Our Updated Guide to World-Class Grilling | Expert Grill Tips
When you’re a branch of the most award-winning custom kitchen design firm of the 21st century, the way you cook is very important. And when summer at the shore is your favorite time (and place) of the year, “getting your grill game” up to par is a must!
Making the leap from “throwing a few things on the barbecue” to becoming a grill master seems daunting. But like any journey worth taking, you shouldn’t look at it as a “leap” at all. Every skill is learned and mastered over the course of thousands of baby steps. It’s the same lifelong process that led Peter Salerno (CMKBD) to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a master craftsman and artisan. From his father’s cabinetry business in Sicily to Peter’s award-winning custom design firm in America, Peter’s journey to becoming a master wouldn’t have happened if his father hadn’t taken the first step so many years ago.
Using the Salerno backstory as inspiration, let’s break the journey to becoming a grill expert into smaller steps and look at what YOU can do to become a better grill cook this summer!
Expert Grilling Step 1: The Proper Grill
Peter Salerno is an avid grill enthusiast, with stellar grill equipment at his home, beach house, and award-winning showroom in Wyckoff, New Jersey. From Weber grills to Miele grill tops to La Cornue rotisseries, Peter understands that world-class grilling begins with world-class grill appliances.
Regardless of your budget, there is generally a ‘best option’ at most price points for grill hardware. Whether you choose gas, charcoal or pellet is entirely up to you and your personal taste; there are reputable reviews and ratings of every style readily available online. But whether you inevitably choose Weber, NexGrill, Kenmore or another brand, the type of grill is every bit as important as the brand.
You’re going to get a much different taste experience off a pellet grill, for example, than you would off charcoal. That doesn’t make one better than the other; it’s simply about your preference. Do you like the woodsier taste a pellet grill may provide, or the traditional smoke of a charcoal grill? Do you prefer the clean efficiency of a gas grill? There is no right answer to those questions – the only “correct” answer is what suits you best.
Each type of grill brings its own perks and its own unique cleaning and maintenance regimen; make sure you read up on these as well!
Expert Grilling Step 2: The Proper Ingredients
All else being equal, a great steak is going to taste better than a mediocre one. (Obviously, you can foul up a great steak as easily as a poor one, but let’s focus on the upside here!)
There really isn’t a ton to say here. It’s worth buying better quality raw ingredients. Spring for the fresher, in-season vegetables. Spend a few more dollars on the right cut of meat, or the higher-quality seasoning.
Expert Grilling Step 3: The Proper Technique
Learning how to grill properly is the most intimidating step in this process; don’t be scared! The Internet has made the journey from novice to expert grill cook so much simpler.
Start with the Epicurious Guide to Grilling. We love it. It’s a soup-to-nuts (or in this case, burger-to-chop) guide to grilling techniques and ingredients, from some of the best amateur and professional grillmasters today.
Get yourself a great Bluetooth or WiFi thermometer. Seriously. There are some amazing Bluetooth applications out there that gauge the temperature of your grill AND the internal temperate of what you’re grilling. Whether you’re cooking with the grill top open or closed, you can monitor the process of your meal no matter where you are. Gone are the days when you had to hover over your grill like a vulture, out of fear you’ve over-cooked!
We love the Weber iGrill 2 Bluetooth Thermometer; unless you’re on a smaller budget, it’s currently our favorite product on the market. If you’re looking for a WiFi-based alternative rather than connecting to Bluetooth, we suggest the ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Meat Thermometer
Expert Grilling Step 4: The Proper Accompaniments + Sides
Don’t just slather a ton of sauce on your beautifully grilled meat, vegetables or vegan substitutes! The right sides, dressings, dips and garnishes can make or break your summer grill meals.
We found an awesome treasure trove of Grilling Dips & Sauces courtesy of Patricia C. Wilson. We strongly encourage you to jump over to Patricia’s site and take a look at her grilling dips and sauces; there are some really unique, simple preparations that are going to ‘wow’ your dinner guests!
There’s also a wonderful piece on the Williams-Sonoma blog courtesy of their Test Kitchen chef, Belle English. Belle encourages us to “just buy the sauce or rub” – sometimes, there’s no reason to over-think the process! Belle does go on to provide some highly valuable advice on what sauces and rubs to pair with different types of meats, and how to incorporate them into your meal’s preparation.
Expert Grilling Step 5: The Proper Company
Well-prepared food is like any beautiful creation; it’s best when shared with others and consumed by people who will appreciate it! Expert grilling is meant to be shared with family, friends and loved ones.
So now that you’ve taken the first steps to improving your “grill skills”, it’s time to gather the people you care for around a big table, spread out some big family-style dishware, and have a summer grill celebration to remember!