New York Restaurants Offer Up Some Smokin’ HOT Grilling Tips This Summer
Summertime is on the horizon, and it’s time to get re-acquainted with your grill to rock the backyard barbecue better than ever! Whether your Dad is charmed by charcoal, wooed by wood or beguiled by gas, the essentials of grilling are the same – check out these tips to ensure his special day doesn’t burn to a crisp. Learn How to Avoid Common Pitfalls of Outdoor Cooking from NYY Steak, Tackle Smoked Meats & Rotisserie with The Writing Room’s Chef Lucas Billheimer, Wow at Your Next BBQ with a Tentacle-izing Recipe from Bay Kitchen Bar’s Chef Eric Miller, with these tips:
The Writing Room (1703 Second Avenue, 212-335-0075, www.thewritingroomnyc.com): If you’re a fan of rotisserie, who better to share his tricks of the trade than Executive Chef Lucas Billheimer of The Writing Room? It’s no secret that Chef Billheimer is a pro at what he likes to call “rotissefying.” In a recent review of The Writing Room, Gael Greene touted Billheimer’s Roast Chicken as “the best in the city!” Now you can “rotissefy” at home too. “Low and slow is the name of the game,” says Billheimer of rotisseries. “Longer time with less heat is the best rule of thumb.” When cooking by rotisserie, don’t marinate with fresh herbs, as they are likely to burn, and utilize a catch tray to catch the natural juices for sauces, stocks and gravy.
Tip: On an all-American road trip, Chef Billheimer probed the best smokers in the country, taking away helpful tips for quality-smoked meats and more: salty, sweet herbaceous brines and marinades evoke the most flavor; use hard fruit wood chips including applewood or cherrywood; and monitor your smoke. And don’t just think about meat when your smoking! Smoked vegetables make great side dishes or main courses for vegetarian dinners. Some of Billheimer’s favorite veggies to smoke include portabella mushrooms, trimmed ears of corn, carrots, and fingerling potatoes. At The Writing Room, Chef Billheimer is smoking spring menu items, such as a Carrot and Beet Salad, with smoked carrots as well as roasted carrots and beets, served with crunchy seeds for textural contrast, and mint, lemon and maple yogurt for the perfect tangy kick. Baby Back Ribs, smoked for hours coated in a savory dry rub, served with an Apple Butter BBQ sauce on the side and house-made pickles, and his Smoked Pork Shoulder, featuring fall-off-the-bone juicy pork meat, green apple, fingerling potatoes, cipollini onions with a sherry mustard sauce.
Bay Kitchen Bar (39 Gann Road, East Hampton, 631-329-3663, www.baykitchenbar.com): An early favorite for the Hamptons summer season, just-opened Bay Kitchen Bar, helmed by Chef-Owner Eric Miller, might be attributed as a seafood destination but the meats are where Miller rolls up his sleeves and digs into summertime grilling techniques. Miller prepares Organic Roast Chicken and Spit Roasted Long Island Duck from the restaurant’s Old Hickory vertical rotisserie oven. Another must-have gadget for the veteran chef is a Southern Pride 500lb. smoker, which he uses to smoke the restaurant’s Bacon in-house as well as Smoked Duck and Whole Pig for catering private events all around the East End.
Tip: For a grilled dish that will knock your guests sandals off, Miller suggests Backyard BBQ Octopus. Start with fresh, cleaned baby octopus, boil in a classic clambake mix of salt, pepper, Old Bay seasoning, chopped celery and onion and fresh-squeezed lemon juice, until tender (if you can pass a toothpick through with little resistance, it’s done according to Miller!), then marinate in extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper and finish by grilling on a piping hot wood burning or charcoal grill, which you will know is ready when char starts to form on the coals. Miller jazzes this up at Bay Kitchen Bar with a Mediterranean dressing of heirloom tomatoes, Kalamata olives with lemon, shallot and herbs and son Adam Miller, his partner in the restaurant and the restaurant’s wine director, recommends pairing with chilled Rosé from Wölffer Estate for a summer BBQ to remember.
NYY Steak(7 West 51st Street, 646-307-7910, www.NYYSteak.com): The grilling aficionados at NYY Steak are known for reinvigorating the steakhouse game with USDA Prime steaksdry-aged in-house for 21-days and scrumptious sides to match, but even when the chef is off the clock, he can’t resist the lure of the grill. “With charcoal, the flavor of whatever you’re grilling is much more intense, more so than with a gas grill, even though a gas grill can also make delicious food.” In the battle of dry rub versus wet marinade, such as a bourbon BBQ sauce, since it tastes great with meat, fish and chicken. However, at NYY Steak their mouthwatering steaks are perfectly seasoned with just salt and pepper then grilled to a beautiful char. Regardless of whether you use a dry rub or a marinade, the extra flavor brought on by fire is sure to score a homerun.
Tip: Years of grilling experimentation shaped the restaurant’s two cardinal rules for achieving the perfectly grilled steak: grill at medium-high heat in order to develop a charred crust, and most importantly: let the steak rest before cutting! Allowing your meat to rest for about five minutes ensures a moist, juicy center. Cut the meat too soon and you lose all the juice you worked so hard to seal in. If you’re a pescatarian, call in a pinch hitter and try grilling salmon on cedar planks. The smoke from the wood penetrates the flesh of the fish, adding a smoky seasoning to your seafood. As for burgers, the team suggests seasoning them from the inside for maximum flavor: add spices, sautéed onions, or shredded cheese to your ground beef before shaping patties. To accompany your protein, keep the sides simple: lightly toss vegetables, such as asparagus, summer squash and zucchini, in olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon and fresh herbs before gearing them up for grill-marked perfection. To make sure thin vegetables (think pencil asparagus) don’t fall through the grate, call in a relief grill pan from the bullpen. And if you just want to leave the grilling to the professionals, bring dad to NYY Steak for the ultimate double hitter – steak and baseball!