Peter Kaminsky is an award-winning chef and the author of The Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook, which compiles the best recipes and tips from the past 100 years of New York Times articles—meaning that he certainly knows how to get the most from a barbeque. Lucky for us, he was kind enough to share some of his most valuable grilling tips so we can rule Labor Day weekend BBQ scene. Ever wondered why you should be using charcoal or pondered over the importance of using a thermometer instead of winging it? He's got your answers, as well as some upcoming recipes that showcase his advice—they're also designed to be paired with Terrazas des los Andes wines, which go well with smoky, charred flavors.
“Successful Grilling is about the combination of the best ingredients and the right technique to create flavor," says Kaminsky.
Check out Peter's grilling tips below and then check back later in the week to put them into practice with his trio of grilling recipes for Pork Pimenton Sliders with Bacon Jam, Double Cut Pork Chops with Malbec Marmalade, and Grilled Whole Fish with Lemon and Tarragon.
Brine to keep dry cuts juicy on the grill: Meats like pork chops and white meat chicken can get dry quickly on the grill, so brining is a great way to make them more juicy and flavorful. When I was thinking about pairing a pork chop with Terrazas de los Andes Malbec, I decided to use a double-cut pork chop and brine it with a mixture of water, salt and maple syrup before I put it on the grill. The result tasted great and looked gorgeous. The red fruit and smoky flavors in the Terrazas Malbec went perfectly with the tender meat. To brine, you can soak meats in the brining solution overnight in the refrigerator, or do like pitmasters do in barbecue competitions, and use an injection briner (available in cooking stores) and speed up the process to just a few seconds.
Big meat, low heat: This is true for the double-cut pork chop or any meat. Americans have a tendency to fire up the grill and char away, but especially for large cuts turning down the heat is essential to get juicy meat and a super flavorful crust.
Use a griddle or frying pan the grill: In Argentina they often use a plancha, a type of griddle, which gave me an idea for a burger recipe to pair with Terrazas Malbec: ground pork burger with pimenton (smoked paprika). I pressed chopped onions into the burger before putting it on a skillet on the grill. By putting the onions on the outside of the burger, they have direct contact with the heat and get that sweet, caramelized flavor that goes so well with the wine. If I had put the burger on the grill directly, the onions would have fallen off.
Use a thermometer: A digital thermometer is one of the most important tools I can recommend. The chefs in Argentina grill almost every day over huge charcoal and wood fires, so they’re masters at knowing when their meat is cooked to perfection, but that only comes with years of practice. A thermometer takes the guess work out of the equation so there are no more of those “Is it done yet?” arguments.
Sauces and relishes: For my pork slider, I created a bacon jam that really pulls the flavors together deliciously with the Terrazas Malbec, for the pork chop I made a Malbec Marmelade that would be great on lots of different meats.