Every man believes he’s the undisputed king of the grill. But even the most dedicated outdoor cook can use a few tips from the experts. We asked three local chefs to share their wisdom as grilling season reaches its peak.
Nelson brings several decades of experience to the cooking of burgers, steaks, and seafood on the coal-fired grill at Timeless.
Preferred cut of meat: New York strip doesn’t need much prep, making it perfect for the grill.
Best fish: Salmon, the fattiness gives it a nice char.
Favorite vegetable: Zucchini is the best one that holds up on the grill.
Charcoal, wood, or propane: Wood produces a good high heat and imparts a bit of smokiness to food being grilled.
Useful tips for the home cook: Always dry whatever you are grilling because the excess water creates steam which inhibits caramelization.
Most common mistake: Not having the grill hot enough; not allowing meat to rest before serving or cutting.
Preferred grilling beverage: Ice-cold New Castle
Wicklander runs the kitchen at D’Amico’s The Continental, one of the area’s popular steak houses.
Preferred cut of meat: New York strip, a thicker cut so I don’t have to keep too close an eye on it.
Best fish: King salmon in season, as well as shrimp.
Favorite vegetable: Summer squash, mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes
Charcoal, wood, or propane: Charcoal delivers a more consistent heat; throw on wood chips for flavor, if desired.
Useful tips for the home cook: Understand the cooking times of all your ingredients.
Most common mistake: Not using enough charcoal to keep the grill consistently hot enough to the finish.
Preferred grilling beverage: Ice-cold Summit IPA from Minnesota
Ridgway has been supervising the grilling of steaks and chops at his restaurants, Ridgway Bar & Grill and Bayside Seafood Grill & Bar, for decades.
Preferred cut of meat: A 24-ounce center-cut prime New York strip
Best fish: Mahi grills up the best.
Favorite vegetable: Whole red onions, grilled slowly until caramelized.
Charcoal, wood, or propane: In a perfect world, charcoal; practically speaking, propane works great.
Useful tips for the home cook: For a thinner piece of meat, grill it when it’s very cold; for a thicker piece, bring it to room temperature before grilling.
Most common mistake: Walking away and realizing your food has burned up.
Preferred grilling beverage: A glass of sparkling wine or Champagne