Fire up those grills! Memorial Day kicks off BBQ season. YAY! Let the outdoor parties and summer food fests begin. Yet, before you chow down on a juicy hamburger, ribs, and a calorie-rich potato salad – read on!
Healthy Hollywood recruited Pitmaster and founder of NYC’s Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (a favorite spot of Kate Hudson & Al Roker), John Stage, to give us the 4-1-1 on making your Memorial Day feast a hit.
BBQ Success 101
1. The Grill – You don’t need to spend $5,000 on an elaborate grill — you can achieve great results with a small $100 Weber kettle grill as long as you follow proper charcoal cooking.
2. The Meat – Start with a well-seasoned piece of meat, a good rub and/or marinade and always glaze with BBQ sauce towards the end of cooking.
3. The Beverages – Always have a well-stocked bar and cold beer on ice as it keeps your guests busy so they don’t ask too many questions while you’re grilling!
Avoid BBQ Pitfalls
1. Be sure to prep and season meat correctly – The general rule of thumb should be rub first, sauce later. Always start with a good rub, when the meat is about done, the rub will give the BBQ sauce something to stick to. Be sure to allot enough time for the rub to take effect, because whether using a dry rub or a wet marinade, it will take time for the flavor to penetrate the meat. Seafood generally takes 1-2 hours, while beef, pork and chicken can take anywhere from 4-24 hours, depending on the cut.
2. Clean grill grates – Always clean your grill grates to help keep your meat from sticking to the grill. While the grill is still hot after cooking, take a quick minute to scrape the grates, as the residue will come off easier.
3. Gas vs. Charcoal – While I personally prefer charcoal over gas grills, in order to get that classic BBQ flavor, I can’t tell you how many people do not check the level of propane in their tanks on a regular basis. Before you run out to the store to grab your meat, veggies and marshmallows, take a minute to check your propane or charcoal supply too.
A Healthier BBQ
1. Eat your vegetables – Nothing says summer like some fresh vegetables on the grill - and what better way to stay fit this summer. Opt for a grilled Portobello mushroom as a meat substitute – give it a light brush of vegetable oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and toss it on the grill. Do the same with some zucchini, asparagus, peppers, corn and tomatoes and pile those on top of the Portobello. Top it all with some feta and you’ve got a delicious and healthy meal.
2. Be a lean mean grilling machine – When shopping for protein, be sure to select lean meats, like a London broil or flank steak, a bone-in chicken breast or any firm, fleshed fish like salmon, halibut, grouper or snapper as they will hold up better on the grill.
3. Be mindful of sides – Nothing puts the pounds on quicker than some potato salad and mac and cheese! Be mindful and don’t overdo it as most of the calories on a BBQ spread lie here. Opt for lighter options, like a salad with some light dressing, or some fruit. If your BBQ just isn’t complete without a little side action, limit your intake to a reasonable amount that will satisfy your taste buds!
For more information on Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, check out www.dinosaurbarbque.com.