Super Bowl Sunday is just a few days away and Miamians have one large advantage over just about any place in the country for the big game -- It's one of the few places warm enough to fire up the grill without your beer freezing inside the can!
With grilling for the game in mind, we asked meat maven Pat LaFrieda Jr., chief executive officer of Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, to give us some tips.
LaFrieda's company services the finest establishments around the country including Manhattan, Las Vegas, and right here in Miami. (You've probably seen the trucks parked beside your favorite restaurant.) Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors is also the sponsor of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival's Burger Bash.
When it comes to beef, LaFrieda's your man. His family business processes meat that feeds over 300,000 people a day, with two dry-aging rooms that house the equivalent of 80,000 steaks. LaFrieda's staff makes over 75,000 hamburgers daily from hundreds of custom blends, some of which Pat himself has created for major restaurants like Minetta Tavern, Union Square Cafe, Spotted Pig, and Shake Shack.
Here are Pat's suggestions for making your Super Bowl grilling party (or any Sunday grill-time) a touchdown.
1. Do not buy packaged ground beef. Buy small amounts of different cuts of meat (the LaFrieda family recipe is equal parts of chuck, flat iron, boneless short rib, and brisket), then grind at home in your KitchenAid. To find out your ultimate blend of meat, think about what kind of steak you like, then "have a conversation with your butcher," LaFrieda suggests.
2. Before cooking, only salt the meat, then add pepper before serving. Under high temperatures, the pepper could turn bitter. "It's made a huge difference. It's the best advice I ever got for cooking meat, in general."
3. Sliders are popular at parties, but most slider buns are made too big for pre-made sliders, which are one-two ounces of meat. To solve this problem, make three ounce sliders. Same goes for full-sized burgers. If your bun is too big, cut it to fit the meat. "If your first bite of burger is just bread and condiments, you've lost the battle."
4. "When grilling outdoors, start your fire at least a half hour before you start cooking to make sure you reach the temperature you need to get a good sear."
5. "When shopping for steak for a party, ask your butcher for outside skirt steak. There's nothing more economical or flavorful. It's not the most tender, but skirt steak is where all the flavor is." LaFrieda suggests slicing the steak and serving on a garlic roll.
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6. "A great, easy steak marinade is my five-minute marinade. Take equal parts brown sugar and balsamic vinegar, then add a few tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Make it into a syrupy mix, then dredge the steaks through. You'll get a great color and the sugar tenderizes the steak a bit."