- John Stage
is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
Memorial Day weekend - ready, set, go!
Your grill is so fresh and so clean (clean). You're chock-a-block full of red-hot grilling tips. You've got a bangin' burger recipe. Nothing could go wrong. Nothing will go wrong.
Juuuuust in case it does, meet our last line of defense: John Stage, the pitmaster and founder of the wildly acclaimed Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.
Onward and upward. Deep breaths. Keep calm and grill on. Remember: You hold the spatula in this relationship. Five Most Common Grilling Mistakes and How to Fix 'Em: John Stage 1. Lack of Flavor
"In order to build layers of flavor in your meat, always start with a rub and finish with a good BBQ sauce. For a basic rub, I use a combination of salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, brown sugar, garlic and onion powders, but use your imagination and be inventive with additional add-ins. When the meat’s near done, the rub gives the BBQ sauce something to stick to, bringing out the flavor.
Always use the BBQ sauce towards the end of grilling, during the last 10 to 20 minutes, as BBQ sauces often have high sugar content, some more than others, and will burn off before your meat is done.
For a quick homemade BBQ sauce, grab some ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard and honey - this combination will give you a sweet/savory/sour flavor combination." 2. Meat sticking to grill
"Always keep your grill grates clean in order to keep the meat from sticking while you are cooking. A helpful tip is to take a wire brush and hit the grill grates once you are done cooking while they are still hot - this will prevent hardened build-up on the grill grates as they cool and next time you are ready to cook, you will be good to go.
When cooking fish, steaks or chops, a light brush of vegetable oil on the meat will keep it from sticking – chicken has enough fat in its skin and does not need to be brushed with oil. Finally, resist the urge to over flip meat - if it doesn't easily flip, it's not ready." 3. Marinade mistake
"If you use a marinade, always be sure to pat your meat dry once you’ve removed it from the marinade. If marinated appropriately, the marinade will have already penetrated the meat with its flavor, sealing it inside. If the meat is too wet, you will create a steam effect and negate your grill efforts, not achieving that desired golden color.
Regarding marinade time frames, fish and shrimp need the least amount of time, about 1 to 2 hours, while beef, pork and chicken take longer, anywhere from 4 to 12 to 24 hours, depending on the cut. Place meat and marinade in a plastic Ziploc bag (with air removed) in the fridge." 4. Gas taste
"I’ve never been a fan of a gas grill, always preferring charcoal in order to obtain that true blue, outdoor grilling flavor in meat. With that said, always use a chimney starter versus lighter fluid to eliminate a gassy flavor.
If you do use lighter fluid, never spray it directly onto the hot coals, this is dangerous and doesn’t help. Also make sure coals are almost a grayish white before you start cooking over them. You can achieve better results grilling on a traditional $100 kettle Weber grill than you can with any expensive gas grill." 5. Flare-ups
"You don’t want flames to engulf the meat as it will cause the meat to taste charred and bitter, and you can easily control flare-ups with a few simple techniques. Always set up two tiers of coals, a hot one and a warm/cold one.
If you flare-up, just move the meat to the cooler safe harbor until the fire dies down. Then, you can adjust it back to the hotter side when it is safe.
Too many flare-ups can mean your meat is too close to the flame. Try also raising the height of your grill grates in order to prevent flare-ups."
Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down. More...