It’s time for Dad to put on his apron and grill dinner!
For a Father’s Day treat, get the grill ready for him. Give it a thorough cleaning, replace the gas burners, which should have been done last year, add the lava rock if needed and find the spatula, meat fork and basting brush; his special spices, seasonings and BBQ sauce, or maybe buy him a whole new set. If you own a smoker, get it out, clean it up, buy new hickory chips or mesquite wood to add flavor — you can also use apple wood and orange peels. Now let Dad loose to BBQ.
Every corner of the country seems to have its own BBQ style. In New Jersey, most people like a wet sweeter/spicy red BBQ sauce. In the Carolinas they use a vinegar base and mustard sauce. In Kentucky, they usually start with a dry rub and smoke their BBQ on low heat, then add a wet sauce at the end to finish. In Texas, they also start with a dry rub and slow smoke for hours and hours, but, then they raise the heat and start basting for the last hour or two.
BBQ is not just ribs, chicken, steak, venison, and brisket. Grilled vegetables, shrimp, salmon, and swordfish are excellent. Don’t forget the tuna with a fresh mango chutney on top. I have even had grilled sliced calamari over a fresh arugula salad with sliced hot peppers and cherry tomatoes, which is delicious. If you feeling really ambitious, what about a whole baby pig, which has to slow smoke for seven to eight hours over medium heat; larger pigs can take up 12 hours. For a real treat, try grilled peaches or pineapple topped with your favorite ice cream. Don’t limit yourself, you can use your grill to bake whole chickens, turkey breast, etc. — the sky’s the limit.
When smoking a whole fish, stuff it with lemons and fresh herbs, wrap it in foil and place in your smoker. This can also be done on a low-flame BBQ grill with a cover. Try making your own smoked jerky, use beef, venison, or turkey strips, slow smoked over very low heat, and flavor it with a dry rub.
Here are eight tips to grill like a pro:
- When cooking hamburgers, let them cook on one side then turn them only once. Never press your hamburgers. If you do, you are pressing out all the great tasting juices and your burger will be dry.
- Use a 80/20 or a 70/30 blend of chop meat. The 20 % or 30% is the amount of fat in the meat. The higher the fat content, the juicier the burger.
- As for steaks, look for a steak with good marbling. It will be more tender, flavorful and juicier.
- When making chicken wings, I suggest par baking them in the oven at 375 for 25 minutes and then add your BBQ sauce or hot sauce, etc.; finish on the grill.
- If you use charcoal instead of gas, get the coal white hot before you start to cook. Safety alert: never add liquid fire starter while the fire is lit to make it a larger flame. The flame can run right back to the can.
- If you are camping and using a fire pit, start with small twigs, and make a box-shape fire, so when the coals are white hot, all you have to do is put the grill screen over the fire and you will have even heat.
- Also, when camping, bring your largest frying pan, then try taking a fresh whole fish (scaled) dip it into pancake batter and fry it with some oil — delicious!
- When you are done grilling, let the fire burn off anything left on the grill, then turn it off and brush the grill so you ready for your next BBQ.
And always be sure to keep some of Dad’s favorite cold beverages on hand too for a truly happy afternoon.
Grilled Pork Chops with Grilled Apples & Peaches
- 4 6-oz. thick pork chops
- Dash salt & pepper
- sliced thick granny smith apple
- firm peaches cut in half
- ¼ cup Craisins
- ¼ cup apple jack
- teaspoon sugar
- Season pork chops, place on grill and cook to medium, about 12 minutes, (6 minutes each side).
- While the chops are cooking, place apples and peaches on grill. They cook fairly quickly, about 3-4 minutes.
- Place a sauce pan on the grill, add the apple jack, Craisins and sugar, heat mixture, it will slightly thicken.
- Add the grilled apples & peaches, sauté for two to three minutes then pour over cooked pork chops and serve.
Chef Murray G. Dychtwald, MACF, has been an Executive Chef and Food Service Consultant for over 35 years. He is currently the owner of Restaurant Rescue, a Food Service Consulting firm and equipment sales to the food service industry. Visit chefmurray.com or call 732-539-8724.