Now that the weather has finally decided to get its shit together, we are now firmly planted in the middle of grilling season, which means that it is time to gather around the grill with beer, fire, and most important — meat. Whether or not you’ve scraped all of last year’s burnt crap from your own grill in preparation yet, it’s time to bite the bullet and prep for all those barbecues by the pool this summer.
If you really suck at grilling, this is the year for you to finally improve your skills. We asked nine of Dallas’ best chefs to share their favorite meats and veggies to grill, along with their best tips for grilling your own goodness at home.
Stephen Rogers, Gemma
“We like to cook almost everything on the grill — steaks, burgers, fish and vegetables. It's simple, flavorful and usually healthy. We cooked a whole salmon on the grill last night. It's easy and delicious without a lot of fuss. We season it heavily with salt and grill it on a high heat. You only need to cook it for 5 minutes on each side. We love salmon served medium-rare, usually finished with a little fresh lemon.”
Danyele McPherson, Remedy
“I grill a lot of flank steaks and pork chops at home. When you’re grilling, don’t psych yourself out, and don’t be afraid to use plenty of salt. Some of the best steaks I’ve ever had were grilled by people who tell me how much they don't know how to cook!”
Cody Sharp, The Standard Pour
“I typically grill a lot of vegetables and pork products, particularly spare ribs. I did just make some tofu al pastor tacos that were pretty delicious. If I had one piece of grilling advice, it would be to avoid gas grills if you can. They don’t add anything to whatever you’re grilling. Buy charcoal or wood and learn to manipulate your flame and heat. It’s much more worth it. If you can swing it, get Japanese charcoal. It burns incredibly hot for a long time.”
Oliver Sitrin, The Blind Butcher
“I love to grill strips, rib-eyes and lamb T-bones with corn on the cob (always in the husk) and asparagus. For the best results, clear your grill away of excess crud, and lightly lubricate the grilling surface. Season your food, and find the hot spots and warm spots in your grill so that you don’t burn anything. Ultimately, just enjoy your time on the grill and use a food thermometer if you’re not sure when things are done.”
Michael Ehlert, Front Room Tavern
“My favorite thing to grill is beer can chicken. You can do this on a grill or a smoker, but I prefer a combination method. Toast a few spices, like whole cumin and coriander, then mix with salt and white pepper, maybe make a paste of fresh garlic and thyme. Combine your spices into a paste, and rub them all over two whole chickens and let them marinate for an hour. Open two 12-ounce cans of beer, and drink one third of each one. Now slide the whole chicken over the can, so the can is resting in the cavity and helps the bird to "stand up" on the grill. Do the same for the second bird and close the top of the grill. Let the birds cook for about an hour, come back and check the temp. Remove the birds and let them rest for about 20 minutes and then start to pull them apart. Some of the skin will be blackened, that's ok. You can serve the meat in sections — leg, thigh, breast, wing — or just pull it all off the bone and shred it. White bread and pickles are great accompaniments, as is an Alabama-style white BBQ sauce with mayo, vinegar, horseradish, cracked black pepper and celery seed. Also great with a few grilled apples and of course, another cold beer.”
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SHOW ME HOW
Andrew Bell, exec chef DISH Preston Hollow
“At home if I have a choice, I still grill halibut or yellowtail collars. For best results, use wood or charcoal and make sure grill is very hot.”
Andrew Powers, Dee Lincoln Steak
"My favorite thing to grill is vegetables, especially squash. Zucchini and yellow squash take on such a unique flavor when grilled. Corn, eggplant, mushrooms are also exceptional when grilled over mesquite. All you need is to marinate with a little soy sauce, salt and pepper. Make sure your grill is well seasoned and hot enough. Use mesquite wood or kindling, and try and stay away from gas and charcoal.”
Jon Thompson, Sugarbacon Proper Kitchen (opening soon in McKinney)
"At home I like to do whole grilled fish or ribeyes. For the ribeyes I like to put a dry rub on them the night before, let them temper (come up to room temperature) for about two hours. I only grill with wood, and get the grill nice and hot before adding the steaks. Flip them once only, and let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. For the fish, stuff the cavity with fresh herbs and lemons, season generously on the outside, and rub with olive oil.”
Sandra Bussey, BBBop
“My favorite thing to grill is kalbi, or Korean short ribs. When cooking meat with a sugary marinade, don't grill under direct heat. Push your coals to the side or if using a gas grill, turn on the flames on the side and leave the one right under off.”