After years of throwing barbecues for Steak Club, here are the 5 tips to become a Grill Master.
It’s only by learning from mistakes that we continue to grow.
Thus, learning from earlier mistakes (and thankfully saved by the quality of our beef), I became a grill master.
But first a little bit of education.
It should be noted, that grilling is very different from barbecue.
Grilling involves cooking tender, fatty cuts of beef, over a hot flame. This is “normally” a fast process (depending on the cut of the size of course (more on this below).
As for barbecue, you can check out the other post I’ve created at -> How to smoke brisket.
1. Preparing the barbecue
Your grill or barbecue is your all-in-one kitchen, the centerpiece of any outdoor barbecue.
Whether you’re using an open top barbecue, grill weber, or in our case offset smoker, there are some rules when it comes to becoming a grill master.
The first is to do a thorough cleaning of the grill. You can either use vinegar to scrub off old residue, or the more efficient preferred method of scraping off residue at high temperatures while you’re waiting for the beef to rest.
2. Preparing the Fire & Timing
Preparing the fire (if you have gas, you’re missing out on the flavor) is where most people get their timing wrong.
When people arrive to your barbecue, they’re hungry.
Missing the agreed to meal-time (I normally serve 1 hour after the start of the event) will only give you added stress from hungry friends.
So here are two suggestions.
The first, use briquettes (brykiet), not wooden coal (węgiel drewny). These will last longer, and give you a much higher temperature -> this will guarantee the perfect grilled steak.
The second, buy yourself a chimney starter. This will cut down the time of getting coals started from 30-40 min., down to 10 min.
3. Temperature Control & Preparing
Did you purchase briquettes as instructed? Good.
Now the key to not burning the meat (or buns for that matter), is to setup two temperature zones.
Let’s call one, the hot zone (1), and the second, the warm zone (2).
The overall temperature of the barbecue should be 250°C-280°C.
However, by putting the coals to one side (not in the middle), you can adjust what needs to go where.
If something is burning but not yet cooked through (especially true with thick steaks, check Step 4), move what you’re cooking to the warm zone until done.
A good example of this is placing burger buns into the warm zone (2)
In addition, to achieve grill master perfection, there are a two more steps to take when preparing your cuts for the grill.
First, do not put cold meat onto the grill! Let the beef come to room temperature (you can only do this with beef/ruminants), as this will ensure an even cook throughout.
Second, season your beef with salt before & pepper after.
The larger the cut, the more seasoning you should add. This simple combination will bring out the full potential of that beefy flavor (beef fat is the second factor).
4. Becoming a Grill Master
How is the ideal beef cut supposed to be grilled?
The objective when cooking beef, should have a crispy outside (but not charred), with a pink, rare inside.
This maximizes the flavor of the beef.
When you begin, the beef will be loose. As it begins to cook through, you will feel the cut become “firmer“.
You’re looking for rare to medium-rare.
Not hard, but not loose.
You can use a thermometer (the internal temperature should read around 60-65°C), however, on a hot grill, steaks should take no longer than 5-8 minutes to cook.
With enough experience you will get a feel for when your steaks are ready.
If anyone asks for well-done, ignore them. Beef is supposed to be enjoyed rare (medium if you have to). Well-done is disrespecting the cow.
There should be a special mention for thick steaks, such as tomahawk steaks, bistecca fiorentinna, whole picanha, or generally any cut over 800g.
Remember our temperature zones?
You will want to first sear the outside in the hot zone (1), then before charring occurs, move the cut over the the warm zone(2). Keep pressing your steak, over time you will begin to feel the beef “toughen” up.
Be sure to pull it off before it gets too hard!
5. Let it Rest
Grilling beef on a barbecue is quick once you have the fire going.
Patience is required however!
Once you’ve taken your burger or steak off the grill, let it rest.
Why should you let beef rest after grilling?
Waiting 5 min. will allow the fat and juices contained in your seared steak to “reabsorb”. The secret to how restaurants cool their steaks.
If you slice a steak or bite into a burger too quickly, juicy fat will come pouring out.
If you wait long enough, and allow the beef to rest, these fats will reabsorb (becoming less liquid), ensuring every bite is packed full of juicy flavor.
You’ve made. That’s it!.
With these 5 tips to becoming a grill master, your friends & family will be talking about your barbecues for years to come.
That is of course, by combining the best quality beef in Europe with these 5 tips to became a true grill master.
Next time we’ll tell you the secret to making the best burger in Europe.
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Good luck with your next barbecue!