhaust manifolds.
If you're on the road this 4th of July, pick up some brats and an extra-large roll of heavy-duty foil and fire up the engine. Lock the hammer down and dinner will be ready just 30 miles down the road! Bon appetite!
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