Friday, July 10, 2009

Now That The Sun's Arrived, Here's Some Grilling Tips from The Pros

By Lara Bricker
Special to the Union Leader
PORTSMOUTH__After a cold and rainy June, many people are ready to fire up their grills for some summer time grilling.
A number of those people opt for already marinated steak, chicken or turkey from one of the growing number of specialty food shops around the state. But just because that meat is already marinated and seasoned doesn’t mean that grilling it up is a no-brainer, according to Justin Rosberg, co-owner of The Meat House.
A common mistake backyard grillers make with pre-marinated meats is opening the package over the grill, which can cause a “flare up” and burn the meat, Rosberg said. Meat that has been marinated for grilling shouldn’t need extra marinade applied during grilling.
“You don’t need to do anything with it,” Rosberg said.
He suggests placing the steak or chicken into a bowl and then using tongs to transfer it to a grill.
Other things to consider with steak tips that may be very tender to start with is that the “feel test” is not an accurate method to determine doneness. Rosberg recommends using a thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat on the grill. Using a fork to turn meat is not a good idea because it can pierce the exterior, causing the juices to escape.
Rosberg and his business partner Jason Parent, who are both originally from southern Maine, opened their first Meat House location in Portsmouth in August of 2003. Since then, they have expanded to include 10 locations around the state, southern Maine and Massachusetts, where they specialize in top quality meats and overwhelming customer service. “We wanted to bring a fine dining experience into a retail atmosphere,” Rosberg explained.
Both men are avid grillers who cook on the grill year round, which has given them a depth of experience in how to grill well, and what to avoid when grilling.
Before cooking any red meat on the grill, you should let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes, said Parent. By allowing the meat to come up to room temperature it will need less time on the grill, Parent said, which means that it won’t become overcooked on the outside while waiting for the inside to come up to the desired temperature. Along the same lines, it is important to let red meat rest after cooking to allow the juices to settle back into the meat.
With chicken an important thing to remember is not to turn it more than twice during grilling, Parent said.
“Chicken can attach to the grill,” he said of overturning.
If you’re opting for a choice steak instead of marinated steak tips, Parent suggests it is important to start with a high quality piece of meat. Cuts of steak that lend themselves well to grilling include ribeyes, porterhouse or sirloins. Filets are not a good choice for the grill because they are too lean.
“You’re going to look for a level of marbling,” Parent said. “Marbling really separates the grading system of beef. Something with a higher level of marbling is going to give you more of that robust meaty flavor that you’re looking for.”
Another thing to consider when grilling beef is that a dry aged beef cooks differently than a non dry aged beef, according to Chris Carragher, the director of marketing for the Meat House.
“You want to cook it a shorter period of time than you with a wet aged meat,” Carragher said, adding that is due to the fact that dry aged beef has less moisture. “When you put it on, it’s going to cook that much faster because the moisture is actually evaporated from the steak already.”
Most importantly, according to both Parent and Rosberg, is to take time to enjoy the experience of grilling.
“We’re in New England, our window of opportunity to truly be outside and take advantage of the warm days and long nights with friends and family, it’s here now,” Rosberg said. “The year flies by so quickly.”
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