By Eric Czajka
Father’s Day is almost here, which means it’s time for dad to hang up his barbecue-stained apron and let someone else take over hot and sweaty grill duties.
But he’ll be watching. To make sure Dad is happy with what he sees, CBS Detroit has created a guide to creating a backyard barbecue feast that would make Bobby Flay jealous.
The first step in creating the perfect feast for the holiday weekend is starting with the correct kind of grill. Frank Saverino, the meat and seafood director at Holiday Market in Royal Oak, recommends a charcoal grill if one is available – but he says that a gas grill will work just fine.
“The taste simply can’t be imitated in the kitchen,” said Saverino, who also goes by the moniker Dr. Meats. “… (Barbequing) is an art.”
Naturally, every perfect burger or steak starts off with the correct cut of meat. Saverino says the middle section of a cow produces the best cuts of meat, but there is not a single cut that is superior to another. As a rule of thumb, fattier cuts turn out juicier, so it’s best to skip the diet for the day and go straight for taste.
To get the best of both worlds, leave the skin on your chicken breast, thighs or drumsticks, but loosen it to season liberally under the skin and against the meat. Grill with the skin on and pull it off when you serve it, and voila, you’ve got a juicy, low-fat cut of meat.
“It’s really up to your personal preference,” said Saverino.
Preference also factors in when seasoning or marinating your food this weekend. Like it spicy? Add red pepper flakes to your rub. Sweet? Add juice or brown sugar.
“Wet rubs are in right now,” said Saverino. His special wet-rub is created by mixing 1/4 of a cup of non-virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of your favorite dry-rub mixture. It is important to use non-virgin olive oil because it has a higher smoke point and won’t burn up whatever you toss on the grates.
“It can be your own concoction,” said Saverino.
Wet rubs are also the key to grilling fantastic chicken. But before you fire up the grill, be sure to let your meat marinate for at least 15 minutes prior to throwing it on the flames. The longer it marinates, the better the meat will taste.
Remember that patience is vital when grilling.
“The whole key to proper barbequing is medium heat,” said Saverino.
Be sure to check all food with a thermometer to ensure that the inside is thoroughly cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and to allow the grill to fully heat up.
For a 1 1/4″ thick steak, make sure to preheat the grill at medium heat and grill each side for at least 4 to 6 minutes, depending on how thoroughly you like your steak cooked. It is important to check meat to ensure that it is properly cooked.
Of course, any number of sides can complement a perfectly cooked piece of meat — think baked beans, baked potatoes that are crispy on the outside and velvety on the inside, pasta salads, a carved-out watermelon full of mixed fruit, or the easiest go-to, a bag of potato chips. But like the spices and cuts of meat, all are up to the griller’s preference.