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Published May 17, 2009, 12:00 AM

Get ready to grill

Now that summer is nearly here, we asked readers and some meat experts for their grilling tips.

Now that summer is nearly here, we asked readers and some meat experts for their grilling tips.

Readers say:

  • Mike Reaves of Duluth sent us a tip: “I grill throughout the whole year, in the heat as well as the cold. I refuse to use a gas grill because I don’t consider that grilling. I use a large Weber with wood chips and absolutely no charcoal. All meat grilled on the Weber must be frozen. As it cooks, the water drips onto the wood and creates a lot of smoke, smoking everything I cook as well as ensuring that nothing will ever be too dry.

    “I have never used any sauces on the grill, nor will I ever. Sauces just ruin the meat. I cook pork tenderloins that I buy from Sam’s and chop them to my specifications. I cook polish sausages, boneless chicken breasts, regular bone-in chicken, beef ribs, ribeye steaks and salmon. I never cook hamburgers or hot dogs on the grill.”

  • Dave Vereecken of Cloquet writes: “Baste your T-bones or Porterhouse steaks with garlic butter before and while grilling. As a finishing touch, add blue cheese crumbles or Gorgonzola crumbles on top and remove from grill when melted. The cheese and steak flavors are great together when eating. If you’d prefer your cheese to be browned, you can place in the broiler for a couple of minutes before serving.”

    Experts say:

    B&B Market in Cloquet: (218) 879-3555

    Kim Schmitz of Cromwell has been a meat cutter at B&B Market in Cloquet for about six years.

    Q: What do you believe is the best cut of meat for grilling?

    A: “Boneless ribeye. It has the most flavor on the grill and it’s as tender as any other of the high-quality steaks. It’s one of the top steaks, minus the tenderloin; nobody can beat that.” Boneless ribeye average between 14 ounces and a pound and it’s the cut of meat Schmitz brings home for grilling.

    Q: Do you marinate or not?

    A: “I don’t marinate; but I do season the steaks with a little bit with Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and garlic powder. We do this at B&B. At home I use lemon pepper and garlic salt.”

    Q: Do you have a tip for cooking chicken breasts?

    A: “Cook it slow and indirectly; use low heat on a gas grill. The same is true with boneless pork chops. B&B also has a butter-garlic chicken marinade that’s great on the grill.”

    Q: I’ve read that meat should be brought to room temperature before grilling. If yes, why?

    A: “Absolutely; it helps break it down a little bit more; helps it to be a little bit tender.” Schmitz added, “Steaks and roasts will cook a little bit longer after you take them off the grill; let them rest for a few minutes; this process allows the meat to soak up some of their juices again.”

    Superior Meats: (715) 394-4431

    Mike Cragin of Carlton is the manager of Superior Meats butcher shop.

    Q: What do you take home to grill?

    A: “Ribeye. It’s the most flavorful steak; it’s fattier than the others but it’s very tender and you get most of the flavor from the fat itself.”

    Q: Do you marinate or not?

    A: “A ribeye I won’t; but other things I will, like chicken and pork. For chicken I like butter-garlic marinade or tomato basil. Lemon pepper is very good, too. Every once in a while I’ll do a teriyaki marinade.”

    Q: Gas or charcoal?

    A: “Charcoal. I had a gas grill but I just

    didn’t like it. It was very convenient, but I like the flavor of charcoal.”

    Q: Refrigerator to grill or counter to grill?

    A: “Bring the meat to room temperature. When you throw a cold steak on the grill, it will draw a lot of the juices out. When it’s at room temperature more juices stay within the meat because you don’t have to heat it up as much.”

    Q: How do you know meat is done without cutting into it?

    A: “It’s experience; I can kind of tell. Never use a fork to turn steaks over; that will puncture them. Just use tongs. After a while you can press and feel the firmness of the meat and you’ll get to know when they’re done. You absolutely don’t want to cut into them so those juices stay in.”

    Q: Best way to do fish?

    A: “I don’t do fish much because I don’t like it, but every once in a while I’ll do salmon because my fiancee likes it. Last time I grilled salmon, I marinated it in a lemon-garlic marinade. You place the skin side down and put it right on the grill. Tuna and blue marlin I’ll turn with tongs, but not salmon. The tuna and marlin are OK to use tongs with; they’ll hold up because they cook up similar to a steak. When the fish starts getting a little flaky, it’s done.”

    Other tips

  • Every time he grills, Cragin says, he cleans the grill and then brushes it with a little olive oil.

  • For presentation, Cragin gives whatever he’s grilling a quarter turn after about three minutes. This helps get nice grill marks on whatever it is you’re cooking.