Michael Showers is the Executive Chef at High West Distillery in Park City, Utah and delivers advice on how to barbecue and stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic. Showers reveals his top tips and biggest mistakes to avoid while barbecuing.
Some call it the “High Hamburger Holiday” while others may simply say, “the Fourth of July,” no matter what you may call it, grilling will inexorably be part of the day’s festivities. To help you grill we’ve asked experts for the best advice and recipes to make sure you have the most un-grill-ievable summer yet.
“Prep work can make grilling a lot more fun; have everything ready to go from your meat and seasoning, your tools, and your back up beer so you can stay near the grill and keep an eye on things.”
Fox News: What is one of the biggest mistakes people make when heating/turning on their grill?
Michael Colston, VP of product at Traeger: With cooking in general, we find that not allowing a cooking device (oven, gas grill, or wood fired grill) to preheat will have the biggest impact to the results of your cook. To achieve the best cook, it is important to give your grill adequate time to heat up, which means paying close attention to your temperature gauges. We recommend between 10 – 15 minutes before placing food on the grill.
James Peisker and Chris Carter Porter Road co-founders: Not having enough fuel, whether it’s gas or charcoal, can be a real bummer. When using charcoal, never use lighter fluid or a briquette with lighter fluid, as it can give the food a chemical flavor; I prefer to use lump charcoal (my favorite brand is FOGO) and a chimney starter to create super hot coals.
Prep work can make grilling a lot more fun; have everything ready to go from your meat and seasoning, your tools, and your back up beer so you can stay near the grill and keep an eye on things. Think ahead about your timing so the grill is hot at the right time and you don’t miss the window to get the beautiful char.
Fox News: What is a big mistakes when it comes to grill maintenance?
Colston: Regular cleanings are an important part of any grill maintenance. A buildup of grease (from the foods you cook) or creosote (a natural compound that is created when wood is burned) over time can quickly ruin even the best planned cook. We recommend a quick check of your grill before turning it on can save you from wasting away a good piece of meat. This includes a visual glance at the drip tray (a dedicated piece in our grill that separates the fire from the food and collects and distributes the grease into a separate container) and after every 20 hours of cooking a quick cleaning of the firepot where the wood fire occurs.
Fox News: When cooking burgers and hotdogs on a grill – what’s your #1 piece of advice?
Peisker and Carter: Don’t smash your burgers when grilling on the grates and use a good metal grill spatula. Cook your hot dogs over indirect or low heat (the top rack is good for this). A nice slow roast is best. If you like them extra crispy you can always throw them over the direct heat before taking them off. Never use a fork to turn your meat, it will poke holes that will cause juices to run out resulting in a dry steak. I prefer to use tongs instead. Always let your meat rest for 5-10 minutes after grilling before cutting to keep it moist. Be patient and let your grill get hot enough – you need the heat to develop char and flavor. Quality ingredients matter as much on the grill as they do in the kitchen. Upgrading your meat and other ingredients is an easy way to take your cookout to the next level.
Fox News: Why should people invest in a good grill? What should they look for?
Colston: When you are investing in any appliance or grill that means you’re likely to have it around for a while. I’d encourage anyone who is shopping to look for features that you find most appealing, features that will make it easy for you to get out, use, and most importantly, enjoy your grill. For us, a wood fired grill produces the most flavor and is the easiest to use, so it’s worth the extra cost from older technology grills. Even in wood fired grills, though, there are a variety of features from different brands, some that make it much more convenient to use. A [bluetooth or Wi-Fi] connected grill allows you to use it from anywhere, which we find frees you from only using your grill on the weekends. Couple this with the use of a digital controller and an integrated food temperature probe, where setting and monitoring a wider variety of temperatures is simple, means you can easily cook more variety and types of food than just hotdogs and burgers. Cooking ribs, baking, or even a pizza is now simple. That creates a lot of value for many people, so trading up and investing in a Traeger is easy.
Grilled steak with radish and pickled onion salad
Courtesy of James Peisker and Chris Carter, Porter Road
- 12-16 oz of Steak per two people
- Grape seed oil
- Black pepper
- 3 fresh watermelon radishes
- Fresh parsley
- Some really good olive oil
- Flake salt
- 1 large red onion
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 cup granulated sugar
- Red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Sliced red onion
For the salad:
Thinly slice 3 fresh watermelon radishes (on a mandolin if possible). Set aside. Pick parsley leaves whole. Set aside.
For the pickled onion:
Peel and slice the red onion. Set aside. Pour a 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup of vinegar into a stainless steel saucepan or skillet with sides. Do not use aluminum. Add in a 1/8 cup of granulated sugar, a teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of red pepper flake. Slow boil until both salt and sugar are dissolved. Place sliced red onion into a sauce pot or skillet. As soon as it returns to a simmer remove from the heat. Let the onion and pickling liquid chill in the fridge. Use once cool.
For the grilled steak:
Take your steak out of the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature. For quick sear steaks allow 30 minutes, for thicker cuts allow an hour. While your grill is heating up, season your steak with a generous amount of coarse salt, and freshly ground pepper. Some of the seasoning will fall off while you’re cooking, so don’t be scared to have a heavy hand. When the grill is hot, throw your steak on. Don’t about flare ups, you want your steak to get a nice char, without burning. Using tongs (please don’t use a grill fork), to flip the steak when it is about halfway cooked. Depending on your desired doneness this will be 1-3 minutes for thin steaks like Skirt and Flap, and 3-5 for thicker cut items like New York Strips and Ribeye. Once you’ve got a nice sear on both sides, use an instant read thermometer to measure the internal temperature. If you’re still not there, move the cut to indirect heat to continue cooking. Remove from the grill and allow to rest for a minimum of 5 minutes before slicing.
Place the sliced meat on a plate and top with radishes, parsley, and pickled red onion. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of flake salt.
Grilled Utah lamb T-bones with mint chimichurri & heirloom tomatoes
Courtesy: Michael Showers, executive chef at the High West Saloon in Park City, Utah
(High West Saloon)
- 5 to 6 lamb t-bones
- Mint chimichurri (make ahead and store – recipe below)
- 2 heirloom tomatoes
- Sea salt & black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
Mint Chimichurri Batched Recipe:
- 2 pound of mint
- 2 pound of Italian parsley
- 2 cups of garlic
- 1 cup of shallots
- 2 cup sherry vinegar
- 1/2 cup chili flakes
- 1/2 cup smoked paprika
Blitz (blend in food processor) all herbs with sherry vinegar. Blitz garlic and shallots and blend the two with vinegar and spice mixture.
Three hours before grilling, coat all lamb T-bones with the chimichurri and let sit in the fridge to marinate. Turn on grill to high and season coated lamb with sea salt and pepper. Slice tomatoes and plate, drizzle lightly with EVOO and salt & pepper. Put T-bones on a hot grill and grill each side for 90 seconds. Plate on top of tomatoes and enjoy!!
The Proper Whiskey barbecue sauce
(Proper No. 12 Irish Whiskey)
- 1/2 cup Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 3 cups ketchup
- 1/3 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 tsp hot pepper sauce
Combine and bring all to a boil in a sauce pot. Let it simmer for 20 minutes. Serve.
Emily DeCiccio is a reporter and video producer for Fox News Digital Originals. Tweet her @EmilyDeCiccio.