Summer Grilling Tips from the Pros

Cynthia Correa | May 5, 2015 | Peak Eats Latest The Latest

Summer is all about getting together with friends and family and firing up the grill. To ensure your success in all things barbecue, we’ve gathered some helpful tips from grilling experts across the country.

Wolfgang Birk, Executive Chef at Area 31

2 - Summer Grilling Tips from the Pros

“Marinade your proteins prior to grilling. I recommend up to 12-24 hours prior, depending on the protein and flavor profile/marinade. Wood grills will add additional flavor to the product when being cooked and avoid oily vegetables or proteins as they will get a burnt flavor.”

Richard Blais, Executive Chef at Juniper & Ivy and FLIP Burger Boutique

“Make sure to prepare your ingredients and mise en place ahead of time, so you don’t spend the entire barbecue cooking for your guests instead of enjoying yourself!”

John Stage, Founder/Pit Master at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

John Stage, Founder/Pit Master at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

“[There are] different types of fire for different results. When grilling, you want a medium-high fire. For smoking, you want to keep the fire very low. When using wood chips to achieve a smokey flavor, never place the wood chips directly on the charcoal. They will burn away very quickly. Instead, soak the wood chips in water, wrap in tinfoil, poke holes in the foil, and then nestle into the charcoals. This will provide the desired smoky flavor. Just remember to replace the woodchip pack every time it burns out.”

Jesse Schenker, Executive Chef at Recette

“I’m a big fan of acidity. I make sure everything I cook has a palpable acidic component to it. One of my favorite things to grill are prawns, as soon as they come off the grill, I douse them in fresh lemon juice and good extra-virgin olive oil. [Also]: big meat, low heat. Most home cooks have a tendency to fire up the grill and char away, but, especially for large cuts, turning down the heat is essential to get juicy meat and a super flavorful crust.”

Tim Love, Chef/Owner of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Woodshed Smokehouse, Love Shack, Queenie’s Steakhouse, and White Elephant Saloon

“The easiest way to remove skin from fish is while grilling. First, grill flesh side down then flip to skin side. When fish is cooked to desired temperature, slip a turner between the skin and the flesh. The thin fat layer allows the spatula to easily slide in between the two, easily and cleanly removing the skin.”

Victor Albisu, Chef/Owner at Del Campo

Victor Albisu, Chef/Owner at Del Campo

“It’s important to make sure your grill is hot and clean. Cut an onion in half and stab it with a fork. Rub the onion along the grill grates to remove debris. This also imparts a light onion flavor and creates an almost non-stick coating.”

Ben Ford, Executive Chef at Ford’s Filling Station

“When shopping for ingredients, most people automatically reach for pre-packaged ground meat for burgers. However, I recommend visiting an actual butcher so you can customize your own blend and grind up various cuts and types of meat. Ask the butcher to grind the meat coarsely (this is often called “chili grind”) or, if you source meat form the grocery store, reach for ground beef with 20% perfect fat."

Claire Thomas, cookbook author and creator of The Kitchy Kitchen

1 - Summer Grilling Tips from the Pros

“The most common mistake people make with grilling is their temperature to size ratio. The thinner it is, the higher the heat and the quicker it cooks. For instance, asparagus only needs a minute or two to cook on high heat, but a sweet potato needs lower heat and a little more time.”

Amiro Cruz, Executive Chef of Wolfgang’s Steakhouse

“If you are looking for that extra robust meaty flavor, make sure to purchase dry-aged beef. Dry-aging is when the meat is placed in a dry aging cooler where the fat surrounds the whole meat so the meat inside stays nice and juicy and the outside gets that dried factor. The edges get darker and that is when you know you have some mouth-watering steak to grill up.”

Laurence Edelman, Executive Chef at The Left Bank

“To keep chicken breasts juicy, marinate them in orange juice, maple syrup, and a little garlic, olive oil, and red pepper flakes, is a great option. Remember: when grilling, be sure to shake off any extra liquid from whatever it is you’re grilling. Dripping fat creates flames and smoke that you don’t want.”

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