Grilling God: Tom Colicchio

May is Grilling Month at Food Republic, where we are offering pro tips from chefs and other well-known grilling gods.

You know Tom Colicchio from Top Chef, of course, but also for running a number of iconic restaurants in New York City and beyond. He also inspired us to cook up 7 imaginary movie roles that he would star in. But a grilling god? We weren't so sure until we recently reached out. Dude means business.

Do you prefer working with gas or charcoal?

Charcoal, it's better for flavor.

What is the biggest mistake the home griller can make?

Cooking over direct heat. You're better off building the flame on one side of the grill and grilling over indirect heat to avoid flare-ups. I also would not recommend buying charcoal with the lighter fluid already added.

What is your favorite cut of meat to grill?

Skirt steak. It's flavorful and not crazy expensive.

What are the best vegetables for the grill?

Anything in season.

And how do you cook them?

Simply, with salt, pepper and a little extra virgin olive oil.

What do you like to drink with your grilled meat?

A summer rosé.

What's the most epic barbecue you have ever thrown, or been to?

My 50th birthday party last year. We roasted two pigs, grilled lobsters and had a great spread with great music too.

What bands are on your grilling soundtrack?

Lightnin' Hopkins, Muddy Waters, Mississippi John Hurt, Elmore James, Howling Wolf.

What is the worst food item you have seen thrown on the grill?

Veggie burgers.

Most useful piece of grilling gear you have purchased or used?

A charcoal chimney.

Last one: What is your crucial burger grilling secret?

Always go to a butcher and get fresh ground meat. Don't buy the pre-packaged stuff.

Also see: 10 Grilling Tips From Food Republic's Grilling Gods