Try fruits and veggies on the grill. Stage says any fruit or vegetable that won’t fall through the grate on the grill will work, but this time of year he especially enjoys grilled asparagus, and corn on the cob a little later in the season.
Manhandle the meat. Try to avoid poking the meat and flipping it too early. “If it doesn’t want to be flipped, it lets you know. If it’s sticking to the grill just leave it alone, don’t flip it. It will release on its own when it’s ready to flip,” Stage says.
Buy just any meat. “I like to look for marbling,” Stage says. “I’m looking for a decent fat content.” You want to see the white flecks of fat throughout the meat, he says, which will self-baste the meat while cooking, and fat is the flavor of the meat.
Lose your patience. This goes hand in hand with not manhandling the meat. Cooking on the grill takes patience, Stage says, and that’s when people flip the meat too early. “That’s the wrong approach,” he says.
Use expensive cuts, especially if it’s your first time cooking on a grill. “Keep it simple,” Stage says. “Do a burger. That way if you screw it up, you’re not out a lot of money. That will give you a good understanding of how the fire and grill works.”
Keeping all these do’s and don’ts in mind, as with anything, the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. “Whether it’s a gas or charcoal grill, once you understand the nuance of it and understand the fire, get a good piece of meat, and have a little patience,” Stage says. “That’s how you get good at it.”
Main image: Chef John Stage, owner of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and, most recently, Flip Bird, Egg @ The Bird, and Apizza Regionale (and oversees Bar Granger), located in Gotham Market at The Ashland in Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Courtesy Chef John Stage
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