Grilling Secrets from an Organic Chef
5 Grill Tips for Memorial Day: From Chef Gerry
Contributed by Chef Gerry Herrfurth, a private chef who specializes in gourmet organic and locally-sourced, sustainable food preparation, and special diets.
1) How to Keeping Food from Sticking to the BBQ Grill: Are your grill grates brushed and clean? Minimum food residue and carbon build up is the first step to successful grilling, so take the time and put some elbow grease into scraping those grill grates, on both sides, with a sturdy wire brush before firing it up.
2) Preheat the Grill Properly: Right before cooking on a grill put a small amount of olive oil on a tightly folded clean cloth or towel and lightly brush the oil on the area of the grill you’ll be cooking on (If the grill is too hot you can hold the oiled towel with tongs). You should see wisps of smoke coming off the grill grates, this lets you know the grill is hot enough to start cooking on.
3) Marinades and Sauces: Dry any marinated food very well before cooking or experiment with simpler “dry” marinades such as seasoning salts, herbs and small amounts of good olive oil. Wet and sugary marinades and sauces such as Teriyaki sauce and BBQ sauce tend to prevent food from properly searing on a hot grill. Excess marinades drip into flames causing flare-ups which result in black soot on your food and reduced cooking temperatures. They also build up on grill grates resulting in burnt carbon and excess carcinogens. If you enjoy the taste of certain sauces and dressings, brush or squeeze them on right after the food comes of the grill or baste seared meats and vegetables with small amounts of sauce while cooking.
4) The Crucial Temperature for Meat, Fish or Veggies: When it comes to cooking and searing properly it is crucial to let that piece of meat, fish or vegetable get close to room temperature before grilling it. Yes that’s right; take the food out of the fridge at least an hour (but no more the two hours) before throwing it on a hot grill. Food that is in the 60 to 70 degree temperature range will sear easier then food at refrigerator temperature (32-40 degrees).
5) Don’t Overcrowd the Grill and Be Patient! Overcrowding results in lower cooking temperatures on the grill and flare-ups. Additionally, be patient! Don’t immediately poke and prod food with tongs, forks and spatulas after laying it on a hot grill. Place the food on the grill and let the sear happen. If you pay attention, th e food will let you know when to flip it. Moisture beads rising to the top of vegetables, burgers and chicken breast is a sign that the food needs to be turned. Always try to gently flip or turn food with tongs or a spatula. Try not to squeeze food or poke it with a fork, this causes juices to run out of the meat and into the fire, again causing the dreaded flare up as well as less juicier food.
You can reach Chef Gerry at “firstname.lastname@example.org”
A Katonah Green Party Tip: Buy Compostable and Biodegradable Tableware for parties. You can find Potato Starch Cutlery, Biodegradable PLA Cups and Sugarcane Stalk Plates at TABLE Local Market in Bedford Hills.
Wishing you all a lovely Memorial Day weekend!
See some of you Sunday at the Wildman Steve Brill Foraging Tour of John Jay Homestead!