Meat the Press Mondays: Proper Grill Management

For Meat the Press Mondays, we bring you another episode of Prime Cuts TV.  Today’s episode focuses on proper grill management.  The ability properly manage a grill is essential especially when grilling various items at the same time or trying to cook several meats all to different temperatures.

We apologize in advance for the rough audio.  Unfortunately, the only time you can shoot a video about proper grill management is when the kitchen is busy therefore we had to have our hood fans on and other staff were working around us.  If you are viewing this post in a reader, you can view the video on Prime Cuts TV.

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How to Select the Proper Kitchen Knife

One of the biggest mistakes people make in the kitchen is not selecting the proper tools.  We’ve already discussed the importance of choosing quality knives and now bring you this video from the FoodGear team on selecting the proper type of kitchen knife:

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Do you have a favorite knife in your block?  If so, leave a comment below letting us know what type of knife it is and why it’s your favorite.

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Grilling Gaucho Style in the Backyard

Although the outdoor grilling season is almost finished for us New Englanders we wanted to write about a fun and different way to kick up your next barbecue.  Joe has done this several times when he realized all too late that he was out of charcoal (kind of like Justin forgetting to charge the camera battery for Meat the Press Mondays 🙂 ).  It is simple but requires a bit of time and a few tools, however the rewards are worth the work.  Just about all New England folk who have a yard and have a fireplace in their home have some type of wood pile out behind the house and most people who have ever barbecued outdoors before have an old charcoal grill, or at least the frame to one.  If this is you, grilling the Argentine way is easy.

The few tools required are a small tree saw and a hatchet or axe, and that’s about it.  Start by completely cleaning out the charcoal grill and removing all but the bottom most grate.  Next you will need to examine your wood supplies, what you are looking for are two things: some small dry kindling wood, and some nice hardwood pieces that are not buggy, rotten, or moldy.  You won’t need a lot of the latter as proper hardwoods burn for a long time.  Our favorites are cherry, oak, and apple, but just about any non-evergreen wood will do, and if you are in doubt whether it’s a good cooking wood, give it a sniff…if it smells pleasant, and not rotten, chances are the food you cook over it will taste good too.

Next, you will need to get a base fire going in the grill.  You don’t want it to be huge but at the same time it will burn down and reduce in mass, so you don’t have to worry too much about this step.   While your base fire is burning down, split some firewood sized logs into 1/4’s or smaller, if theses will fit in your grill with the cooking grate on top, you’re good to go, if not, that’s what the tree saw is for, just cut ’em in half.  When the base fire has burned down to coals, add your nice cooking wood, not too much – two to three pieces should do for most charcoal grills.  Wait for the fire to catch, flame up then reduce in size and intensity typically taking about 15 minutes.  Place the grill grate back on top, let it heat a few minutes, brush it to clean, wipe it with a vegetable oiled towel and you’re good to go.  Cook over it just like you would a charcoal grill, only before you place any food on it, give a quick feel about a foot over the top of the grill to locate your hotspots.

When adding more wood fuel to the grill, add small amounts at a time, and remember they will flame up at first so don’t add wood directly under your food.  Master the art of cooking over a wood fire and you will quickly notice the sweet difference in flavor that hardwoods add, especially to steak.

Try a perfectly cooked, wood-fired steak just once and we guarantee you will be hooked!

What innovative cooking methods have you tried before?  We’re very interested in hearing your stories!

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Contributing Writer: Joseph M. Gionfriddo
Photo by: Munkchip

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Meat the Press Mondays [9/15/08]

For this week’s Meat the Press Mondays we are exploring compound butters as a way to improve a finished steak or a good white fleshed fish.  Compound butters are one of our favorite simple things to do in the kitchen lately.  It is essentially a technique used to flavor butter, which is then used to impart flavor to food in the cooking or finishing process.  The combination of flavors that you can give to compound butter are virtually endless.  Any food that tastes better with butter on or in it (i.e. everything) can benefit from compound butter.

There are a few simple steps used to make good compound butter.  The first and most important is to begin with soft, room temperature butter, preferably unsalted and not melted at all.  Place butter in a large mixing bowl and add any flavoring ingredients, seasonings, spices, etc.  Keep in mind that, except for in small amounts, such as a squeeze or two of citrus juice, liquids will not incorporate well with butter.  Using your hands and some disposable rubber gloves mix the butter and seasonings to thoroughly combine.  Next, with a rubber spatula, place the softened butter on a large piece of parchment paper.  Spread the butter lengthwise along the parchment paper from end to end keeping in mind the finished product is going to be a cylinder approximately the size of a paper towel tube.  Roll the parchment paper as you would paper towels and gather up the ends twisting in opposite directions, this will force the butter into an even cylindrical shape.  Place in the refrigerator until solid.  Your newly flavored butter is ready to use, cut off as much as you like and use with just about anything.

Here are a few recipes for some of our favorite compound butters:

1 lb unsalted butter
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 tsp minced garlic
1tsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Note: This is great used to top a finished steak.  Let the butter sit atop the steak while it is resting and the butter will become meltingly soft and maintain its creamy semi solid texture.

1 lb unsalted butter
zest from 1 orange, and 1 lemon
1tsp chopped parsley
1tsp chopped thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Note: This is a compound butter best used when roasting white fleshed fish,  when the fish is a few minutes away from being done add a few slices of this butter and let melt down the fish and mix with the pan juices us this as the sauce for serving the fish.

These flavorful butters are great on bread, proteins, veggies, in sauces, and as last minute flavor additions to almost any dish, savory or sweet.  Use your imagination, experiment and enjoy!

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Photo by joshbousel


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Meat the Press Mondays [9/8/08]

During last week’s Meat the Press Mondays we introduced you to several different cuts of steak.  Now, we would like to start breaking down each type of steak and providing you with some more information about them.  Today we have chosen the skirt steak.  The most common mistake when eating skirt steak is not cutting it properly.  This literally makes or breaks the experience you will have.  So, for today’s episode we explain the proper method of cutting into a skirt steak.  Enjoy!


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