Best Grilling Tips For Flavorful Food

Posted on: August 21st, 2014 by RF Ohl
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Here are some great tips for grilling and how to make the best of barbeque cooking. Some of the topics that we discuss are:

  • How do I get a smoky flavor into food when using a gas grill? [2:07]
  • What types of wood chip flavors are available? [4:42]
  • What meats are best for smoking? [5:20]
  • New to grilling and want to grill a perfect steak. What’s the secret? [7:50]
  • How do I deal with Flare-ups? [11:15]
  • What is the best way to clean a grill? [14:38]

Here are some recipes to try out when using your smoking meats on your barbeque grill:

Smoked Flank Steak
Smoked Brisket
Smoked Salmon
Smoked Baby Back Ribs
Smoked Pork Loin
Smoked Trout
Smoked Eel

 

Video Transcription
Brett: Hi, everybody, this is Brett Lewis with L4 Group and today I have Steve Ohl with us from RF Ohl, how’s it going, Steve?

Steve: Good, how are you?

Brett: Good, good. I thought that we would do something a little fun today. It’s the middle of the summertime, a lot of people are grilling and I figured let’s talk a little bit about grilling tips or grilling—a lot of frequently asked questions regarding grilling and barbequing. Steve operates a local business in Lehighton where part of his business is he sells outdoor furniture and cooking accessories. He has a Hearth and Patio showroom and he has a line of grills that he sells. So Steve, you want to expand a little bit on that?

Steve: Yeah. We do all kinds of outdoor products and fire pits, retractable awnings, patio furniture, like you had mentioned, everything is available in our Hearth and Patio showroom, you can come in and see and touch them and feel them. We have all kinds of barbeque grills, charcoal grills, wood pellet grills, accessories, spices, rubs, items for smoking and wood chips and all kinds of different things. So yeah, if you want to stop in and check it out, there’s a lot of stuff. It’s a lot of fun, too.

Brett: Awesome, I know I use my grill year round, I think a lot of people do, so this isn’t just a summertime thing, but I figured it is summer season, so let’s get into some of the questions that I’ve come across as far as grilling goes.

One that I’m actually interested in myself personally as well is how do I get a good, smoky flavor infused into the food that I’m cooking, using a gas grill?

Steve: I think this is good for anyone getting into smoking meats and different things is I had that desire for the wood fire flavor, but I still wanted the convenience of a propane or gas grill. One of the best things that I ever bought—and we sell a lot of these—is a wood smoker box. You basically have a stainless steel box and then what you do is you buy some wood chips, you soak these in water, and there are holes in this box, you set this in there on the barbeque grill and it will start smoldering the wood. So it’s a great way, it’s pretty inexpensive to get into as a starting the flavor of smoking and it’s fun and it adds a lot of different flavor to your meat, there’s all kind of different kinds of wood chips you can get. Weber makes a nice package here, if you can see that, it’s called like a variety pack, it’s the trial sized Fire Spice Kit, and if you can see all the little—this is for the person that doesn’t want to really mess around pouring the wood chips into their thing. The box is prepackaged and you just soak those in water and put them on your grill and there’s all different flavors in there. It even has a guide as to what wood tastes best with what meats, so it’s a great way to get started. If anybody ever has any questions about that, then they’re welcome to give us a call or stop in. We get a lot of questions about how to add that wood flavor in a barbeque grill that’s propane or natural gas and that’s really the easiest way to do it and it’s pretty simple.

One other method, you can always try tin foil and wood chips, you know, poke some holes in it. That’s probably the least expensive way to get started because your only investment is a bag of wood chips. But be aware that the tin foil will break down and get into your grill, so there’s a little more clean up involved, but it really will still work the same way.

Brett: That’s awesome. The wood chips themselves, hickory, what are some other types of flavoring?

Steve: Just about anything you can imagine. We have persimmon, we have grape vines, we have orange, there is alder—alder is really big with fish—we have your basic sassafras, hickory, oak, there’s just so many different kinds of wood out there, we have a whole entire wall dedicated to all the different wood and stuff.

Brett: Oh, that’s very cool. Along in the same vein with smoking, what are some of the best meats to use when you’re trying to smoke?

Steve: If you’re actually just starting out and getting into smoking, a lot of your, what they would call cheaper cuts of meat are really good for smoking. A lot of people use them, they’re fattier, they have a little more connective tissue in, but the whole idea behind the smoking is you’re going to do it low and slow. A lot of the styles of the smoking came from the south when that’s all they had available. If they were out on the range, they just kind of, that’s all they had available to cook with, was some of the lesser cuts of meat, because just feeding masses of people, they had to figure out what to do with all the parts. Those are some of the best, like brisket, pork shoulder, pork ribs, they tend to be a little bit tougher of a cut of meat, so grilling them low and slow, that’s kind of the method that a lot of people use. If you’re going to use a more expensive cut of meat, it’s best to practice smoking on what I would say is a less expensive cut and then once you get used to the process and how you do it, then you might want to consider getting into different kinds of meats, like your filets or seafood or there’s venison, buffalo, fish, there’s all different kinds of things, but I would just recommend starting with a rib, something basic. Ribs or pork butt or brisket and there’s a ton of recipes online, you can just go online and Google whatever you’re looking for, it’s something I often do, too, is just, “Well, let’s see, I never made this before, let me go on there and give it a whirl.” I smoked an eel the other day and I never smoked an eel before and you’d be surprised, there was a lot of recipes for smoked eel on the web.

Brett: Very cool. I’ll probably have a couple of links below this video with different recipes so you can check those out as well.

What about for people who are just fairly new to grilling in general or just haven’t really mastered grilling? What’s your secret for grilling that perfect, thick, juicy filet mignon or nice cut of meat?

Steve: Well, you’re right in my wheel house because I’m definitely a steak guy and I like medium rare, so I can tell you exactly how I do it. When you’re doing a filet, or any good cut of steak, just keep in mind that less is more. The less seasoning, the less handling of the meat the better, don’t poke it with a fork, definitely use a tong. What I’ll do is turn the grill up as high as it will go and usually it’s ready in about 10, 15 minutes and let your meat—take it out of the fridge, I usually put a little bit of pepper and salt on it, not too much, just to add a little bit of flavor, do it on both sides, let it sit out about half hour, 45 minutes, and get closer to room temperature.

When the grill is ready, put it on the grill for about five minutes, then take your tongs, flip it, and another five minutes and you’re probably done. You can get fancy if you want and turn it every two minutes and get those grill marks in there. I’m more about eating the food so if you’re into presentation you can definitely go with the quarter turns and get the grill marks in there, I’ve tried it, it’s just usually I’m doing something else while that steak is on there five minutes and I’m lucky I can remember to go back and flip that steak in five minutes. It’s pretty simple and then once you flipped it once, typically that’s it, take it off the grill and let it set a good three minutes because the juices are going to be, I would say, kind of rolling around in the meat there. If you cut them too soon, it’s just going to lose all its flavor and juiciness. That will really get you a perfect medium-rare cut.

If you like your—I never recommend filet well done, but if you do like it a little bit more cooked, you can just add a few minutes to each side. It’s something you’re going to have to play around with but that’s how I do the filet and they get really good on the grill with that. You can always add a smoker box or something like that if you want a little bit of wood flavor, but just a little salt and pepper and you’re good to go.

Brett: That’s awesome. I think one of the biggest mistakes that people newer to grilling make is taking the steak right off the grill right to the dinner table and cutting right into it without letting it sit.

Steve: Yeah, you really want to. I mean, you got to fight that urge to, “Oh, that thing looks great!” but don’t do it, that’s what I always recommend, don’t do it. No matter what you’re grilling, no matter what kind of meat, it’s best to let it rest a little bit.

Brett: Yeah, without a doubt. Now what about flare-ups? If you’ve been grilling for a while, the grill starts to get a little grease coming down on the flavor bars and sometimes that causes flare-ups. How do you deal with that?

Steve: The best thing to do to avoid that is you hit it on the head, make sure your grill is clean and I recommend every three to six months take the flavor bars out, scrape them off, make sure there’s nothing obstructing your burners. If you’re not doing that and you’re not into cleaning, some people never clean their grill, if you’re not into that and you’re going to deal with the flare-up with it comes by, then you’re going to have to learn to move the meat because that’s really the easiest thing is once you start getting that flare-up and you might have had olive oil or some kind of oil soaking in the meat in that and you had the fat of the meat and now you’re cooking or you have barbeque sauces that have a lot of sugar content, you’re going to get flare-ups. Normal flare-ups should just last a few seconds and that’s fine, you don’t have to worry about it and they actually kind of add to the process.

But if you’ve got flare-ups lasting for 15, 30 seconds or more, you’re going to want to consider moving the meat to the side because it’s going to make the meat taste bad if you’ve got that kind of flare up and it’s hitting it. Move the meat out of the fire and you should be fine, the flare-up will die down. But that’s the basic thing, is trim the extra fat off the meat that you really don’t need to add to the flavoring, keep the barbeque sauces to a minimum and actually most barbeque sauces are best added at the end of the cooking process and then again with the, whatever you’re marinating the meat in, don’t just take it right out of whatever you’re marinating it in and set it on there dripping, because that’s just going to cause problems for you with flare-ups. So that’s the best advice on that.

Brett: Yeah. I know when I’m grilling a particularly fatty type of cut, like chicken thighs, for instance, I usually grill them on one half of the grill and then I’ll rotate them over onto the other half, just to minimize or eliminate flare-ups.

Steve: You made a point with the chicken and I mentioned steak earlier, the one thing is add a meat probe into your arsenal for grilling. I’ll come to say I’m terrible at judging when chicken is done, that’s why I like steak, it’s medium rare, it’s hard to screw up if you like medium rare, but chicken, poultries, you definitely want to check the internal temperatures, go online and look up a grilling guide for meat temperatures. I always use the temperature probe, it’s just a fail-safe of mine. I’m not good at judging the doneness of chicken. I tend to overcook it if I don’t have that meat probe and I can see exactly what temperature I want to pull it off at.

Brett: Yeah, exactly. But like you said, having a steak medium rare, that’s great, but having a medium rare chicken is not good for you. [Laughs]

Steve: Not on my list.

Brett: There’s no sense in getting sick. To wrap up, what are your recommendations, you touched on cleaning those flavor bars, but what are recommendations for keeping your grill in good condition, keeping it clean?

Steve: Like I said earlier, typically you don’t really have to clean the grill very often. Some people have food allergies and most grills out there you can throw your grates in a dishwasher if you want to and clean them off because it’s perfectly safe to do that. Always read the manufacturer’s recommendations when you’re cleaning any grill.

As far as the insides of the grill, when you’re done cooking, there’s really not much to do. Typically just shut the grill down because when you go to start it up again, you’re basically going to sanitize it because you’re turning the grill on, it’s going to get hot enough to kill any bacteria, any germs or anything that would be on there. Typically you let it run 10, 15 minutes, go out with a wire brush, use a special wire brush that’s made for grills—you don’t want to go to the hardware store and buy a steel wire brush, you’ll just eventually wear out your grates or possibly rub off any porcelain finishes or things like that. Just start up the grill, let it run 10, 15 minutes. **** [0:15:59.5] a soft, brass brush that is made for cleaning grates, scrape off the chunks and you don’t have to get down to the bare metal on a grill, you’re actually stripping away the flavor when you do that.

If you think about most of your old-time griddles and how your grandmother cooked with a cast iron pan, that was really never washed, it was basically scraped out and started up the next process. So kind of keep that in mind when you’re grilling, you’re just basically going out and knocking the loose chunks off and then you’re probably ready to go at that point. Some people will put a little bit of olive oil or something on the grate, depending on they’re cooking, just so it doesn’t stick. But most meats have enough fat content that you don’t have to worry about that.

Then I recommend, like I said, every three to six months, taking the grates out for cooking because in the bottom of the grill you’ll eventually have items floating down there, hard chunks in the bottom that you typically aren’t going to get, so every three to six months, take those out because that will eventually affect the heating of the grill, scrape those off with the soft brash brush, and then take your flavor bars—most grills have flavor bars—and usually like a spackling knife or a putty knife, something like that works good and just kind of scrape the flavor bars down with that and you’ll get all the chunks and things off of there and barbeques sauces.

Also check your burner tubes and make sure they’re open and maybe a paper clip or a small pin that you can just kind of check. Or if the little holes in the burner, to make sure they’re clear because if they’re not, eventually the burner will burn out because it’ll be pushing too much of the flame out of one side, whether it’s propane or natural gas.

Those are just a couple tips to check out. The outside of the grill, again, check the grill manufacturer, but there’s a lot of cleaning products out there made specifically for grills, I know we have them in our showroom. Weber makes **** [0:18:17.5] Weber cleaning kits for cleaning up your Weber grill. But yeah, just check the manufacturer’s recommendations and they’ll tell you how to clean up the outside. Most people I know, they really don’t touch their grill except for many once or twice a year and they clean it up and usually when it stops heating up, that’s when I get the call, “Hey my grill is not heating.” “Oh, yeah!” So that’s usually the best thing. Just kind of get on a schedule like spring and fall or something, you don’t want to be cleaning in the middle of winter.

Brett: Yeah, exactly. I clean mine in the spring and fall time so I’m not out there when it’s freezing cold trying to clean it.

Awesome! Thanks for taking time to go through and answer some of those questions. Before we shut down here, why don’t you give everybody your location so if they do want to come by and check out the showroom, they know where you’re at, and your phone number. Then we’ll also talk about some of the other services that you provide.

Steve: Sure. We’re in 400 Interchange Road, Lehighton, PA, and that’s Route 209 right above Wince’s Auto Body, right along the road, can’t miss it. Our phone number is 610-377-1098, our website is www.RFOhl.com. You can also reach us on the website through Facebook and Twitter and also our email info@RFOhl.com. Stop in, check us out, see all the different things that we have in our showroom.

Brett: Awesome. Also, we were talking about grilling and your Hearth and Patio showroom, but you also provide heating oil delivery and propane for heating systems, you install and service heating systems, HVAC, so heating and air conditioning. Do you just want to touch on that a brief second and I just want to put out there, you’re not a new kid on the block, you’ve been around for 30 years, so you know what you’re doing with all this. Just touch on the different services that RF Ohl provides.

Steve: This is our 30th year and we do delivery of heating oil and propane. We also have off-road and on-road diesel for construction accounts and kerosene, we sell kerosene. We also have a propane filling station, if people come to bring their small tanks for barbeque grills, we fill them on site. We also have a full service HVAC department, we do heating systems and cooling systems, we do heating oil, propane, natural gas, electric heat pumps, air conditioning systems, and like I mentioned earlier, we also do the full service Hearth and Patio showroom with all the items in there.

But yeah, give us a call, we service about 50-mile radius of Lehighton and that covers about 82 zip codes, so if you’re not one of those zip codes and you want to be a customer, give us a call and we’ll take a look at it and see if we can help you out.

Brett: Awesome. Again, Steve, thanks for taking time to talk about grilling, it’s always a fun topic, at least for me, I love to grill and I love hearing different techniques and especially, my own personal interest is smoking meat, so again, thank you for taking the time to go through that. We’ll talk to you again soon.

Steve: All right, thank you.

Brett: Take care.

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