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If you can reliably grill a steak to medium-rare or a sausage until it’s just ready to burst, then you’re ready for the next level. Go from a BBQ rookie to a grill sergeant with these smart tips.
1. Glaze Vegetables with Mayo: Chef Nate Appleman swears by coating vegetables with a mayonnaise-based marinade. It creates a beautifully blistered crust when grilled. His recipe is delicious on asparagus, broccoli and fennel.
2. Give Vegetables an Ice Bath: Before grilling, chill vegetables down in ice water. It will ensure that they come off the grill moist and crisp.
3. Tenderize with Onion Juice: If you’re grilling lean meats like chicken breast or lamb, tenderize the meat by adding some onion juice or pureed onion to the marinade.
4. Leave Some Fat on Steaks: Chef Tim Love always leaves at least a quarter-inch of fat around steaks and chops in order to keep them juicy. He also advises scoring the fat in advance so that the meat doesn’t curl up while cooking.
5. Baste with Herbs: Tie fresh herbs to a basting brush for extra flavor.
6. Only Flip Once: Meat won’t develop killer grill marks if you flip it every 10 seconds. To achieve crosshatch greatness, rotate steaks 90 degrees after a few minutes of grilling.
7. Grill Your Sauce: For the ultimate smoky feast, thread ingredients for a sauce onto a skewer and grill them alongside the meat. While the meat is resting, puree the ingredients in a blender.
8. Cook Over Embers: Chef Michael Chiarello warns against cooking over flames—you’ll wind up with food that tastes like creosote. Instead, cook over red-hot embers.
9. Wrap Fish: Instead of losing half of a flaky fish fillet to the grilling gods, wrap delicate fish in briny grape leaves like Anita Lo does in her fantastic bluefish recipe.
10. Protect Your Bones: Wrap exposed bones in foil to keep them from charring.