July is National Grilling Month, and because our mouths started watering when we discovered this, we decided to ask a few local grillmasters to share their best tips and a few of their favorite recipes. If you decide to try one of these recipes, take a photo of your creation and send it to us, or post on social media and tag us. We’d love to celebrate your grilling success — and maybe join you for dinner?
6 Tips for Cooking Out, Teddy Style
- Cook the Meat to Order.
There’s nothing worse than serving your guests a raw dawg when they’re jonesin’ for a burnt ween. Cook meat to perfection by asking your dog to taste test. If it’s underdone, they’ll drool. If it’s overdone, they’ll drool. If it’s just right, they’ll drool. This way, the meat will always be cooked to perfection!
- Have a Pair of Tongs Handy
Please read this carefully. One year, I misunderstood and showed up sportin’ a barely-there thong. This is not what I would recommend. At least not until all the guests have safely digested their meals.
- Food Safety
Food safety is a top priority. It’s especially important to avoid cross contamination. What this means is that you should only give food to your dog. Leaning over to give food to someone else is not only bad manners, but it could result in some pretty nasty consequences. And that’d just be embarrassing for you.
Use a Side Table
Side tables are a must for a successful cookout. Place all your yummy apps and extras near the edge and make sure the tables are never over two feet tall. And never – I repeat never – put broccoli on the table. They taste like trees. They look like trees. And you know what us dogs do to trees.
- Be a Gracious Host(ess)
Your guests should never be asked to pick up dropped food. Instead, I suggest using the highly efficient Canine Lapper. An all-natural product, the Canine Lapper (also known as a dog’s tongue) can retrieve food from hard-to-reach places, and best of all, it can clean a 10-foot area in a record-breaking 6.4 seconds.
- Clean Up
The food’s been eaten, and the fun’s been had, so it’s tempting to wanna leave the clean-up for everyone else. However, you must stay until the end. Just kidding! As soon as you’re done stuffing your hound hole, make a beeline for the comfiest couch and spread out like a boss.
– Teddy the Spaz Man is a social media dog and not-so-humble Hallmark star living in downtown Woodstock. Facebook/Instagram: @teddythespazman.
5 Tips for Grilling Steak
- For an evenly done steak, use the reverse sear method.
- Always let your thawed, refrigerated steak sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
- Invest in a good meat thermometer — if you spend less than $50, you are risking inaccuracy.
- If you really want to make grilling easy, get two grills: one that’s built for low temperatures (like a pellet grill) and one for high temperatures (like a traditional gas grill or griddle). This setup allows you to bring the steak to 10 degrees below your desired internal temperature on the low-temperature grill (131 degrees is the perfect medium rare) before searing it a few minutes per side at close to 500 degrees on the high-temperature grill. Your steak will have a nice smokey component this way.
- If you want to play around with flavor, don’t do it with the seasoning (which should be limited to salt, pepper and garlic powder) — do it with accompaniments and garnishes. Herbs and compound butter are perfect toppers. Experiment with different flavor profiles to give guests a unique experience. For instance, try a compound butter with garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice.
– by Asher Kelsey
Dry Rub Ribs
Randy Saxon, Canton
For ribs, try a dry rub that uses sugar and spices. I use a pellet smoker and smoke at a lower temperature to start, and then crank up the heat later. These ribs will have a moist and tender consistency, and a flavor that will leave your guests wanting more.
• ¼ cup brown sugar
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 teaspoons black pepper
• 2 teaspoons chili powder
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
• 2 teaspoons garlic powder
• 2 teaspoons onion powder
• 2 teaspoons ground mustard
• 1 teaspoon celery salt
• ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat the grill or smoker to 185 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients into a bowl. Mix well. As a binder, use mustard to hold the rub on the ribs. This is optional, but it doesn’t impact the flavor, since that comes from the spices and smoke. Apply mustard to both sides of the ribs, then apply the rub to the ribs. Cook at 185 degrees for 3 hours. After 3 hours, increase the temperature to 225 degrees, and cook for 2 more hours. Then, wrap the ribs in foil and cook for another hour.
Easy Grilled Chicken
Mark Markley, Ball Ground
Grilling chicken gives such a good flavor that you don’t need many spices to impress your guests. I like to use breasts, drums or thighs with this simple marinade.
• salt and pepper
• lemon pepper seasoning, or your favorite all-seasoning
• olive oil
Season the chicken with salt, pepper and lemon pepper seasoning to taste. Add the chicken to a gallon size resealable bag. Pour in olive oil to coat. Marinate in the fridge, for 45 minutes to an hour.
Alternatively, forgo the marinade; just season the chicken to taste. Brush the grill with olive oil before putting the chicken on. This prevents the chicken from sticking to the grill and ripping apart when you turn it.
If you can’t find your meat thermometer, there’s another way to check if your chicken is done. Poke a piece of chicken with your spatula; the juice that runs out should be clear, not red or pink.
Glen Barber, Woodstock
A shot glass made of pork, filled with cheese and peppers, dusted with brown sugar and smoked until crisp.
• 2 smoked sausages, cut into disks about ½ inch thick
• 2 pounds of thick sliced bacon, cut in half crosswise
• 2 blocks of cream cheese
• 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
• 2 small cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, or use diced chiles
• ¼ cup of your favorite barbecue rub (Bad Byron’s Butt Rub is a good basic rub)
• brown sugar for dusting
Wrap a piece of bacon around the sausage, and pin it with the toothpick. It should look like a shot glass made of pork. The sausage acts as the base, and the bacon as the walls of the “glass.”
Mix all ingredients, except brown sugar, and blend until smooth. Spoon the mixture into a resealable bag, and cut the corner off to make a “country piping bag.” Fill each of your shot glasses with your mixture, and place them in a smoker-safe pan, like cast-iron, or a dish with a lip. Some grease will collect in the pan as you cook. Avoid spilling any into the fire, which can cause trouble. Finally, dust the pig shots with brown sugar. I smoke them with apple wood or Jack Daniels chips at 350 degrees until the bacon crisps up, about 10-15 minutes. Let them cool some before eating, and enjoy.
Andrew Markley, Woodstock
I like to use 2 pounds of top sirloin or strip steak for kebabs, but sirloin tips also work well, and can save you some time.
• ¼ cup soy sauce
• ½ cup teriyaki sauce
• 1 tablespoon of steak seasoning
• 1 cup red wine
• vegetables of choice
• salt and pepper
• garlic powder
• olive oil
Mix the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut the steak into 1 ½ inch pieces and add to a gallon size resealable bag. Pour the marinade on top; make sure the steak is coated, and squeeze out excess air from the bag. Marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Cut your vegetables into similar size pieces as the meat, and place into a large bowl. My favorites are onion, mushroom and asparagus, but you can use zucchini, tomato, squash, broccoli or bell pepper. Sprinkle the vegetables with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
Use metal skewers, or make sure you soak wooden skewers in water before grilling. Layer steak and vegetables onto 3-5 skewers. If using thinner vegetables, like onion, layer 2-3 pieces together so they don’t burn.
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, around 425 degrees. Brush the grates lightly with oil and place the kebabs on the grill. Cook until the steak reaches desired doneness, turning occasionally, around 8-10 minutes for medium doneness.
Reverse-Seared Steak With Lemon Compound Butter
Asher Kelsey, Woodstock
I like using two grills for this cooking method: one low temperature, and one high. However, using one grill definitely will work.
• 1 stick of unsalted butter
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 1 tablespoon rosemary
• 1 tablespoon thyme
• ½ of a lemon, juiced
• salt and pepper
• garlic powder
• your choice of steak
Before grilling, make your compound butter. Melt the butter just enough so you can mix in the minced garlic, rosemary and thyme. Add the lemon juice and a few shakes of salt and pepper. Once mixed, wrap the compound butter in plastic wrap so it clumps into a cylinder, and let it harden in the fridge for no less than 3 hours.
Set out your thawed, refrigerated steak on the counter. Season liberally with equal salt, pepper and garlic powder. Let sit for 30-40 minutes.
Heat your grill to 225 degrees and place the steaks on the grill. Measure the center of the steaks with a reliable meat thermometer for the most accurate reading. When they reach an internal temperature of 120 degrees, pull them off the grill while you heat it to a higher temperature for searing.
Crank your grill to 500 degrees. Sear the steaks 2-3 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Remove from the grill.
Place a slice or two of the compound butter on top of each steak and tent it with aluminum foil for 5 minutes, to allow it to melt. Consider garnishing with rosemary or a herb of your choice. Enjoy!