Culinary Challenge: Christmas Edition

Question: What do you do when the power goes out just as your stepmom is about to put her Christmas pie into the oven?


You bust out the gas grill.

Anyone who has talked to me about Top Chef knows that I think many of the challenges they make the contestants perform are completely  ridiculous, not to mention a poor means of judging whether or not they are actually talented chefs. However, when the power went out on Christmas and I came up with the idea of using the gas grill to cook the pie, I felt like I had just landed in a surprise twist elimination challenge.

To achieve an oven-like cooking environment, I lit only the burners on one side and used a roasting rack and a baking tray to raise the pie away from the direct heat. After getting the temperature to about 475 degrees, I quickly popped the pie and closed it up. The cold air dropped the temperature just below 425 (proper pie-cooking temperature, or so I was told) but it came back up in short time.

The end result was almost identical to a proper, oven-cooked pie. The only difference was a hint of smokiness in edges of the crust – honestly not a bad flavor pairing with the sharp, tart cherry filling.

There’s nothing remarkable about barbacueing a pie per say, it just isn’t an option most people think of when their oven goes AWOL. That’s the beauty of cooking though: the principles are universal, and once you know that it’s easy to alter the ingredients, the structure, or even the environment that you cook in, to get the results you want.

I’ll be returning to regular posting soon now that the holiday season is beginning to settle down. Until then, remember to cook adventurously and think outside the box when you’re in the kitchen. Happy Holidays!


2 Responses to “Culinary Challenge: Christmas Edition”

  1. This is awesome!!! Congrats on saving the Christmas pie!


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