The temperature isn’t the only thing heating up in the West Valley this summer. With school out and schedules a little less hectic, summer is the perfect time to forgo cooking in the kitchen and fire up the outdoor grill. And with Father’s Day around the corner, why not give Dad the day off and take over the grilling duties while he relaxes on his special day?
Sterling Smith* — U.S. Navy veteran, author, pitmaster and founder of competitive cooking team Loot N’ Booty BBQ in Arizona, which produces a line of internationally award-winning BBQ seasonings and sauces for the backyard griller to the competition cook — offers five simple tips to grill up perfectly cooked meats for Father’s Day, or any da:
- Get Set Up for Success — Start with a clean working area to prep the meats and always cook on a clean grill. Any leftover ash from a previous cook should be dumped out (once cooled, of course) and the grill grates themselves should be brushed free of any debris. “Cooking starts with preparation, and a clean grill is a happy grill,” explains Smith. “Starting with a clean grill allows you to produce the best tasting meat without any lingering flavors from a previous cook.”
- Good Meals Start with Good Meat — Meat selection is another key component of a great grilled meal. “Buy the best quality meat you can afford,” says Smith. “There are some great small farms around the country that produce incredible products, but even your local grocery store will carry high-grade meats.” When it comes to making burgers, opt for an 80/20 mixture that will produce a juicy patty. For steak, look for some marbling that will add to the flavor and juiciness of the end result as well. “Fat is flavor,” adds Smith.
- Season it Up — Seasoning or marinating the protein is where cooks can get creative with their flavors. Think outside the box and consider what the meat will be paired with for a complete meal. A simple salt, pepper and garlic powder mixture is a great start, but everyone’s taste preferences vary so feel free to experiment with different seasonings, marinades, and sauces. “It’s also important to season your meat well in advance of cooking,” says Smith, adding, “The salt in the seasoning will attract the moisture in the meat, causing it to ‘sweat.’ During this process, it will be reabsorbed into meat, producing a juicer, more flavorful product.”
- Get Grillin’ — If using a propane grill,start and pre-heat it to the desired cooking temperature before placing meat on the grill.If using a charcoal grill, heat the coals in a charcoal chimney for about 20 to 25 minutes. Then dump them into the base of the grill and allow the grill to come up to cooking temperature before adding the meat. This allows any impurities to burn off prior to cooking, which will help achieve a cleaner tasting product.
- Let it Rest — After the meat leaves the grill, it’s time to dig in, right? Hold up! Even though the smell of a freshly grilled burger or steak is likely causing some drool by this point, rest time is key. “Remove the meat from the grill, put it on a plate and cover it loosely with a piece of tinfoil,” says Smith. “Resting the meat allows it to retain more moisture.”
Grilling should be about fun and good food, so don’t stress! With these tips, even novice grillers can produce a delicious grilled feast.
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*About Loot N’ Booty BBQ: Sterling Smith, U.S. Navy Veteran, barbecue teacher, cookbook author, and owner/pit master of Loot N’ Booty BBQ, has been competing on the professional barbeque circuit since 2009. In that time, Sterling and his family have traveled nationally and internationally to compete in major competitions including the Jack Daniel’s World BBQ Invitational, where they won the title of World Pork Champion, the American Royal World Series of BBQ, where they won Reserve Grand Champion out of more than 500 professional BBQ teams and won the title of Chicken World Champion and The Kingsford Australian World BBQ Invitational where they won the title of Brisket World Champion. Sterling has won 40 Grand and Reserve Grand Championship Awards, more than 800 top ten awards and is the two-time Australian Invitational Lamb Champion. Loot N’ Booty BBQ is a four-time Arizona BBQ Team of the Year and was featured on an episode of Destination America Channel’s Smoked, where Sterling and his wife Molly won the title of “Smoked BBQ Boss.” Loot N’ Booty BBQ rubs and sauces are sold nationally and internationally at hundreds of retailers worldwide. Sterling also teaches competition and backyard style BBQ classes at locations across the world. For more information visit: www.lootnbootybbq.com