Our handy how-to will take the burn out of first-time grilling and show you how to make summer sizzle.
You know what’s sexy? Grillmasters. The expertise by which they crack a beer, baby the grill flames, check on marinades, then place a beautiful slab of meat on the sizzler — all in that adorable Kiss the Cook apron. They make it look so easy! The secret? It is easy, so don’t be intimidated by the raw food and open flame. Take this article, place it on your kitchen counter, and let’s up the ante on your reputation as the ultimate party host, you sexy future-chef, you. Serves four.
For your cookout, let’s go with steak, corn, asparagus, and grilled garlic bread. We’re gonna do New York Strip for two reasons: so you don’t have to research the jillions of cuts of steak available, and because strip is meaty enough to satisfy and marbled enough not to stick to the grill as easily. The morning of your grillout, secure four NY strip steaks cut at least an inch thick — the butcher at any grocery store can provide that — four ears of corn (still in the husk), two bundles of raw asparagus, and a loaf of ciabatta.
Put the steaks on a plate, sprinkle both sides lightly with kosher salt, wrap them in cellophane, slam them in the fridge, and only take them out before you’re about to grill them. Note: Don’t pepper them yet; scorched pepper can ruin the flavor.
Soak the corn in a big pot lightly salted water on the counter and walk away. Cut off the hard, “woody” ends of your asparagus, roll them around in ¼ cup of olive oil, three chopped garlic cloves, a teaspoon sesame oil (if you have some), and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Stick them in the fridge. Slice the ciabatta however you like, then drizzle with olive oil and rub with a peeled garlic clove. Fridge those too, then go about your day.
It’s Grilling Time
Hours have passed and everything’s seasoned perfectly. Let’s get heated. I prefer charcoal for the flavor of open flame it imparts onto the food. Get the “ready-light” variety and stack the coals into a loose pyramid. The fire might jump up a bit, so be careful. Leave the grill open for all the fuel in the coals to burn off. (Seriously, let the coals turn white before you even think about throwing food on; they’ll taste like lighter fluid if you’re impatient.) When your coals are white-hot, spread them with your tongs and close the grill for a few minutes. Come back with the corn and place them on. Isn’t that sizzle so summery? Close the lid and wait a few minutes before you rotate them. After ten minutes of spinnin’ those puppies, move them to the sides of the grill, where it’s not so hot.
Brush a bit of olive oil in the centermost spot on the grill and carefully lay two steaks on. This is where you get nervous as a newbie, but don’t: the magic will happen, you’ve got this. After four minutes of turning the corn while the steaks are cooking, you’re going to rotate (not flip) your steaks. Grab a steak at the 6 o’clock position and rotate it to 3 o’clock. Same for the other. (This is where those amazing diamond-pattern sears come from.) Wait two minutes, then flip the steaks over completely. Wait three minutes, repeat the grilling marks trick, and in another two minutes, your steak is medium rare (perfect). If you like it done to medium, wait another two minutes. Anything over that and we’re no longer friends.
Now, plate the steaks and corn and don’t touch them for at least five minutes. (Bonus badassery: as the steaks cool, place a pat of butter on them to seep into the meat.)
Lay your asparagus on the grill perpendicular to the grates (so they don’t fall in) and close the lid. Go get your ciabatta and after three minutes, open your grill, move your asparagus to the sides, and put the bread on. Close. After a minute, open the lid, do the diamond trick to your bread, close, and wait another minute. Plate all those bad boys, ring the dinner bell, and roll in the compliments. You’ve done it.