Summer Backyard Grilling Tips from Chef Adam Price


With the summer months here, it’s time to fire up the grill and gather outside with friends and family. We talked with our very own Executive Chef, Adam Price, on tips and tricks for manning the grill that are sure to take your barbecue game to the next level. 

Best cooking tip for a novice griller?

Go for it. You can cook almost anything on a grill with a few basic techniques. Turn the heat down – not everything needs to be grilled on high. Take the skin off your chicken breasts – you’ll be less likely to get a flare up from the fat. Don’t press down your burgers – you want all that juice to stay inside your patty (you can produce a well done juicy burger if that’s what you like). Do not over handle your meat – any type of protein will benefit from not being over-handled. Rotate once, flip, rotate again, done. And don’t ever close the top of the grill all the way, use your tongs and prop the grill open just a bit. It will still create the circular heat that you need for bigger pieces of meat but you will be able to always see inside to catch a flare-up before it gets too big.

What’s your go to ingredient to spice up your meats on the grill?

There are lots of cool little tricks to make your grilling stand apart from your neighbors. Lately, I have loved making a fresh cracked pepper with orange zest to sprinkle over my meats. A couple of other grilling tricks I have used frequently are to season your hot grill grates with an oiled onion half; just skewer a half peeled onion (leave the root end intact) with a large meat fork, dip in a puddle of vegetable oil on a plate and rub it over your preheated grill. This will season your grill and help to keep anything from sticking to it. You can also get a similar effect with seasoning if you take a raw clove of garlic, cut in half and rub on your steak before seasoning and grilling; you will get a great essence of garlic but won’t have any bitter charred bits on your meat.

What’s the one rule of barbecuing that you live by? What’s the one rule you break?

Obviously the grill is synonymous with meat but it’s a great way to cook so much more as well. Vegetables and surprisingly fruit are great with a little char.

unspecified-74Dried rubs or marinades? 

They are all great and have their application. Lately my go-to has been a combination known as a wet rub. You can apply the night before, the liquid will help to cook your protein from the inside as well as the outside and you end up with a nice flavorful crust on your meat.

What’s a flavorful or unusual side dish that you wouldn’t expect that can be thrown on the grill?

Try broccoli and green beans. Or for something out of the box, try potatoes and carrots. I like to cut them like country fries, boil them for a few minutes, then finish them on the grill with the rest of the meal.

Secret ingredient?

Bananas for dessert. Slice them longwise and leave them in the peel. When your main course is done, turn the middle burners off and place the bananas over the middle section. Close the lid halfway by using your grill tongs to prop it open and let your bananas cook while you enjoy you dinner. For dessert drizzle a little sweetened condensed milk and some freshly grated nutmeg over your grilled bananas.

What is the most common grilling mistakes?

Closing the lid all way and walking away.

What’s your go-to summer sauce to finish off the dish?

Grilled salsa – throw it all on the grill as it is warming up, tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, lime cut half. When it all has a nice char remove from the heat, put all ingredients in the blender with a pinch of salt, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of your charred lime and pulse it together.

Unexpected meats we should be grilling this summer?

Your favorite fish. For the grill, firm flesh fish hold up better but there are great ways to cook your favorite flaky fish as well. Wrap it in an aluminum foil package with a few vegetables of your choice, garlic, onions and drizzle with oil and season. Place the package right on your hot coals or grill grate and let the moisture from the veggies season your fish.

Would you recommend combing oak with a gas grill to give the meats more flavor?

The best way to infuse that smoky flavor with a gas grill is to use a Smoker box. Make sure to soak your chips for at least 2 hours before putting them in the box to smoke otherwise you will have a little fire box instead of a smoker box atop your grill.

What different tastes can you get from charcoal, gas and fire pit? What’s your grill of choice?

I prefer to use either a gas grill, or when available, an open fire pit. Each technique offers its own unique flavor profile. For example, people who love charcoal really love charcoal. I think briquettes have their place, but I personally prefer the flavor of meat cooked over a wood fire or the versatility and control of a gas or pellet grill.

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