Top Chefs’ BBQ Tips

Best Cuts
Porterhouse = 2 steaks in one
Sirloin strip = juicy, flavorful and tender
Rib steak = richest in flavor
Filet mignon = most tender

Prime steaks usually don’t need much seasoning. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper and cook ‘em high and fast. For some of the other cuts—London broil (round), skirt steak (flank), etc.—a longer/slower cooking may do best to break down the toughness. But don’t be afraid, those cuts can be just as appetizing. Always be sure to slice against the grain for the tenderest bites.

Prime Steaks

Recommended by Gillis and George Poll, owners of Bryant & Cooper Steakhouse.

First and foremost, porterhouse steak. This steak encompasses two of the most desirable cuts which are filet mignon and the sirloin strip. imageIf cut thick enough (2½ inches equals approx. 40-45 oz.), this steak offers a perfect portion for two. The sirloin strip is a perfect choice for an individual steak—juicy, tender and rich in flavor. The rib steak is the richest steak in flavor and is the choice for individuals who want a real barbecue steak experience. Last but far from least is filet mignon, the most tender.

When choosing your steaks, Anthony, our master butcher recommends looking for marbling in the muscle tissue. Marbling is the term used for defining the amount of fat in the muscle. The more marbling, the more fat to keep the steak moist and tender when grilling. USDA Prime has the highest amount of fat content and USDA Choice has a lesser amount. Bryant & Cooper Steakhouse and Market only uses USDA Prime.

When grilling your choice of steak, Roberto, our Executive Chef, recommends a very hot grill. imageIf using gas, preheat on high and if using charcoal or wood, it is ready when the embers are glowing red. Once the grill is ready, sprinkle the steak with Kosher or sea salt, and place on grill.

Chef Roberto recommends using tongs instead of a fork, this way the meat is not punctured, releasing its natural juices. Our chef suggests turning steak every 4 to 5 minutes until the desired temperature is reached. Once the temperature is reached, let meat stand a minute or two so the juices can be reabsorbed.

Now, for an authentic steakhouse barbecue use a splash of clarified butter over the steak, serve and enjoy.

Best Burgers

As told by Bobby Flay, renowned Chef, TV personality and owner of Bobby’s Burger Palace

Chop meat
“My cut of choice for burgers is ground chuck, preferably Certified Angus. I like chuck because of its relatively high fat content—when you look for it in your market, check to see that it is listed as 80 percent lean, 20 percent fat. There is one thing you can’t deny: Fat carries flavor and moisture. So if you want a juicy, flavorful burger, chuck is definitely the way to go.

Forming burgers
When forming your burgers, try to mold the meat into uniform, fairly flat patties that are no more than ¾ inch thick. Don’t overwork, squeeze or compress the meat as you shape it or you run the risk of ending up with dry, tough burgers. Once the patties are shaped, make a deep depression in the center of each burger with your thumb. imageThis does two things. One, it prevents flying saucer-shaped burgers—you know the ones I am talking about: all puffed up and bulging in the center. What’s the thing you want to do when you see one of those? Press it down with a spatula as it cooks. And what happens when you do that? All the juices run out and you end up with a compacted, dry hockey puck. Two, making the indentation in the patties helps keep your reflexes in check and ensures juicy, moist burgers. As the meat cooks and expands, the depression magically disappears, leaving you with beautifully shaped and cooked burgers.”

To season or not to season?
I season my burgers with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and that’s it. Although I will occasionally crust the exterior of a burger with a spice rub (i.e. BBP’s Dallas Burger), I never mix any spices, herbs or condiments into the meat itself. Nor do I add ingredients such as onions or garlic or fillers such as eggs or breadcrumbs. imageMy reasoning for this is pretty simple: Do all of that and you’ll have a meatloaf. And if you wanted meatloaf, well than you should just go make that instead. What I’m talking about here is a burger, pure and simple.”

You can make the perfect burger just about anywhere, inside or out. Grilling is a great method; the large surface of a grill area makes it especially useful when feeding a crowd. My favorite way to cook a burger indoors is on cast iron, either in a skillet or grill pan, or on a griddle.”

How to tell when it’s done
To me, a perfect beef burger is pink and juicy in the middle and cooked somewhere between medium-rare and medium, which is an internal temperature of about 145 degrees F.”

Personally, I am a cheese fanatic. I want cheese on my burger and lots of it. I am almost always game for a cheeseburger made with American cheese—I just love how it melts— but there are other cheeses that can bring a lot more flavor to your burger, such as: Blue, Cheddar, Feta, Fontina, Gruyere/Swiss, Manchego, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Provolone and Queso Fresco.

My perfect bun has to be soft, either with or without sesame seeds. I also think the taste and the texture of buns are best when lightly toasted.

For more tips like these, check out one of Bobby’s many cookbooks, Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries & Shakes Cookbook.

Quick French Fries Tips
As told by Aziz Yosofi, Owner, European Republic, Huntington

1. For best tasting fries, go with Idaho potatoes, preferably Eagle Eyes, if you can get them.

2. Be sure to remove the skin. Slice potatoes into equal sized wedges.

3. Heat canola oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Cook twice, 3 minutes each time.

5. Salt after frying, then serve.


Mixed together by John Robertson, Owner, Sexy Salad, Hauppauge,

This is the year 2010. We have come a long way since the best we could do was a good potato salad. We have the availability of fresh ingredients in every town. There are great salad dressings available that can go as far as your imagination will take you. Want to keep it even simpler? I love salads that are prepared with as few ingredients as possible that have a lot of flavor, color and texture. Be careful of using the right amount of dressing in your salads. imageA drenched salad is anything but sexy. Be sure to have a variety of salad categories at your party. The world is not built on pasta alone.

I make a Greek yogurt dressing that I mix with cucumbers for a flavorful and light cucumber salad. Add wasabi for a nice zap that no one sees coming. For an even easier time, you can pick up a pint of this yogurt sauce at your favorite Greek restaurant.

Fresh tomatoes at the local market? Chop a little garlic, mince a taste of red onion, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), salt and pepper, your favorite vinegar and you’re ready to move on to your next project.

Everyone these days seems to love chic peas. Rinse a can with cool water. Add fresh local tomatoes, spinach, finely crumbled feta, a little EVOO and red vinegar and you’ve just made another outstanding side salad.

I also love spring asparagus. imageQuickly blanch them with some sautéed garlic and onions with teriyaki glaze, add them to a salad with almonds and roasted red peppers for additional color, and the applause will come in.

It’s very important to make these types of salads the day they are to be consumed. I know there are people out there who say a tomato salad that is marinated for a day is better that fresh made. But considering the acid of vinegar or lemon juice will start breaking down the integrity of produce immediately, I wouldn’t do it.

One thing you need to be sure of is keeping your salads and the ingredients as cold as possible while you are preparing and storing. This could be critical in giving that real fresh, clean, homemade taste. We say, “cold as a cucumber” for a reason. They’re supposed to be cold!


Dished up by Jean Mackenzie, Owner, Clamman Seafood Market, Southampton.

When you walk into a seafood market that has a lobster tank, look into the water to see how they look. If the lobsters are moving around, it may indicate the water temperature is too high. Nice cold water makes the lobster hunker down and stay put. Lobsters that come from cold water (Canada, Maine) and are housed in cold water have the firmest and sweetest meat. The lobsters also may have long antennae that wave at you from the lobster tank. imageThis means that they haven’t been tanked for a long period of time and they are fresh and meaty. If you like big claws, then ask them to pick out a male lobster for you—they have a larger crusher claw than the female; however, the female has a beautiful wide meaty tail in comparison to the skinny tail of the male. Make your choice!

There’s been a lot of talk about large lobsters being tough. That is an old wives’ tale. If a big lobster is tough, it’s because someone cooked it too long. I personally love a 2 1/2 -3 lb lobster.

When cooking a lobster or lobsters, take a big pot and put only a few inches of water in the bottom. Steam the lobster, don’t boil them. Boiling introduces a lot of water into the meat and can remove flavor. Add some celery stalks, a splash of beer or white wine and turn up the heat. When the water is boiling and producing steam, remove the top and place the lobsters into the pot tail first. Cover and wait for the steam to again sneak out from under the cover and then start timing. For 1 ¼ to 1 ½ lb lobsters, time 12-15 minutes; for 2-3lbers, time 17-23 minutes; for 4-6 lbers, time 30 minutes total. The lobster will turn a bright red color and when done the antennae will pull out easily if tugged upon.

Most people think of melted drawn butter when eating a lobster and that is yummy. We also offer a lemon mayo sauce and a mayo mustard sauce. They are all fabulous and my favorite is just a spritz of lemon juice from a sweet juicy lemon. Cole slaw on the side and a slice of garlic bread, glass of white wine or champagne.

Raw shellfish is heavenly, the feel of an oyster in the mouth is truly exquisite and the briny aftertaste can create memories! imageOysters can be found locally and also can be found coming from many different countries, Belon, Kumomoto, Gigamoto, Mecox.

Steamers are best steamed; their meat is soft and sensitive and bursts in the mouth. Be sure to rinse them in the cooking juices to remove any sand left in the “neck.” Hard clams (little necks), the smallest of the hard clams, are great both raw on the half shell with a little cocktail sauce or steamed in a splash of olive oil, red pepper flakes and parsley (never add salt). As they steam open, they drizzle their juices into the oil and herbs creating a wonderful broth for dipping your crusty bread into.

imageSpring and summer in the Hamptons brings, bluefish, whiting, porgie, mahi, tuna, swordfish, tilefish among many others especially fresh grey sole, the Cadillac of fillets.

Cooking fish whole is easy and fun, grilling or frying. It takes a little practice to learn how to avoid the bones, but it’s well worth the effort.

What To Bring

LI Pulse Staff Picks:

BYOB is a good thing, but seriously, don’t show up with a case of Bud cans. Get beer with some flavor. A mixed case of specialty beers is a great choice. Keep with the neighborly feeling of bbq—beer made right here in our own backyard, especially Blue Point and Brooklyn—are both found easily at supermarkets and beer distributors across the Island.
Of course there should be the usual rum, gin and vodka for mixed and frozen drinks, but don’t forget tequila to mix or drink on ice. Another good and versatile party-starter is Rumple Minze, peppermint schnapps at it’s best. Old standbuys include mudslide, margharita and other frozen drink mixers.

Non Alcoholic
Not everyone needs booze to have fun. And some of the partygoers may be just too young. Try a homemade ice tea or lemonade.

Grilled corn on the cob (Long Island corn of course)
Fisherman packet on the grill (1/2 corn cob, shrimp, cherry tomatoes, scallops, mussels, baby clams, butter and spices all rolled up for individual servings in tin foil)

Ladderball (you may have to look that one up)

Blue Moon
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Anything Brooklyn Brewery or Blue Point Brewery

Vodka Gimlet
Pisco Sour
Strawberry daiquiri
Wasabi bloody mary

Don’t forget
Bug spray and tiki torches
Towels (for pool party)
Umbrellas for shade
Unobtrusive music
Everyone agrees: firepits are cool

Last Licks

For a good summer beer try Brooklyn’s Pennant Ale ‘55 or Red Stripe. You also can’t go wrong with Blue Point’s Toasted Lager. And no matter the time of year, a pint o’ Guinness is always tasty. Need more? Find yourself some Magic Hat No.9, New Castle Brown Ale or anything you can find from Sixpoint Craft Ales.

Find your next favorite:
NoFo Craft Beer Fest
Aug. 14 at Martha Clara
Vineyards, Jamesport

Pisco Sour

3 measures of pure Quebranta
1 measure of gum syrup
1 measure of key lime juice
1/6 of a measure of an egg white
4 ice cubes
3 drops of Angostura Bitters

Place all the ingredients, except for the Angostura Bitters, in the order listed above in a cocktail shaker. Shake for 15 seconds. Strain and serve in a chilled, 8 oz. cocktail glass. Decorate the top with 3 drops of Angostura Bitters.

Recipe courtesy of