Adam Perry Lang; Courtesy 'Charred & Scruffed'
Formally trained chef turned renowned grilling expert Adam Perry Lang recently published Charred & Scruffed, a perfect handbook for savory summer foods, with new techniques for cooking meat, fish and poultry on the grill, plus fantastic sides. In an exclusive chat with Food & Wine Facebook fans this week, he revealed some of his best tips for Memorial Day weekend.
What does Charred & Scruffed mean?
Charring meat (a step beyond browning) lends a new dimension to meats. It cuts into the fat and is the cornerstone of why grilling is so appealing. Scruffing is the act of tearing and ripping the outside of the meat to increase surface area and the Maillard Reaction (a technical term for browning, which is the holy grail of meat cookery).
What are a few easy ways that home cooks can amp up flavor?
Layering flavor with lacquer sauces (thinned out with a bit of water) that coat lightly...repeat, repeat, repeat. Also use an herb brush and board dressings to coat slices when first cut.
What’s a quick rub that works well with chicken, fish and steak?
For a quick rub, try my Four Seasons blend from Charred and Scruffed: salt, garlic salt, black pepper and pinch of cayenne.
How do you check doneness for a variety of meats?
The most surefire way is to use an instant-read thermometer. When you use one, touch and press the meat lightly with your finger to get used to what your favorite doneness feels like.
What do you recommend for healthy grilling?
Using leaner cuts of meat such as rump steak. The key is watching the degree of doneness. These cuts do not tolerate more then rare–medium rare. Also, bear in mind that the oil bastes cook off and are used to preserve succulence and a golden brown hue. The oil drips off, and the flavor is left behind.
How do you keep a Memorial Day menu manageable?
Choose sides that can be made ahead so you can focus on the items on the grill. Also, coat meats by using a board dressing right when things come off the grill: a flavorful mix of olive oil, aromatics and acid (lemon or vinegar). It holds the temp of the meat longer and prevents it from drying out.
If there are only two sides at a party, what should they be?
A crunchy, spritely salad such as a green apple–and–cabbage slaw and something creamy and comforting like UK-style Baked Beans.
What do you like to drink at a cookout?
Water, whiskey or beer. Not necessarily in that order.