Maintain your grill, use the best beef (the Certified Angus Beef ® brand, of course!), and pay attention to degrees of doneness. Never stab or poke your steak with a fork. And quit turning it over and over and over. What else do you need to know for a great grilling season? Chef Michael Ollier‘s tips will elevate your technique from good to gourmet.
Chef Michael’s Top 5 Grill Tips
1) Make it and baste it! One of my favorite tips is an idea borrowed from Serious Barbecue expert, Chef Adam Perry Lang. When grilling, gather your favorite fresh herbs (like rosemary or parsley), tie to the end of a stick with kitchen twine, and use this new “brush” to baste the meat with a favorite sauce or garlic butter. This rustic technique lends a gentle herb taste that will enhance, rather than overpower, the beef.
2) Save the EVOO! — don’t cook off the benefits of extra virgin olive oil. I prefer to use regular cooking oils like canola or peanut oil on steaks when grilling. The smoke point is lower on olive oil, and it burns away more quickly. Canola can handle the higher heat much better.
3) Big buns? Fix the burger. To maintain a round burger when grilling, create a “well” in the middle when forming the patty. Ground beef puffs up in the center when it cooks, because juices rush to the middle and the outside retracts. For even patties that maintain a large, round shape, create an indentation in the center before you grill.
4) Keep it clean! Save time and additional work by using crumpled aluminum foil to clean the grates of your grill. You could use a brush — but then you will have to clean it, too. In between grilling sessions, just grab the tongs and and a crumpled ball of foil. Use it just like a grill brush and then toss the foil when finished. Simple.
5) Cast iron cooking. This is a technique I’m hot on. Cast iron holds heat, so it’s great for the grill. Put the pan on when you’re preheating the grill. It’s great for containing things that would fall through the grates — potatoes, onions or other vegetables. You can also cook steaks in this manner. Why would I do such a thing? Because grill marks are nice but a great crust will always trump cosmetic effect. The crust on the outside of the steak ensures the flavorful juices are sealed inside.