Expert Grill Tips for the 4th of July

At Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, we use different techniques to cook our steaks, depending on the cut of meat.  Why?  Because we think they taste best this way.  We sear our strips in cast-iron skillets, slowly oven-roast our prime rib and broil our filets. 

But, at home, Chef Grant Wallace’s favorite way to cook just about everything (especially during the summer), is on the grill.  Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s easy. 

1. Start with good quality meat.  Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse primarily uses Prime beef, which is expensive and can be hard to find.  “Choice” is a great alternative for home grilling.  Look for steaks with a good amount of marbling.  If you need help, ask your butcher.  They know the good stuff.       

2. Temper your meat.  Let your meat come to room temperature before grilling.  This simple step will shorten your cook time and help ensure a more evenly cooked, juicy piece of meat.  

3. Season the meat on all sides.  This means the top, the bottom, the sides…all of it!  We use our house Creole Seasoning blend on everything. 

Creole Seasoning

Makes about 1 Cup

½ C Kosher Salt

¼ C Granulated Garlic

¼ C Granulated Onion

2 T Paprika

4 t Cayenne Pepper

1 t Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Blend together all ingredients.  Store in an airtight container.      

*A Note on Marinades: Resist the temptation to marinate for too long.  Too much marinating can adversely affect the flavor of your meat, and actually start to cook it. 

Prime beef is tender and flavorful – it doesn’t need marinating.  Lesser grades often benefit from a short soak.  An hour in good Italian Dressing does wonders for a porterhouse.  Or, try a blend of soy sauce, fresh garlic and crushed red pepper. 

4. Ready, Set, Grill.  We recommend grilling steaks medium-rare to medium; but, this is a matter of taste.  Experienced grillers can tell temperatures by the touch.  A medium steak should bounce back when you touch it.  Those with less experience may prefer to use one of the many digital thermometers now on the market.

5. Let the meat rest.  10 minutes between the grill and the table will help seal in the juices.  Avoid piercing the meat to check for doneness.  Too much flavor is lost this way. 

6. The Sides – There’s no need to pull out pots and pans.  Throw all of it on the grill!  Toss mushrooms, thick sliced Vidalia onion, spears of summer squash, pepper rings and quartered potatoes (just par-boil them first) with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh herbs.  Use a grill basket if you have one.  If not, a foil pouch will do.  Dessert can also be done on the grill.  Grilled Ruston peaches over vanilla ice cream are a quick, delicious crowd pleaser.       

7. The Sauce – At Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, we make all of our sauces in-house.  For home grillers, steak sauce made from scratch may seem like quite an ambitious undertaking.  But, it’s actually incredibly easy!