July is National Grilling Month. More than 75 percent of Americans own an outdoor grill or smoker. It’s no wonder why it’s one of our favorite past times. Working as executive chef at Toscana’s Restaurant & Lounge at PebbleCreek in Goodyear allows me to flex my cooking skills on various meats. A few tips I’ve learned along the way about grilling will go far if you are trying to impress your friends at your next cookout.
Look for a piece of meat with nice marbling. Marbling is the fat in a cut of meat and between the muscle fibers. A high-quality steak will have a lot of marbling, while a lean cut will have very little to none. My favorite cut is a rib chop—about an inch-and-a-half thick to be exact.
It’s important to let your meat set before you cook. You want to have it out for about 15 minutes so it reaches room temperature. The closer it is to its final eating temperature, the more evenly it will cook.
Seasoning is an important part of grilling and often overlooked. Salt and pepper the outside of your meat and then throw it on the grill to give it a nice sear and grill marks on both sides. You can also finish it in the oven if you prefer.
Make sure to rest that meat before you cut into it! After you pull it off the grill, let it rest for about eight minutes. This lets the juices flow throughout the meat. Safety is always an important part of grilling and the below should be followed for all meat before you dive in:
Beef: rare is 120-125 degrees, medium-rare is 130-135 degrees, medium is 140-145 degrees, medium-well is 150- 155 degrees and well done is 160 degrees and above
Poultry: 165-175 degrees (all poultry must cook through)
Pork: 150 degrees
Of course, if you decide to take the night off of grilling, come visit me at Toscana’s Restaurant & Lounge. We feature a filet on the regular menu and on Fridays we have a Steak and Vine night. –Executive Chef Robert Nixon