When celeb chef Michael Symon volunteers to give you his best grilling tips, you sit up and take notes. That’s what we did when we talked with The Chew host and owner of several restaurants, including the meat-centric Roast in Detroit, Michigan.
So without further ado, here’s Chef Symon, laying on his grilling wisdom.
1. Prepare well in advance
One of the most important things is to get set up the day before, get organized. You don’t want to be stressed at your own party.
2. Give yourself 30 to 40 minutes to heat up your grill
Get the grill started 30 to 40 minutes before you want to put food on it so it’s nice and hot, it’s seasoned correctly, and you’re in a good place. (Symon prefers charcoal and wood.)
3. Set up hot and warm zones
I like to set one side of the grill to medium-high to high heat and get it going, and keep one side of the grill a little bit cool … I think the biggest mistake is that people get the whole grill incredibly hot, [and] then they have nowhere to go.
I set it up 50-50. I use charcoal and wood, so I would put that on one side of the grill only and get it to a very high heat. Then I would put nothing on the other side, because you’ll get natural radiated heat from the side that is on.
4. Bring meat to room temperature before you cook it
When you’re cooking meat, let it get to room temperature about 30 minutes before you start.
5. Char on the hot side, finish on the warm side
Get [your meat] on the grill, grill one side, let it char, and flip it in about three to four minutes. Move it to the cooler side of the grill, and cook it to the temp you want. [A common mistake people make is] moving the meat around too much. Typically one flip is all you need. Then, let that meat rest for 10 minutes so the juices redistribute before you serve.
6. Get burger meat with some fat — really
[Another mistake is] buying lean burgers instead of buying burgers with a little more fat in it, and as it cooks, the fat bastes the meat.
7. Cut doesn’t always mean quality or great taste
I think sometimes people get confused. You always want to buy the highest quality of meat, but I don’t think cut means quality. For instance, the most expensive cut of beef is beef tenderloin, [but] it’s the least flavorful cut in the entire steer. Skirt steak is the most inexpensive cut, and it has incredible flavor. Save your money, buy the skirt steak, and season it up correctly. Like I said, let it come to room temperature before you cook it, cut it against the grain after it’s rested, and you’ll get a steak that has 10 times the flavor of a tenderloin and comes in at about a 10th of the price.
8. Grill with fruit too
I’m loving pork chops and peaches. Make a quick brine with peach iced tea, brine your pork chops, [and] grill them with the peaches.