Eat This

How Dallas Chefs Grill: The Tools, the Meat and the Techniques

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Tips for the Novice Here we asked each chef to impart a bit of wisdom on the finer points for grilling, smoking or barbecuing.

Luscher: Medium hot coals, allow meat to come to room temperature before grilling, season well and oil it up, allow for carry over cooking and most importantly, let the meat rest after cooking!

Uygur: Natural mesquite charcoal, with no lighter fluid (that stuff is really not necessary and it smells horrible). I use a little newspaper, a little bit of cooking oil and one of those hand-held chimney-style charcoal starters. This really speeds up the process of getting your grill ready to go without any funky aroma from lighter fluid.

Provost: Make sure the grill is really hot (for great marks). Also, make sure the surface is clean. Turn on the grill for about 15 minutes, then use a grill brush followed by an oiled rag with some long tongs to wipe the surface of the grill.

Know where the hot spots are and where the cooler points are. Once you have marked your food (I start with all of my food pointing right, and then once it releases, turn them so that they point to the left to get the cross marks), you can move the item to a cooler area to cook the inside. You can also decrease the heat after you have turned your food over.

I prefer to grill with gas. I don't like the chemicals from charcoal, nor lighter fluid.

Smith: Timing is everything! Start the things that take longer first (steaks, chops etc.). Then, add things in the order of time necessary to cook (fish, shrimp, veggies). Try to finish everything at about the same time so it's served at the same time. I use simple techniques: salt, pepper, maybe garlic and oil mostly. The point of grilling, to me anyway, is to taste the meat and what the flame and smoke add to it. Also, with large items (chickens, bone in roasts, briskets) start them on high heat to bring the internal temp up and then go to low heat. They'll cook more evenly and stay juicy.

Balke: Let the charcoal or wood burn down until there's a good bed of coals. No fire. This helps cook evenly and minimizes the flare-ups. Always have a good grill brush, clean grates and a good pair of heavy-duty tongs.

Salum: Start with great product and don't overheat the grill, so things are marked nicely but there's no burnt flavor. Avoid marinades with too much sugar that will stick to the grill and burn.

Wilcox: Marinate the meat the day before grilling: rosemary, oregano, thyme, flat leaf parsley, garlic, shallots and olive oil. Vacuum seal packages so the marinade is in constant contact with meat. Then, grill over high heat, caramelizing the outsides of the meat and sealing in seasonings and marinade.

Next: Favorite Cuts

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.