Perfect Your Grilling Game
Fire up the grill: It’s barbecue season. You might think you have the best burgers on the block, but even experienced cooks can improve their techniques with advice from an expert. Landmarc Chef Marc Murphy, author of “Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking,” shares 10 insider secrets for getting your grilling game on.
Get to Know Your Grill
My top tip? Know your grill. If it’s gas, you need to figure out where your hot spots are. If it’s wood or coal, practice a lot.
Season Season Season
I always tell people to season more than you’re used to — a lot of the seasoning falls off into the fire. And if you don’t put salt and pepper on your protein before you cook, it doesn’t do any good afterward.
Gas or Coal?
For quick grilling, gas is preferable. I love coal; those Webers are fun. But I would always rather cook over wood. It’s a lot more work getting it going, but it gives off a better flavor.
Those little hibachis are cute, but I don’t think they’re legal on fire escapes. Your best bet is to go to Landmarc, where we have a grill and it’s legal. I’d hate for you to burn down the neighbor’s house apartment! At home in the city, you can also put a cast-iron grill pan on the stove. It does a good job.
You can do pretty much anything on a grill. I cook scallions, onions, and shallots, then make vinaigrettes (it gives a nice smoky flavor). One of my favorite vegetables is asparagus, which gets caramelized and tastes better when it’s grilled. I also grill hard fruits like peaches and pineapple, topped with whipped mascarpone or vanilla ice cream.
Tools of the Trade
You need to have long tongs, so that your fingers don’t burn. I also like the $6 leather gloves that welders use. They’re easier to manipulate when they’re broken in.
You can use a little lighter fluid to get things started, but let it burn off. Whatever you do, don’t use charcoals with lighter fluid in them. They’re nasty. A good idea is to get a chimney — it makes the coals really hot.
Best Chicken Recipe
Everyone loves beer-can chicken. I dump out a little beer, add a couple garlic cloves, then insert the can into the chicken and stand it up on a sheet pan in the grill. Season the outside with whatever you want. The beer evaporates and keeps the chicken moist.
Let the meat rest after you take it off the grill. The juices even out and won’t run onto your cutting board. The larger the piece of meat, the longer you want to let it sit. Tent it with a piece of tin foil to keep it warm.
I recommend wearing shoes: you don’t want to step on a hot ember. I did that once and got a hole in my foot. I’ve never gone barefoot again.