Chef Phillip Bryant's Ten Tips For a Perfect Backyard Barbecue
The fruits -- and meats -- of your labor.
Courtesy of Phillip Bryant
In every part of the United States people are rejoicing at the end of a long, tough winter and the start of the best season of all -- grilling season. Granted, a harsh winter for us means we had to break out a sweatshirt from time to time, but Miamians still love to grill their hearts out. With Father's Day coming, we figured a lot of dads would be gifted with a brand new grill, so we asked chef Phillip Bryant to give us some advice.
Chef Bryant's the go-to man on all things grill-related. The talented toque was the executive chef at Swine Southern Table & Bar until recently, where he grilled all manner of proteins for a carnivorous Coral Gables crowd. From what grill to buy (hint: you don't need that schmancy thousand-dollar job), to how to season your meat, Bryant's tips will make sure your next barbecue is a successful one.
10. Don't Waste Your Money on an Expensive Grill
I know a lot of people love to get those large propane grills that come with burners and an oven. Why? I already have a kitchen in my house.
For me, the best kind of grill to get is a simple Weber that holds charcoal. I know some guys that pull off the best barbecue I've had on a small, simple grill. I like something simple that goes in the backyard that I don't have to worry too much about.
9. Charcoal All the Way
It's true that propane is easier to control, but you get that chemical taste.The flavor of your food is better with charcoal because it's a natural heat source, plus you get that smokiness with charcoal. I prefer hardwood chunks or the kind of charcoal briquettes that come from wood.
8. Fat is Your Friend
The main thing to keep in mind when grilling is that fat is your friend. You don't want to put a filet mignon on a grill -- the fat will go right through. Instead, choose rib eyes and skirt steaks. That outer fat cap will caramelize and protect the meat, keeping it juicy.
7. I'm a Huge Fan of Pork
I'm a big grilling freak and I like almost anything on the grill, but pork works exceptionally well. I am a huge fan of pork, especially fatty cuts. That's why ribs work so well. I actually prefer spare ribs rather than baby backs because they have more fat and flavor. Plus, they're cheaper.
6. Stay Away From Delicate Fish
Fish with a higher fat and oil content, ones that are "fishier", for lack of a better word, work best on the grill. Try striped bass, mahi, salmon on the grill and steer away from the flounders and snappers. The grill will overpower the delicate flavors of those fish.
5. Cauliflower on the Grill is Amazing
There's a reason why corn works so well on a grill. It's a firm, won't get mushy or fall apart, and it's a summer staple in most part of the country. But, while everyone loves grilled corn, there's something even more delicious -- grilled cauliflower. Just add a little salt, pepper, oilve oil and grill it up. It's phenomenal.
4. Got mangoes? Grill Them!
Fruit, especially melons, work well on a grill, but try mangoes. Take a slightly underripe mango -- one that's just about ready to eat, peel it and cut away from the pit in big sections. Toss the fruit with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. For a little kick, I like to add some cayenne. and cook on a hot, greased grill until it chars on one side, turn over and let it char, then eat as it.
3. Go Simple on the Marinade
A lot of people, myself included, do some crazy marinades. But I had a revelation when a buddy did some of the best churrasco I've ever had, and he used just salt and pepper. Now, I use just salt, pepper, olive oil, and some fresh citrus, which tenderizes the meat and brightens it up, as well.
I'll just use salt, pepper, and olive oil to cook the meat. There's no real formula about it. Go liberally on the seasoning, but don't make a crust. When the meat's done, I'll put a little finishing salt and a little citrus. You want to taste the meat and the smoke and that's it. You really don't need to overcomplicate things.
2. Don't Walk Away From the Grill
I made that mistake one too many times. Turn away for just one minute and everything will be on fire. Especially when you're cooking fatty cuts of meat.
1. Don't Rush Things
A lot of people rush, when barbecuing. They don't let the coals get hot enough (you should have a white hot coal bed), and they try to rush the meat. Grilling is all about smoking the meat and going low and slow. You have to take your time and baby the meat. Hey, cold beer and lawn chairs were invented for a reason.
Chef Bryant wants to know how your barbecue turned out. Share photos of your best grilling masterpieces (and drool over his) on his Instagram account @southernchef79.
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