Achieve grilling greatness - tips, recipes, advice and inspiration from professional chefs and backyard masters
Some people maintain that Memorial Day officially marks the start of grilling season and Labor Day, the end. Those people, for the most part, are wrong. Some folks maintain the flame in snowdrifts up to their thighs. Others won't haul out the hibachi until late September because it'll finally be cool enough to cook outside without wilting like a hothouse gardenia.
So what we're saying is, so long as our spatula isn't actively frozen or melted to our hands, and monsoon spray does not prevent us from lighting a charcoal chimney, we're going to be outdoors, putting flame to food. Why don't you just come along and join us?
Catch up on the rest of our great cookout and picnic tips below, and if you run into a sticky grilling situation - we're here to help. Share your burning questions in the comments or Tweet us @eatocracy and we'll have your festivities back on track in no time.
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Some folks assert that Memorial Day weekend is the official beginning to grilling season.
While those folks are sitting indoors twiddling their spatulas until May, we'll be out stretching our toes in the freshly mowed grass and perfuming the air with eau de charcoal.
A burger is certainly an excellent, inaugural item to set aflame to, but the world is your (grilled) oyster; beef up your repertoire with Pat LaFrieda's favorite, grill-friendly cuts of meat.
LaFrieda is one of the stars of Food Network's "Meat Men" and the owner of Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, a 90-year-old wholesale butchery that supplies more than 500 restaurants with every cut of meat you can imagine.
Five Picks Of Meat To Purchase for Grilling Season: Pat LaFrieda
Ask Justin Timineri what he does for a living and he will tell you that he has the best government job available. It may be difficult to argue with him once you hear that Timineri's office is a kitchen, and instead of paper and pens he budgets for pots and pans.
"I'm the only full time agricultural chef in the entire country," says Timineri.
As the Executive Chef for Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services it is Timineri's job to promote awareness of Florida's agricultural goods. He does this by emphasizing what is in season. "We need to understand the growing seasons," Timineri explains. "We need to go to the market first, find what's fresh, what's seasonably available and what looks the best, buy that and then come home and find a recipe to match what's in season."
By now you’ve probably spent the summer putting perfect grill marks on skirt steaks and even smoked an entire pork shoulder.
Perhaps you have even made your own barbecue sauce and realized it's better than anything you could buy in a jar. Or maybe they know you by name when you walk into your local grill supply store and you count the days until the weekend when you can get up before dawn to start cooking barbecue that wont be ready until sundown.
But deep down you know that until you cook a whole pig you just have been playing it safe.
Scorpacciata is a term that means consuming large amounts of a particular local ingredient while it's in season. It's a good way to eat. Let Mario Batali pronounce it for you.
The first time my mother ever cooked for my father, she made okra. If the cuisine of my childhood provides any indication, there's an excellent chance that she defrosted a cube of pods, chucked them into a pot and boiled until floppy. Neither she nor my father is Southern or Indian in upbringing. Okra is not their birthright; they were clearly tempting fate.
My father chewed dutifully, likely made the appropriate "yummy" faces - until my mother took a bite and bolted for the sink. He quickly followed suit, and the story became the stuff of family legend - not to mention a family phobia.
Food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more and this week, we invite you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011. The week will culminate with a Secret Supper in New York City, and Eatocracy invites you to participate online starting Monday July 11th at 6:30 p.m. E.T.
A few dogs, some burgers, a steak, maybe a batch of your famous ribs - is there anything more American than cooking out? Well - the U.S. may have perfected the art of the backyard barbecue, but the rest of the world isn't exactly immune to the thrill of the grill. Nearly every nation on Earth puts heat to meat on a grate and makes a meal of it, and so far as we're concerned, the more the merrier.
Here's a ten stop tasting tour of some of the world's greatest grilling hot spots.
This Independence Day, make your cookout the cream of the corn crop.
Living up to the old adage "knee-high by the Fourth of July," fresh bushels of summer corn are set to arrive at the farmers markets and grocery stores just in time for the long holiday weekend.
Instead of boiling the heck out of them, chow down on the cobs straight from the grill, paint them with butter and call it a day.
Or you can go the way of Chef Julian Medina of Toloache Restaurant and spice the summertime favorite up with the popular Mexican street food approach of elote: grilled (or sometimes roasted) corn on the cob slathered with mayonnaise, dusted with salty queso fresco and chili powder, and served with a tangy twist of lime.
Dear next door neighbors,
I'm sure you are lovely and upstanding citizens, generous of spirit and cup and plate. I've not yet met you in person, but seemingly your friends come over each weekend to bask in the warm glow of your hospitality. They're surely not there for the food.
How do I know, without ever having tasted, that the things you grill have a flavor akin to scrapings from the crumb tray of Satan's toaster oven? Well, because each Saturday or Sunday afternoon since you moved in, at around five o'clock, my whippet, who's usually been basking in the dappled sunlight on the chaise by the back window suddenly stands bolt upright, sniffs furiously and flees toward the front of the apartment. Dogs, in my experience, tend to run in the direction of cooking meat, but she can hardly be blamed in this case.
You may not know this, because seemingly there's some sort of hell-borne current that guides airflow only in the direction of your house to mine, but your grill produces an acrid, evil smoke that vaults the eight foot fence between our backyards, hangs a sharp 90 degrees and roils into my kitchen until I can no longer breathe. Twice already, I have had to postpone my own dinner preparations and leave the house because the fumes - your fumes - were giving me a stabbing headache.
And you're doing all this with a gas grill. How in the world is that possible?
I have a few theories.
Scorched meat, over-marinated steak and just plain old over-fussiness can wreck a perfectly good cookout. Top chefs at the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival are here to help solve your grilling woes so you can have more time to hang out with your friends and family.
Be sure to catch up on the rest of our father-friendly tips to help you and the old man celebrate all weekend long.
Step away from the lighter fluid and drop the instant-light bag down on the ground.
Nothing stinks things up quite like a backyard cookout fueled by excess chemicals and sub-par charcoal. Not only does it reek like a trash fire in Hades - it's also fouling up the taste of your food.
We're here to save the scent and savoriness of your summer.