Be a Better BarbecuerJuly 6, 2012
With summer now at its height, we’re thinking about backyard cookouts and getting our grill on. But what can a guy do to up his grilling game this season? For easy tips on making a more succulent steak, we turned to the char-masters at The Cove’s own Mesa Grill. This satellite outpost of starchef Bobby Flay’s New York original lends saucy southwest flare to a variety of perfectly cooked prime cuts of meat. And who could have beef with that? Here, one of the restaurant’s new top chefs, Edwin Roman, weighs in with his tips:
1. Choose the right cut of meat: There’s no way around it: Some cuts of meat are just better for grilling than others. Strip steaks, a personal favorite, give a perfect combination of fat and meat for a great flavor on the grill, while filet mignon, say, does way better on the stovetop in a pan because it is so lean.
2. Season early: Sometimes a little good salt is all that a steak needs. But if you throw salt on right before you put it on the grill, you end up leaving the stuff all over the grill, not on the steak. So you’ve got to salt your meat even before you start the coals, about 15 minutes before putting the beef on the fire. That gives the salt a chance to dissolve and evenly flavor your meat.
3. Use charcoal: Gas grills work great for cooking food but can sometimes impart a gas flavor to your meat. Go for natural hardwood charcoal, instead, and start it in one of those metal chimney contraptions. Don’t use lighter fluid; it defeats the purpose of using hardwood charcoal. You want to smell the steak roasting over the coals. TIPS: Some swear by mesquite soaked in apple juice, others say you cook your steak too fast to get any benefit. Wood chips can add flavor if you are smoking your meat but that usually takes a lot more time than it takes to grill a steak. Play around, and see if you can taste and enjoy the difference.
4. Don’t touch it! This is one of the biggest mistakes a home cook makes. Everyone wants to keep checking the food to see if it is done. Leave it alone. Know how thick your steak is and roughly how long it takes to cook. Flip it once and give it a quarter turn once on each side. The less you touch it, the better chance you have of cooking it properly.