Live Life Local: Fire + Wine Summer Grilling Traditions and Tips

Fire + Wine Cover Photo

Welcome to “Live Life Local”—where we celebrate the books and authors who are rooted in our beautiful, diverse region, helping you connect with it in new and exciting ways. Each “Live Life Local” feature (we do two a month) includes a chance to win a copy of the book and a gift card to a local business!

This month our first pick is Fire + Wine: 75 Smoke-Infused Recipes from the Grill with Perfect Wine Pairings by husband and wife team Sean Martin and Mary Cressler, because June is for dads and grilling season (a perfect combo!). This book is especially suited to the PNW, because Sean and Mary live in Oregon and run a catering business that focuses on woodfired ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. Not as sauce-dependent as Kansas City, not quite as beef-obsessed as Texas, these dishes bring the smoke to wild salmon, ribs and steaks, fresh apples, heirloom tomatoes, nuts and beans, and even chocolate pot de crème. Rubs and glazes draw on Northwest flavors such as soy sauce, rosemary, and wild blackberries. And true to the region, these recipes pair with wines such as pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon instead of the customary bottle of beer.

Below Mary talks about how they involve the whole family (kids, too!) in their summer grilling traditions, designed to get you and your loved ones outside and cooking.

Enter our giveaway to win a copy of Fire + Wine and a $25 gift card each to Sam’s NW BBQ Co. and Cason’s Meats. To enter, head over to our Facebook or Instagram page @sasquatchbooks and tag a friend you want to BBQ with! Stay tuned for our next “Live Life Local” feature in a couple of weeks!

Fire + Wine Author Mary Cressler on Family Summer Grilling Traditions and Tips

Fire + Wine author Mary Cressler Grilling

Summertime is everything to me, especially living in the Pacific Northwest, where we wait nine months to enjoy some much-anticipated glorious weather. And summer in Oregon is so perfect that I don’t want to miss a minute of it once the weather turns warm and the rain subsides for a few precious months!

When it comes to being outside in the summer, we can’t help but get excited about grilling together as a family. It gets our 9-year-old twins off their tablets and involved in something we can all do together. They get to pick their favorite things to grill and add their favorite toppings while participating in the process. And it takes my husband Sean and I back to those backyard family gatherings as kids, with all the summer smells of the hot charcoal on the grill, burgers and dogs sizzling away (usually being overcooked, let’s be honest), and the loud carefree laughter of family and friends.

When it comes to our family now, we strive to create similar memories for our kids (except the “overcooking the meat” part). Our goal is to keep things simple, while still focusing on good quality ingredients and involving everyone in the cooking process. Here are a few things that get us excited to grill outside together as a family.

The Prep

There is nothing that builds anticipation of the cooking process more than letting the kids help plan the menu. Our kids also eat, A LOT. I’ve never witnessed human beings with such colossal appetites. So, we are typically cooking a few different protein options for our family of four, as well as a couple healthy sides. Having the kids plan and write down the menu gets them excited, and then they can start laying out what toppings they like (which is our secret code for getting them to set the table with all the fixings).

While the kids are prepping, we start the fire. We often find ourselves using our simple kettle grill for most family cookouts. It’s so versatile for cooking hot and fast, making it approachable for the kids to help out, too.

When using a grill with charcoal, we prefer lump charcoal versus briquettes. These large chunks burn hot and add better smoky flavor to our meals.

The Main Event

As much as I’d love to say we cook fancy cuts of meat every night of the week, the reality is our kids have discovered the magical simplicity of hot dogs. And it should be noted that a good-quality hot dog should not be underestimated. A good-quality hot dog is 100-percent beef, and results in 100-percent satisfaction from kids. They are pre-cooked, which means the kids can help cook them and make sure there is just the right amount of char on them (our kids are notoriously picky about these things). I stand by the grill to make sure they don’t burn themselves while also avoiding any comment like, “It’s too burnt, Dad!”

But it isn’t just about the kids, we like to make sure there is something for everyone. For me, it’s seafood. Once the kids are content with their summer favorite, I like to cook up our Maple-Chipotle Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon. It may seem fancy, but it comes together in minutes, and is jam-packed with incredible flavor. To this day it remains my favorite way to do salmon. The bonus is that the kids absolutely devour it, too. Remember, they have big appetites!

Cedar Plank Salmon from Fire + Wine

Sean is the steak fanatic of the family, and you’ll always find him preparing a thick ribeye, using the reverse sear method. And while our kids will tell you they don’t love steak, they’re always the first to steal a slice. A good steak needs nothing but a simple seasoning, and for us that’s kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. We sometimes finish it off with a dollop of an herb compound butter for added richness and a savory pop.

By now, the low volume of music is playing in the background on the outdoor speaker (we all rotate playing DJ), our appetites are becoming unbearable, and the rosé has been poured.

What’s missing?

Oh Yeah, The Sides

We go simple on the side dishes, focusing on getting in some quick and easy veggies. Something as simple as a mayo-free slaw and a black bean salad are quick and easy dishes we can prep early in the day so we can enjoy the time cooking together without any added hassle. Plus, they both can be served cold and, with the heat of summer, don’t run the risk of spoiling as fast. Grilled asparagus is another family favorite and cooks quick on the grill while the steak is resting. And the boys, like most kids, could eat grilled corn on the cob for days!

Fire + Wine Sides Image

When it’s finally time to eat—and let’s be honest, there has been lots of grazing as dinnertime approaches—we gather around our beaten-down outdoor table on our long, east-facing deck overlooking Mt. Hood, and dive in while the light starts to dim over the majestic mountain.

It’s our happy place.

Sure, we love going big and complicated from time to time, like spending an entire Saturday smoking beef ribs or a 14-hour brisket. But sometimes, cooking together as a family, using good quality yet simple ingredients, is an experience that just can’t be beat. Preparing our favorite foods is something that gets the whole family involved, and hopefully creates lasting memories for the kids like the ones we remember from our own childhoods.

Authors Mary Cressler and Sean Martin and their sons

Fire + Wine Book and Sam’s NW BBQ Co. + Cason’s Meats Gift Card Bundle Giveaway

Enter our giveaway to win our book bundle, a copy of Fire + Wine, and a $25 gift card each to Sam’s NW BBQ Co and Cason’s Meats. To enter, head over to our Facebook or Instagram page @sasquatchbooks and tag a friend!


IMPORTANT: Please read these Official Rules before entering the FIRE + WINE (the “Sweepstakes”), presented by SASQUATCH BOOKS, a division of Penguin Random House LLC (“Sponsor”). By entering the Sweepstakes, you agree to the terms of these Official Rules. These Official Rules shall govern in the event of any inconsistency with other Sweepstakes-related materials.

Penguin Random House is the sole sponsor of this Sweepstakes, which is no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook or Instagram.


ELIGIBILITY: The Sweepstakes is open to residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry. If this is a Sweepstakes offer on Instagram, entrants must have a public Instagram profile. All federal, state, and local regulations apply. LIMIT ONE ENTRY PER PERSON PER METHOD OF ENTRY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED. Employees of Sponsor, its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, suppliers, and agencies, and their immediate family members and persons living in their household are not eligible to enter the Sweepstakes.

ENTRY PERIOD: The Sweepstakes begins at 5 PM PST on June 15, 2020, and ends at 11:59 PM PST on June 19, 2020.

HOW TO ENTER: Enter by:

1) Tagging a friend on Sasquatch Books Facebook Page post as required in the applicable Sweepstakes announcement.

2) Tagging a friend @SasquatchBooks’s Instagram post as required in the applicable Sweepstakes announcement.

In the case of a dispute, entries will be deemed made by the authorized holder of the applicable social network account and/or e-mail address used for entry. Automated entries are prohibited, and use of any automated devices will result in disqualification. Sponsor is not responsible for incorrect or inaccurate entry of information by entrants; lost or late entries or transmissions; interrupted or unavailable network, server, or other connections; scrambled transmissions or other errors or problems of any kind whether mechanical, human, or electronic, technical malfunctions of any computer hardware, software, or any combinations thereof; or problems associated with any virus or any other damage caused to entrants’ systems. Incomplete or ineligible entries will be voided. All entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be returned. If for any reason the Sweepstakes is not capable of being conducted as described in these rules, Sponsor shall have the right to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes.

Comments and/or posts including photographs may not include obscene, offensive or inappropriate (in Sponsor’s sole and absolute discretion) material or defame any person, or otherwise infringe on any person’s proprietary rights. If you are posting a photograph, you must have permission from the photographer (or be the photographer yourself) and have permission from any persons who appear in the photo before submitting it.

PRIVACY POLICY: All information submitted in connection with entry to this Sweepstakes shall be governed by Sponsor’s privacy policy. By entering this Sweepstakes, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to this privacy policy.


ONE (1) Grand Prize Winner(s) will receive (i) a copy of FIRE + WINE; and (ii) A $25 gift card to SAM’S NW BBQ CO.; and (iii) A $25 gift card to CASON’S MEATS. (Grand Prize Approximate Retail Value: $75.00).

TWO (2) Runner-Up Winner(s) will each receive (i) a copy of FIRE + WINE (Runner-Up Prize Approximate Retail Value: $25.00).

No transfer or cash or other substitution of all or part of a prize is permitted, except by Sponsor, which reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to substitute the prize or prize component with another of comparable or greater value. Any and all taxes on the prize will be the responsibility of the winners. Sponsor shall not be responsible for any delays, damage in the delivery of the prize, and/or loss of any prize in connection with delivery of the prize via mail. In the event that there is an insufficient number of eligible entries, Sponsor reserves the right not to award the prizes.

WINNER SELECTION: ONE (1) Grand Prize Winner(s) and TWO (2) -Up Winners will be selected in a random drawing on or about June 20 from all eligible entries received by the entry deadline. The odds of winning depend on how many eligible entries have been received. For Facebook and Twitter sweepstakes, winners will be notified via direct message on whichever social media platform their winning entry was posted. For a Twitter sweepstakes, winners must allow for direct messages so that Sponsor can contact winners via direct message. For Instagram sweepstakes, winners will be notified via a comment by Sponsor that he/she is a potential winner and Sponsor will provide an email address (or other contact information) where he/she can make a prize claim. Winners must respond to such notifications within ten (10) days of receipt. Winners must provide Sponsor with full contact details in order to be awarded the prize. Winners may also be required to complete, execute and return an Affidavit of Eligibility and Release. Noncompliance with these conditions may result in forfeiture of the Prize, and Sponsor reserves the right to select alternate winners (in random drawing from other eligible entries received before the deadline) in such circumstance. If winner notification of the Prize is returned as undeliverable, Sponsor may, at its discretion, select an alternate winner.

DISCLAIMERS: By competing in this Sweepstakes and/or accepting the prize, entrants agree that Sponsor, Facebook, and Instagram and their respective parent companies, assigns, subsidiaries and affiliates, and advertising, promotion and fulfillment agencies and all of their respective employees, officers and directors will have no liability whatsoever, and will be held harmless by entrants for any liability for any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind to person and property resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from the acceptance, possession, misuse, or use of the prizes, or participation in this Sweepstakes. By accepting a prize, each Winner consents to the use of his/her name for publicity and promotional purposes on behalf of Sponsor with no additional compensation or further permission (except where prohibited by law).

Any dispute arising from this Sweepstakes will be determined according to the laws of the State of New York, without reference to its conflict of law principles, and by entering the entrants

consent to the personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in New York County and agree that such courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all such disputes.

WINNERS LIST: For a list of the Winners, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope by December 20, 2020 to SASQUATCH BOOKS, Attn: FIRE + WINE GIVEAWAY, 1904 3rd Ave #710, Seattle, WA 98101

SPONSOR: SASQUATCH BOOKS, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 1904 3rd Ave #710, Seattle, WA 98101