Cory Ohlendorf
of Valet.
Day 5

Mistakes to Avoid


Chris Lutes, the stylish chef and co-owner of Cambridge 1 in Boston and Cambridge is known for his grill skills. His restaurant specializes in charcoal grilled pizzas. At home, the devote charcoal enthusiast spends the summers grilling everything from fish and steaks to squash and s'mores. Here, he warns of the dangers of careless grilling.

Over Cooking

It's the only fear you should have, really. The best chefs in the world use meat thermometers. You just stick it in the thickest part, and err on the side of less cooked, as the meat continues to cook after you take it off the grill.

Cooking On a Cold Grate

Make sure you allow time for the grate to heat up (3-5 minutes for gas, 5-10 for charcoal), so that you get those grill marks on the meat. Aren't those what it's all about?

Char-Grilled ... Everything

You don't have to barbeque everything on the plate. If you're grilling steak, maybe just steam the corn. It shouldn't all taste of smoke.

Rushing the Sauce

Most have some sort of sugar in them, and that will burn. Let the meat cook and then, towards the last five to ten minutes, brush on the sauce and let it caramelize for the last few turns.

Squirting Water On the Flame

Maybe you saw Dad do this, but it'll only get a puff of ash rising onto the meat. It's better to watch for natural hot spots and cooler areas and regulate the cooking using direct and indirect heat.

Wasted Heat

The fire goes on for a while, so use it for dessert. Any firm fruit, like peaches, works perfectly. After you take off dinner and the fire's dying down, put your fruit on (flesh side down) and put the lid on. After dinner, pull them off the grill and serve with a scoop of ice cream.


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