Bob McCray spent most of his life having his dietary needs determined by others.
First there was his mother, then the Army and then a wife.
He barbecued--"burned" is a better word, he says--occasionally, as befits any dutiful suburban husband and father.
Then came the divorce and the jolting realization that (1) there's only so much cornflakes a family of three can consume in a day and, (2) the quickest way to go broke is feed yourself and two teen-agers three times a day in restaurants.
"I was forced to take a self-taught crash course in cooking," says McCray, 46, of Newport Beach. "That was 8 years ago, and I like to think I've done pretty well. At least, no one has died from my cooking--that I know of, anyway."
Actually, the self-effacing McCray has done quite well, judging from comments by those who have enjoyed his culinary efforts.
What he has actually done, he says, is simply master the barbecue process, both outside with charcoal and inside with an electric grill.
"I think things just taste better, whether it's fish or venison," the avid hunter and fisherman says.
"A little glaze can do wonders."
One of his favorites is the glaze he shared with Guys & Galleys, which he uses on many dishes but particularly pork chops. It's basically a mixture of teriyaki and red-wine vinegar, with a little sugar and ginger thrown in.
"It's not a marinade, although I do marinate the meat a little in it," he says. "The real flavor comes during the grilling process, and I baste the meat often while it's cooking."
BOB McCRAY'S GLAZED PORK CHOPS
6 medium pork chops
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of ground ginger
8 to 10 drops Maggi sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Mix all sauce ingredients and set aside. Soak each chop in sauce for a few minutes. When barbecue is at medium, place chops on grill and brush with sauce. Barbecue 5 to 6 minutes a side, basting with sauce every few minutes. Serve with rice and tomato wedges. (Serves 6.)
Each week, Orange County Life will feature a man who enjoys cooking and a favorite recipe. Tell us about your candidate. Write to Guys & Galleys, Orange County Life, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626.