What's Memorial Day without the barbecue? Millions of us will fire up the charcoal and throw some steaks on the grill, beer in hand, as celebration of the unofficial start of summer (and in remembrance of our troops).
But how many of us can successfully navigate our way around the fire pit without reducing $100 worth of burgers and chicken to cremains? Thinking of last year's attempt at grilling, we decided to enlist the help of some of Miami's best chefs. Here are their tips on making your Memorial Day barbecue one to remember -- for the right reasons. (Not like last year when you set Aunt Hilda on fire.)
Andrew Carmellini, The Dutch
- Try using Coca-Cola in your overnight marinade -- it's the perfect American flavor and is great for sweetening and tenderizing.
- The perfect barbecue sauce is a combination of sweetness, spice and smoke.
- Always put chicken skin-side down on the grill.
Sean Brasel, Meat Market
- Time is your friend when you
barbecue. Give yourself days for the proper cure. The slower and longer
you cook, the better the meat breaks down and has more flavor.
- Try brining chicken for 24 hours in salt and maple syrup water with spicy seasonings.
- Always select the best cuts because even the best chef can't transform a bad piece of meat into good barbecue.
Jamie De Rosa, Tudor House
- The key to good barbecuing is having a sauce that can cover up your mistakes.
- Allow the coals or wood to stimulate a perfect rose color. Make sure there's no black smoke before cooking.
- Use a mop to baste poultry, ribs or anything you
intend on cooking slowly. This will ensure a good glaze and beautiful shine
to your barbecuing.
- Have your side dishes ready and the table set before you begin grilling. You want to be able to eat your barbecue when it's done.
- Good music and adult beverages always add to an enjoyable afternoon.
Brian Collaro, Prepared Foods Coordinator, Whole Foods Market
- Start with appetizers, like red bell peppers. Half a pepper lengthwise, remove
the stem, seeds and membrane and place a nice size chunk of cheese in
the middle. Slow cook the pepper and cheese until it is melty and
delicious. Fontina and aged provolone work well.
- Don't touch that meat -- It seems natural to turn the steaks or flip the
burgers over and over again, but don't. Wait for the juices to rise
to the top and flip it once.
Don't forget dessert. Grilled fruit makes an awesome dessert for a
summer barbecue. Try pineapple, peaches, mango and strawberries. If you are
grilling smaller fruits like strawberries, put them on a soaked bamboo
skewer so they are easy to turn.
- To get a
nice sear, your grill has got to be hot. Then, maintain a moderate heat
to cook through. Good color is great flavor.
Aaron Brooks, Edge Steak & Bar
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- To get a nice sear, your grill has got to be hot. Then, maintain a moderate heat to cook through. Good color is great flavor.
stop at meat.... Veggies don't get their fair share of grill time. Grill zucchini, kale and even lettuce. The list is endless.
Usually all they need is a splash of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt
and a squeeze of lemon to finish.
- What's a barbie without a couple of cold lagers? Have plenty of beer on hand.
Daniel Serfer, Blue Collar
- Make sure the grill is super hot and clean so your meat won't stick. Oil the grill or meat really well before you start.
- Use the right meat for the job. The best steaks for grilling are T-bones, porterhouse, or rib eye.
- Grill potatoes as a side dish. Poach whole potatoes in water for 20-30
minutes. Let the potatoes cool, then slice and place on the grill. The
key is to make sure the potatoes are cold. To save time, cook the potatoes the
night before, then cut them thin. Grill just until the potatoes get marks
- Grill lettuce. Radicchio or endive works well. Oil
the lettuce and grill until it's warm on the outside, but still chilled
on the inside.