The Fourth of July is this weekend and we’re all pulling out the sparklers and firing up the grills in preparation for our gatherings with friends and family. Since we didn’t get a chance to celebrate last year, you probably want to make this year’s cookout special and pull out all the stops to make it memorable and extra delicious.
So, for some advice on how to be a “Grill Hero,” as he puts it, we talked to Chef Greg Antioho, the Executive Chef at Smith & Co. According to him, there are three distinct areas we need to focus on to create perfection on the grill.
1) Seasoning before grilling
If you are planning on serving poultry, then Chef Antioho says you should brine it the night before. The easiest way to do that is to use a 3-2-1 brine which is 3 gallons of water, 2 pounds of sugar, and 1 pound of salt -however, if you are working from home you should cut all those amounts in half. For steaks, the key is to season them for at least 20 minutes before putting them on the grill. If you are cooking up ribs, brisket, or things of that nature, season them with your dry rub the night before.
2) Quality is key
At the end of the day, the higher quality meat you have the better it will taste. Chef Antioho recommends you chose “choice grade” or better when it comes to beef. For pork there are several heritage breeds like Berkshire and Duroc that will guarantee good quality meet. As for chicken, the chef says you should stay as local as possible.
3) A perfectly cooked steak depends on a good meat thermometer
Chef Antioho says every good griller should have a good, meat thermometer that costs $20 or more. Investing in a good digital meat thermometer (he recommends the Thermoworks Mark 4 Pen which retails for around $70) will give you a faster, more accurate, temperature read. This can easily be the difference between a steak that is cooked medium instead of medium-rare. The two hallmarks you want to look for are the accuracy and speed at which it reads.
He also pointed out that a good BBQ host will always have a stocked cooler as well. That way if you make a mistake on the grill, people won’t care quite as much. Happy grilling!