The Japanese Grill Cookbook By Chef Tadashi Ono & Writer Harris Salat

Marrying two cultures' love of fire

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Firing up the grill during the summer months seems as ubiquitously American as apple pie. But the method of cooking is hardly unique to our shores; indeed, plenty of other cultures lay claim to flame.

One, for instance, is Japan. The country has an impassioned and storied love of grilling, as evidenced by the new cookbook The Japanese Grill ($25), from chef Tadashi Ono and food writer Harris Salat.

The pair, who first teamed to enlighten us on hot pots, devote ample instruction to the country's classic grilled dishes, including an array of yakitori (offal devotees, look no further for a solid chicken-heart recipe). Our favorite dishes, however, draw from both sides of the Pacific, combining familiar proteins such as skirt steak and half-chickens with marinades and methods that coax out entirely new–and delicious–flavors.

Case in point: the Japanese burgers with wasabi ketchup (click here to see the recipe). The patties require a flavorful combination of beef and pork and are coated in sesame oil before they meet the grill, which imparts a rich, toasty note. The umami call and response continues with wasabi-and-soy-sauce-spiked ketchup, which we proceeded to use as a condiment on other dishes long after we devoured the burgers.