Travel & Leisure Travel, Food & Drink

Meet a Barbecue Master and Upgrade Your Outdoor Eating

Make the most of the warm weather and embrace easy outdoor dining with these high-end essentials

It’s summertime, and to paraphrase Ella Fitzgerald, the eating should be easy. So, what could be simpler than enjoying your meals alfresco? To serve up some inspiration, Matt Horn, a top pitmaster fast on his way to becoming a barbecue legend, gives us insight into his methods. Plus, we’ve rounded up the best wood-fired grill, homeware, and a classic cocktail to transform outdoor eating.

Barbecue Legend

Barbecue master Matt Horn
Licensed to grill: Matt Horn honors the black pitmasters that came before him and their contribution to the culture of barbecue. Image: Joseph Weaver

Pitmaster Matt Horn, the man behind Horn Barbecue, is taking the art of barbecue to mouthwatering new heights. He’s on a mission, he says, “to spread barbecue culture right across the U.S.A. People deserve excellence day in, day out, and it’s my responsibility to deliver it to them.”

Horn started his business as a series of successful pop-ups at farmers’ markets, but learned his craft years before. “My earliest memory of cooking is in the backyard at my grandfather’s house, grilling chicken and hot links. I didn’t know what I was doing other than making sure it didn’t burn.”

Burger with relish
All fired up: Horn associates cooking at the pit with his early childhood and family traditions, learning to grill chicken in his grandfather's backyard. Image: Joseph Weaver

Horn finally opened a bricks-and-mortar restaurant in Oakland, California, last October after a series of delays caused by the pandemic, but kept busy in the interim with Horn Initiative, which saw him feeding his local community. Giving back is important to the chef, who strives to celebrate the black pitmasters who haven’t had the recognition they deserve.

“Rodney Scott was the first black pitmaster to win a James Beard award for outstanding chef. If you look at the Barbecue Hall of Fame, there’s not a lot of black pitmasters in there,” he explains. “I don’t want to be another forgotten black pitmaster. I want to impact the culture of barbecue, and feel I have a responsibility to set an example for the generation to come after me.”

Wood-Fired Win

Grill for outdoor eating
Grill time: Change the way you cook outdoors with the Gozney Dome, which has been specially designed and engineered to work effortlessly for both beginners and professional chefs alike.

Inspired to embark on an outdoor eating adventure? Take a look at the Gozney Dome, which makes wood-fired cooking easy, whether roasting, smoking, steaming, or baking. An extra-wide mouth makes maneuvering food simple, while a fire basket and wood placement tool help to build and maintain the heat.

“We’ve taken care of the engineering so our customers can enjoy the cooking,” says Tom Gozney, founder of Gozney. A wood-and-gas version of the Dome is also available.

Alfresco Chic

Outdoor eating can be done in style with homeware from Z.d.G.
Turn the tables: Zoë de Givenchy works with fine artisans to create beautiful homewares that are completely unique and can't be found anywhere else. Image: Nicole LaMotte, courtesy of Z.d.G

It was fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy, the uncle of homeware designer Zoë de Givenchy’s husband, who inspired her to commission craftsmen rather than buying off the peg. Today, she works with Provence’s earthenware maestros Atelier Bondil and Venice-based textile designer Chiarastella Cattana to offer clients homeware pieces that are perfect for outdoor eating and that they won’t find anywhere else.

With her meticulously curated collections of tableware and linens, de Givenchy hopes to help others discover beautiful objects created using time-honored methods. “The artisans we work with are family recommendations; places my mother shopped, or Hubert introduced me to,” she notes. “Our desire is to celebrate the finest artisans, using traditional techniques and authentic materials.”

A Summertime Classic

Negroni and book
On the rocks: Created in 1919 by Count Camillo Negroni in Florence, Italy, the classic Negroni cocktail is actually a variation of the Americano. Image: Matt Hranek, excerpted from The Negroni by Matt Hranek (Artisan Books). Copyright ©2021

Looking for the perfect drink to enjoy outdoors? The negroni may just be your ideal match. While many fancy cocktails have come and gone, few have endured like this classic—equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, it’s a go-to summertime drink that’s now more than 100 years old.

In his new book, The Negroni, Matt Hranek charts the cocktail’s origins—it was created in Italy as a twist on the Americano—and showcases variations including the Negroni Frappé from famed bar Dante in New York City, which adds orange juice and ice, and the Negroni Sbagliato from Bar Basso in Milan, where gin is replaced with prosecco. The book also features archive shots of negroni lovers such as Orson Welles and Ernest Hemingway.

Banner image: Homewares from Z.d.G. Image: Nicole LaMotte, courtesy of Z.d.G