The 4th of July weekend is coming up, which means it’s time to start the backyard barbecue! To help keep his barbecue looking great, Tempo asked 24/7 patio barbecue tips from seven barbecue experts from around the country. Scroll for more information.
1. Clean the grill thoroughly before lighting it • Dirty grill turns into dirty, burnt-tasting and unhealthy food. While a good wire brush can help, if you don’t have one, fear not. Alternatively, you can use aluminum foil rolled into a rough ball about four inches in diameter. said Christopher Hersheimer and Melissa Hamilton of The Canal House, a publisher of cookbooks, photography and design in Milford, NJ.
2. Grease the grill with oil • Once the grill is clean, wipe it clean or wipe it with a light coating of oil. “This is important to prevent food from sticking,” say Hersheimer and Hamilton.
3. Do not cook directly from the refrigerator • Myron Mixon of Unadilla, Georgia, author of “BBQ & A with Myron Mixon,” recommends: “Take the meat out of the refrigerator at least an hour before putting it on the grill.”
James Wyman of the Oyster Club, Grass & Bone and The Engine Room in Mystic, Connecticut, adds that it should always be at room temperature before you start cooking, adding, “This is especially necessary with larger cuts of meat.” (This may take several hours to heat up.)
4. Salt your food early • “We salt the meat with coarse salt, the best torrent gras in France, an hour before it hits the grill,” says Wyman. “This helps create a nice crust.” Gently pressing the salt onto the surface of the meat helps it stick during cooking. Some will fall off in the process anyway, and you can always adjust the seasoning when the food is off the grill.
5. Start a fire early • Wyman notes that starting the fire early heats the grill evenly. This applies to any heat source, be it briquettes, hardwood, or gas.
6. Use hardwood charcoal, not briquettes, if possible • If you cook with a live fire, instead of gas, use charcoal, says Robert Del Grande of Annie’s and The Grove Café in Houston. “The more irregular pieces of wood (not pressed tar) the better,” he adds. “Hardwood generally burns hotter, longer, and cleaner (than briquettes), with no resin notes.” Weman agrees. “I prefer to use hardwood,” he says, “but if you use briquettes, you can always add a piece or two of hardwood for flavor and smoke.”
7. Use a syringe to season • Norman Van Aken of Norman in Orlando recommends using this tool to inject marinade into large cuts of meat. “You would never arrive with salty water on the surface,” he says. He advises using a large syringe, “the kind a vet would use for a horse,” and be sure to filter solids from the salt water beforehand so you don’t clog the syringe.
8. Use a spice seasoning • Don’t apply wet sauces to meat before cooking, Herrsheimer and Hamilton cautioned. These will burn and can change the texture of the meat. Instead, use a dry massage to add flavor without making changes to the texture, and keep the sauce, if any, after the food has finished on the grill. Van Aken notes that while commercial dry salves are readily available, “it’s very easy to get a variety of blends on your own. This gives you a story to tell while you wait for the food to cook. ”
9. Use a meat thermometer • Always use a meat thermometer to cook any type of meat or poultry to the correct internal temperature, Mixon says. Hersheimer and Hamilton like to keep a thermometer, along with a timer, salt and pepper, and a flashlight (for evening grilling) in a covered plastic container near, but not near, the grill.
10. Change the temperature across the grill • While Mixon emphasizes that the temperature of the grill should remain constant, Del Grande notes that while it is generally constant, it does not have to be the same for all parts of the grill. He suggests “sliding the embers to one side or the other, or even back to front.” “This gives you a range of temperatures, allowing you to scan the hot side and a slow finish on the colder side.” He adds: “This works for gas grills too. Do not move all the knobs completely. Use a lower setting on one part of the grill ”.
11. Cook with the grill lid open • There are two schools of thought on this. Lowering the hood will cook food faster and use fuel more efficiently. On the other hand, notes Del Grande, “once you close the hood, the roast becomes toasty. Also, you can’t see the food, so you never know if something has caught fire. “
12. Create an airflow • “One of the most overlooked grill tools, but I think the most important,” says Wyman, “especially with hardwood, it’s something to create airflow.” This ensures that the wood receives all the oxygen it needs to burn. He uses a woven cane fan from Mexico, but says using a blower or even shaking a piece of cardboard would work too.
13. Don’t forget the vegetables • Raymond Hook, a New York specialty food consultant, reminds the steakhouse that poultry, meat, and seafood aren’t the only things that grill well. Among her favorites: potato fry, dressed with garlic and rosemary, in oil and grilled until tender; Oiled Cherry Tomatoes “Roast until charred and soft, then toss with a delicious vinaigrette”; and Radicchio, “stuffed with mozzarella, in oil and grilled until done.”
14. Remember the music • Music is essential, says Van Aken (and he’s an accomplished blues harmonica player himself). “When you’re with your friends around the grill, you don’t want to do without a playlist,” he says. His favorite barbecue music is a mix of classic blues (eg Buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughan) and country classics (eg Chris Stapleton and George Jones).