Can you smell that? There’s a tinge of smoke and charcoal in the air. Summer is about to be here and with it the season of grilling. Before you fire up that grill though, find out how to take your backyard cookout to the next level whether you’re grilling meat, seafood or strictly vegetables.
First comes the equipment. Chef Michael Mandato of Polo Steakhouse at the Garden City Hotel suggests using a smoker and not propane power.
“You get so much more control over it and it’s more flavorful,” Mandato said.
After you’ve got the equipment down it’s all about marinades and technique.
Be generous with your fuel source when your starting it up, unless you want your food to taste like ash or flames you don’t want to refuel while cooking.
Marinate your seafood, but not for long or you’ll end up cooking the fish in the marinade. On the grill, cook fish for about 10 minutes for each inch of thickness. Don’t move the fish until it’s fully seared or it could fall apart.
Marinade, marinade, marinade. You don’t want to dry out your meat. You can marinate it for a few hours or as long as 48 hours.
“You could even put some beer in with the chicken,” Mandato said.
For a one-inch thick piece of minute think about 13 minutes to reach medium, 18 for one and half. Those are general guidelines as it all depends on your grill and weather conditions.
If you’re cooking chicken or burgers test the meat with your finger to find out if it’s done. If it feels soft it’s rare, if it’s hard you’ve overdone it, if it bounces back, it’s done. Remember you meat will keep cooking after you take it off the grill.
Pre-heating your grill is especially importance here. Vegetables will cook quickly. A good way to avoid this is to cook your vegetables in foil as the foil will keep them from losing their juices. If you’re not using foil use moderate heat, and a small flame and if you cook your vegetables at the same time as your meat or seafood keep the vegetables away from the direct heat.
Now, that you’ve got the basics down, check out Mandato’s homemade pork brine recipe.