Labor Day signals fading freckles, ringing school bells and the storage of all-white attire (at least anywhere outside of California). We do have to protest that last “rule,” though. If we want to wear head-to-toe white even while grilling, we will. Call us culinary daredevils (okay, daredevils who also wear aprons. You know, just in case).
Those are the things we’re not too thrilled about as Labor Day inches closer. What are we looking forward to? Using this well-deserved day off to not labor and instead lose the tie, fire up the grill and kick back with friends and family. Should you have the same goals in mind, Chef Kyle Rourke at Red Star Tavern happens to have all the tips and tricks of a true grill master ready for your willing hands. Read on and you’re sure to be heralded as the new king or queen of the grill in no time.
• Invest in a Weber Smokey Joe Grill. It’s a great little grill that’s perfect for tailgating, camping, you name it. The best part? It’s less than $30 and oh, pretty much indestructible.
• Buy a chimney starter. This allows you to use the charcoal without getting the flavor of lighter fluid on that delicious food. Simply pour charcoal into the chimney and light 3 to 4 sheets of newspaper underneath. It’ll draw in air and lights the charcoal from the bottom. In 20 minutes flat, you’re ready to grill.
• Avoid the tongs sold in “BBQ” kits or next to the grilling supplies. Use real kitchen-grade tongs from a restaurant supply store or online for $10 or less. Look for tongs with a decent weight and are springy, yet not too firm.
• Salmon and corn-on-the-cob are two of my favorite things to grill. For the salmon, soak the skewers in water for about 30 minutes before you start. Portion into 4” by 2” slices, lightly cure both sides with kosher salt and let stand for 20 minutes. Remove excess moisture with a paper towel and place on the grill for about 3 minutes per side. For corn, trim the tip of the cob off but leave the husk on. Place on indirect heat of the grill, close the lid and let it steam in its husk for 20 minutes. Remove and let it rest for a few minutes before chowing down. For a little something different, I like to brush my corn with cilantro-lime aioli and shave some cotija cheese over the top.
• Last but not least, make that solid cooler or ice-chest count. Have fun with it and name your cooler by stenciling and using spray paint. It may sound corny but after a couple of brewskis, you’ll be affectionately calling your cooler by name. Mine is “The Czar.” Naturally.
So tell us, how are you going to enjoy those last dog days of summer?