Balsamic and Roasted Onion Flank Steak

A great cut of meat that many shy away from is flank steak. Some people believe it is too tough, but when prepared and served properly, it can be as tender as any other cut. First, start with a good marinade such as Ken’s Balsamic and Roasted Onion marinade. Place the flank steak ( 1″ – 1 1/4 ” ) in a large ziplock bag and add the marinade. If you wish to add more flavor, Gefen frozen herb cubes are a nice touch. Adding 2 each of garlic and cilantro will heighten the flavor immensely. Round this out with a little minced onion and olive oil to taste and let this marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours – the longer the better.

When you’re ready to grill, set the grill for direct high heat using the 3 second test method. Remember to clean and oil the grill. When placing the flank steak on the grill, practice working on your cross hatch marks by placing it at the 10 o’clock position. Grill covered for three minutes, then rotate the flank steak to the 2 o’clock position,cover and grill for another 3 minutes. Next, flip the flank steak over (back to the 10 o’clock position) and repeat the process of 3 minutes at 10 o’clock and 3 minutes at 2 o’clock. When finished, remove the steak and let it rest, tented in aluminum foil for 5 – 10 minutes. When finished, you will have a perfectly grilled, rare flank steak.

Now comes the secret to the tenderness. When slicing, look for the grain (lines) in the steak and be sure to slice across the grain. This helps to further tenderize your steak.

Enjoy your meal and know that you are another step closer to becoming Master of the Grill !

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Easy Grilled Garlic Bread

A great addition to any meal is a slice of grilled garlic bread. This is a simple and easy addition to your grilling bag of tricks. Take any loaf of crusty bread, cut in half lengthwise, and then cut into serving portions. Brush the inside of the bread with olive oil and add as much crushed/minced garlic as you like. After you’ve grilled the main course, give a quick brush to the grate and place the bread on the grill, crust side down. Toast the crust side to your liking, checking every 20 seconds or so. Time will vary based on the heat of your grill, but 20 seconds at a time will be a safe interval. When the top is done,flip the bread over and toast the garlic and oil side to your liking ,checking every 20 seconds or so. 

The addition of easy grilled garlic bread will be welcomed by everyone and will take you one step closer to becoming Master of the Grill !

Grilling Temperatures

In the Basics of Grilling, I mentioned using high heat for grilling. For most of my recipes, this is the temperature I use since it keeps things simple. There will be times, however, when you will need to lower the temperature, such as when cooking ribs. The following chart is from The Barbecue Bible by Steve Raichlen.

 In using this chart, hold your hand palm down about 3-5 inches above the grill gate and count the seconds until the heat forces you to move your hand.

  • 1 second    Very Hot          650 degrees
  • 3 seconds     Hot               600 degrees   This is the temperature I use the most
  • 5 seconds    Med. Hot       400 degrees
  • 7 seconds    Medium         350 degrees
  • 10 seconds  Med. Low      300 degrees
  • 15 seconds     Low            250 degrees

As always, keep notes on the temperature you used, as well as the cooking times so that you keep things simple and consistent. Remember, consistency will help you become Master of the Grill !

Simply Perfect Grill Marks

Every Master of the grill needs to know how to get that beautiful cross hatch pattern on their steaks. Start with a hot well oiled grill ( see the Basics section ) and divide your cooking time into 1/4’s. Place your steak on the grill at 10 o’clock for the first 1/4 of cooking time, rotate to 2 o’clock for the second 1/4, flip and repeat for the last 2 1/4’s. You should now have a perfect cross hatch pattern on your steaks. Practice this simple grilling technique and you will be one step closer to being the Master of your grill !

Baja Citrus Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

Boneless skinless chicken thighs are simple and easy to grill. I like to marinate them in the morning for an evening grill. McCormicks makes a variety of marinades which are a simple and easy way to add great flavor to your meal. One of my favorites is McCormicks Baja Citrus marinade. To this I add 2 cubes each of Dorot‘s frozen cilantro and garlic. If you haven’t tried this, it’s a quick and simple way to add extra flavor to your marinades.

Grilling Time -Set your grill up for direct grilling and high heat , remembering to oil the grate ( see the Basics section of my blog ). When the grill is ready put the chicken thighs on the grill, cover them with the lid and cook them for 3 minutes, flip and cook for another 3 minutes,flip a final time and cook them for another 4 minutes. Pull the thighs from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes. Serve them with a Mexican rice, a salad or your choice of side. This is a simple and easy chicken thighs meal with no flare up that is perfect every time. As always, make notes of any adjustments you make and you will be on your way to being Master of the grill !

Grilled Porterhouse Steaks

Porterhouse steaks are a cut which have filet on one side and strip steak on the other. The way I like to prepare them is with a little olive oil,sea salt, and pepper on each side. Set your grill up for direct grilling and high heat ( see my article under the Basics category ). For steaks that are about 1 1/4 inches thick, place them on the grill at 10 o’clock,cover, grill for 2 minutes, rotate to 2 o’clock, cover again and grill for another 2 minutes. Next, flip them over and repeat the process. Your steaks should be a nice rare/medium rare. Pull the steaks off the grill and let them rest for about 5-10 minutes. Use this time to clean (scrape) your grill with a good wire brush. As I mentioned in the Basics section, make notes of the time grilled and the results. After a couple of times, you will have perfected grilling porterhouse steaks ! 

Always remember to keep it simple by keeping notes on the cut of meat you used, the time grilled and the results. By keeping it simple and consistent you will be on your way to be the Master of your grill !

The Basics of Grilling

While everyone at sometime has had a grilling disaster, don’t fear the grill. With a couple of tips, every grilling experience can be enjoyable.

First, whether you choose gas or charcoal, make sure your grill grate is clean and well oiled. Every hardware store has multiple types of grill brushes. Whichever type you choose, just remember to use it every time before you cook. I like to wait until the grill grate is hot and has loosened any residual char from the last meal to make this task easier. Also, if you clean the grate after every use there should be very little to clean before the next use.

Next, always oil the grate before use. The easiest way to do this is to use tongs and a rolled up paper towel dipped in a cooking oil. I like to use canola oil as it has a high burn point. A couple of swipes across the grate and you’re ready to go.

Now that you’re ready to grill you need to decide the grilling method to use – either direct, or indirect. For direct, if gas use all burners..if charcoal, spread briquets evenly. Use this method for searing and quick cooking (steaks,hotdogs..). For indirect, use burners on only one side, or move charcoal to one side. On the unlit side, place a grill pan with a little water. This will help steam as well as catch any drippings to keep the grill clean. Use this method for longer cooking times (chicken).

For most recipes, you will use high heat. The easy way to test is to hold your palm over the grill for 3 comfortable seconds. When you can do that, the grill is ready. Next, make sure you have a watch that you can use to time your cooking and keep notes on the type of food grilled, thickness of the cut,time grilled and outcome (rare,medium,well done).

By following these grilling basics, you will soon be the Master of your grill !