Summer is quickly (and sadly) coming to an end. But, there are still a few more weeks of prime grilling season meaning there’s still time to throw that last minute BBQ bash. Rather than whip up your standard burger and hot dogs this Labor Day cookout, why not kick it up a notch and be a grill master?
How do you do that? Well, we reached out to some of Bergen County’s top chefs to get their secret tips on whipping up delicious decadent dishes right on your backyard grill. But, first we had to know what was the number one blunder people make when it comes to grilling. “The biggest mistake people make is covering the grill,” Chef Carlos Valdez of Hackensack’s Oceanaire told OMJ. “It can make you overcook your meat and you need to watch what you are cooking.”
So, what should you do? Here are 10 tips from Chef Carlos Valdez:
1. Preheat grill at high heat
Why? Grilling is a high heat cooking technique.
2. Clean your grill
A good quality brush that is not beat up so it doesn’t leave any wires behind. No food particles should be left behind.
3. Always season your grill
Wrap an old kitchen towel to your tongs tightly. Lightly moisten with canola or vegetable oil.
4. Season your steaks heavier than fish
A good mix is 2:1 kosher salt to black cracked pepper.
5. Lower temp to medium once you are ready to cook
This will minimize scorching.
6. Do not keep moving and/or turning meat
Watch side of your meat to gage how far up meat cooks. You can lift and turn 90 degrees without flipping for a nice restaurant quality grill mark.
7. Flip only once
Flipping more is cooking a cooked surface twice. It creates a tough surface.
8. Buy a good meat thermometer
Rare meat should be 125 degrees, medium rare 130-135, medium 140, medium well 150, well 160.
9. For steaks allow to sit 2-4 minutes
This allows for carry over cooking which adds about five more degrees. If you cut right off the grill, the steak bleeds out.
10. Remember fish is delicate
Once it is down if it doesn’t let go of the grill it is not ready to flip or turn. Patience will make it look pretty.