If you ask him what he likes most about grilling, Ted Reader doesn’t mince words. “It’s a very primal sort of activity. There’s the aroma from the smoke, the flavor, the sizzle. I’ve never considered cooking to be a chore. It’s always been pure enjoyment for me.”
When people are under stress, they might go for a walk, meditate or read a book. When Ted Reader is stressed, he fires up the grill. “I’ve always loved food. How it looks, how it grows, how it ripens. I’m always looking for big flavor. For me, every meal should be better than the last one. I also have a lot of respect for food – where it comes from and how it’s processed.”
That love and respect started early. His father and grandfather encouraged him to follow his dream. “Food has always been part of our family’s life,” says Ted. “It’s about community, sharing, being part of something.” A natural people-person, Ted found his calling not just with cooking but with teaching as well, making time to coach young, innovative chefs who are just starting out. He’s also a savvy businessman, keeping a finger on the pulse of the food industry. “I like to know who’s making what and where.”
The first time Ted cooked on a Crown Verity gas grill was at a golf tournament back in the mid-90s. “That grill got hot – smoking hot – real fast.” He was impressed not just with the heat but also the consistency of it and how it allowed him and his team to efficiently get through burgers and hot dogs at a much quicker rate. “The grill is perfect for the food service industry,” says Ted. “I tried out a Crown Verity grill and loved it so much, I bought another one.” His backyard and deck are packed with grills. They have to be. When someone asks him what it’s like to cook on a certain product, Ted wants to be able to give a knowledgeable answer.
He also wants people to know that grilling isn’t just a May to September activity. It can be done all year long. Ted himself cooks outside at least three times a week, usually more. “Crown Verity grills are ideal for this because they get so hot, especially if they’re hooked up to a gas line. On one of their big grills, you can do 48 burgers at one time.” He adds that if a person is well-organized, they can expect to get hundreds of burgers off those grills in no time.” He also recommends keeping it clean. “A clean grill is a hotter, healthier grill.”
So what does Ted love to cook on his Crown Verity grills? “I’m a meat guy. I love cooking a good steak. I like to keep things simple, too. I believe in letting the food stand out on its own.” “For me, when it comes to grilling, the food is the hero.”
TED’S EQUIPMENT: HOPTIMUS PRIME
To help with Ted’s love for meat and in addition to his handful of BBQs and smokers he owns, he recently added a 1972 Ford Seagrave pumper truck to his collection dubbed Hoptimus Prime. A catering kitchen on wheels, Hoptimus Prime specializes in beer and BBQ. It carries two 48 inch Crown Verity grills along with a custom barrel smoker rotisserie and sports an upper party deck, a full sound system, a flat screen TV and a fridge unit holding up to eight kegs of beer. Profiled in 2014 on Discovery Planet’s “Extreme Machines,” Hoptimus Prime is in huge demand for tailgating parties, special events and catering.