Food Republic's third annual Grilling Month may have come and gone, but grilling season remains in full force as the official start of summer fast approaches. In order to refresh your backyard barbecue knowledge, we revisit 10 tips from this year's almighty Grilling Gods, who offer up advice ranging from common mistakes to crucial gear. Be sure to scroll to the bottom for some of our most popular grilling recipes from the past month.
TOM COLICCHIO, celebrity chef and head judge of Top Chef
"Always go to a butcher and get fresh ground meat. Don’t buy the pre-packaged stuff."
SEAMUS MULLEN, chef of New York's Tertulia
"Duck breast is my favorite meat to grill. This is something that very few people do, but if done right, the results are incredible. Start by searing the breast skin side down, then once golden, move it to a cool spot on the grill, ideally with some good hardwood or vine cuttings to gently smoke the duck. I like to put a lid over the duck so the smoke gets trapped beneath it and the meat is gently cooked. Fat works really well to absorb smokiness (think about bacon), so if you do it properly, a duck breast can be juicy, rosy and deliciously smoky."
BRYAN VOLTAGGIO, former Top Chef contestant and chef of Maryland's Volt
"If you are that hard up for a burger — eat a burger! Don't bastardize our Great American Classic by making a veggie burger. I mean the entire world says hamburger when you mention American food. Leave it alone!"
JASON DADY, chef of several San Antonio restaurants, including Bin 555
"The biggest mistake you can make is not having the temperature hot enough. You also have to pay attention to the smoke that comes off of it. To me, grilling is very simple if you have common sense. White smoke is good, gray smoke is “let me pay attention,” dark gray smoke is “I need to pull it off."
JEREMY McMILLAN, chef of the restaurants at New York's Bedford Post Inn
"Try grilling whole cherries over hot coals for two minutes and eat them warm with a drizzle of aged balsamic. It will change your life."
SEAN BRASEL, chef of Miami Beach's Meat Market
"We can’t forget about slow-poached whole artichokes. I cook them in heavily salted water and rest them for a day. Then cut them in half and season them with salt and pepper and rub them with olive oil. Grill the cut side until you get proper grill marks, flip the artichoke over and fill it with a spicy seasoned garlic butter, move them to a higher shelf or the cooler outside of the grill and let it simmer with the butter for 30 minutes. These are simply mouth watering."
SANG YOON, chef of Father's Office gastropub in Los Angeles
"The biggest mistake is not resting the meat — cooking meat is all about timing and temperature. Novices tend to keep meat on the grill too long without a rest period to allow indirect cooking."
ERIK ANDERSON, chef of Nashville's Catbird Seat
"50/50 chuck and short rib is my favorite meat blend. Cube the meat and then cure it overnight with salt, black pepper, thyme and garlic. Then grind it coarsely with one pound of Benton's bacon to every 15 pounds of meat. Patty them to a size of six ounces — no more, no less."
CHAD NEWTON, chef of West Coast Vietnamese mini-chain Asian Box
"Use a miner’s helmet for the perfect light and to free up your hands when it's dark out!"
JONAH RHODEHAMEL, chef of Oakland's Oliveto
"Heart is a great meat to grill. It is a great lean cut of meat that grills very well rare. We just quickly char it on both sides and serve it sliced rare. There is not really any fat to cause the fire to flare up, so you can cook it on a pretty hot fire."
Try out these popular grilling recipes at your next backyard BBQ: