Grilling God: Jeremy McMillan

Jeremy McMillan serves as Executive Chef of the two restaurants at The Bedford Post Inn.

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

Jeremy McMillan is a self-proclaimed grilling master, eager to once again put the outdoor oven to good use this summer. As Executive Chef of the Barn and Farmhouse restaurants at The Bedford Post Inn in New York's Westchester County, he blends Italian culinary traditions with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. McMillan also spent time working at A Voce Madison and A Voce Columbus, both Michelin-starred establishments in New York City. And he's got quite the trick that involves throwing fruit over the charcoal. The what?

Do you prefer working with wood, gas or charcoal?

There's no question we prefer charcoal, but we also use wood that we burn down to make our own coals (or brasas).

What is the biggest mistake the home griller can make?

Walking away from the fire. This isn't like an oven! You need to watch it and work the coals and your food to find the right cooking spot on the's a living thing. Best bet: Have a beer in your hand to keep you company.

What is your favorite cut of meat to grill?

Hmm. Nothing beats a rib-eye, but my latest love is whole turbot, which was inspired by a trip to Getaria, Spain to eat at Elkano.

Can you defend vegetables on the grill?

Trust me, in many cases they are better than the meat. Even better is fruit. Try grilling whole cherries over hot coals for 2 minutes and eat them warm with a drizzle of aged balsamic. It will change your life.

What do you like to drink with your grilled meat?

Red wine or cold beer.

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

I'm about to do an American BBQ on Memorial Weekend at the Bedford Post – we are bringing in three 100-pound pigs and 75 pounds of brisket. Outside of that, I had a few with friends of mine in Patagonia, where I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I woke up feeling like hell.

What bands are on your grilling soundtrack?

Bob Seger, Willie Nelson, ZZ Top and Steve Earle.

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

No such thing. Even milk smoked over a fire tastes better!

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

Charcoal chimney.

What is your secret burger recipe? A particular grind?

We're blessed in New York to have Pat LaFrieda. They do it best with a 50/50 mix of brisket and short-rib.

Do you mess with veggie burgers?

We have one on the menu at the Barn (our café) and it is easily the biggest seller.

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