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Kalamazoo Grillmaster Russ Faulk has put in countless hours manning the grill to earn his title. Here he shares some of his wisdom with three simple tips that will help improve your grilling.
1. Combine direct and indirect heat.
Direct grilling places the food above the fire. Indirect grilling places food away from the fire. Know when to use each technique, and when to use them in combination. Thin foods, like skirt steak or palliard chicken breast can be cooked quickly over high, direct heat. Thicker foods, like bone-in chicken thighs are great for indirect heat, especially if you can create an indirect cooking zone with a high air temperature (above 400°F). Combining techniques creates the real magic of grilling. Sear a nice, thick steak over a blazing-hot fire for a minute per side to brown it, and then move it away from the fire to coast up to temperature for 20 minutes more. You will be rewarded with a beautifully brown exterior and succulent interior. The longer cooking time allows more of the inner marbling to render without having to cook the steak past medium-rare. On my grill, I like to do this with a wood fire to add even more flavor. To read more about the advantages of cooking with a live fire click here.
2. You really can’t turn the food too many times.
All of the best steaks and chops I have ever made were flipped and moved frequently along the way – particularly when using the combination of direct and indirect heat. On a big-ol’ bone-in ribeye, I will even score the outer surface with a knife to increase the amount of browning. The crust is where the flavor lies, so the more the better.
3. Oil and season the food before grilling.
I brush just about everything with olive oil and season liberally with sea salt before it goes on the grill. This helps brown the outside and form a perfect crust. When you start with good quality protein, and you can nail your technique on the grill, most meats and fish don’t need anything more than this simple treatment.