At long last, Ox's cookbook, Around the Fire—now available for pre-sale—reveals the techniques and recipes behind the flame-ruled world of Ox, the Argentinian and Pacific Northwest-inspired Portland restaurant. Ox chef-owners Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton penned the cookbook, coming out on Ten Speed Press, with co-author Stacy Adimando, and though you would be excused for thinking so, it covers a lot more than grilling.
The book opens with Evan Sung's big and bright photos of things burning. The next 25 pages or so are dedicated to the Dentons' grilling philosophy, including practical tips, such as learning how to turn your grill into a smoker, as well as insights into what makes Ox tick, such as the Dentons' love affair with Argentina and "black gold," Ox's unique grill-juice basting elixir.
"We want people to be inspired to pull out their grill, not just for 4th of July or Father's day, but to look at it as a piece of their kitchen that they can regularly use," Greg tells Eater. Like the old "teach a man to fish" proverb, Around the Fire is designed to give you the tools to prepare an endless number of meals, both on the grill and off. Take it one step farther, and it's about throwing get-togethers with friends and family centered around the grill.
Next, 200-plus pages feature recipes, with around half focused on grilled meats, seafood, and vegetables, and the other half broken up into the sections, Entradas, Chilled Seafood, Salads, Warm Vegetable Dishes, Desserts, and Cocktails. Recipes for all of Ox's most famous dishes are there; for instance, the coveted techniques behind its Clam Chowder with smoke beef marrow bone, which holds a place on the list of Portland's most iconic dishes, and Grilled Beef Skirt Steak, for which the Dentons demand cutting against the steak's grain, are both revealed.
It might surprise readers to find a variety of vegetables in Around the Fire, like blistered snap peas and coal-roasted spaghetti squash, all cooked on the grill. "One thing that we find at Ox is that there's such limited real estate on the grill itself," Gabi tells Eater, "that we usually give it to ten or so different meats. So this gave us the chance to play with all of the recipes and dishes we love to grill but do not regularly get a chance to."
Around the Fire hits shelves March 29. Pre-order from Amazon and take a look inside: