- Flickr/Chun Kit To
- INSIDER asked 11 popular celebrity chefs to reveal their best grilling secrets.
- Iron Chef Michael Symon advises using two different heat zones to properly grill meat.
- “Restaurant: Impossible” star Robert Irvine says to skip the bottled marinade in favor of fresh herbs and citrus.
It’s about to be peak grilling season, and your favorite celebrity chefs shared tips that will kick your BBQ up a notch.
From Alex Guarnaschelli’s smart grilled chicken hack to Marc Murphy’s secret to easily cleaning your grill, here are insider grilling tips and hacks from 11 famous chefs.
Iron Chef America judge Donatella Arpaia says that you should stop over-touching your food.
- Donatella Arpaia
Donatella Arpaia (judge on “Iron Chef America,” chef and partner of Prova Pizzabar in Grand Central Terminal in New York City) warns people to not touch their food so much: “The biggest mistake grillers make is touching and flipping their food too much. The food needs to develop a nice char and crust and while waiting by a hot grill, people grow impatient and touch and move the food too much.”
James Beard award winner Jamie Bissonnette says it’s important to sear your burgers before putting them on the grill.
- Josh Andrus
For perfectly juicy burgers, Jamie Bissonnette (James Beard “Best Chef Northeast” award winner, chef at Toro in New York and Boston), recommends searing: “For grilling the ultimate burger, sear it on both sides, and cook it evenly. Don’t let it flare up. Make sure the meat is mixed enough that it sticks together before grilling.”
Chopped star Scott Conant says to season your grill, not just the food you put on it.
- Scott Conant
Scott Conant (Chopped, owner of Impero Caffe in New York City), has a trick for extra flavor in your grilled meats and vegetables: “I throw herbs and garlic heads and other seasonings directly onto the grill with the items I’m grilling. I love the flavor transfer and the slight char of the herbs and seasonings.”
Food & Wine Best New Chef winner Jose Enrique says that oily fish like salmon is best for the grill.
- Jose Enrique
First, choose fish with an oily skin like salmon, says chef Jose Enrique (winner of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs award, chef at Jose Enrique restaurant in Puerto Rico). “Pat the skin dry after washing it, then lightly brush it with olive oil,” he said. “Once you put it on the grill, don’t touch it! For a salmon filet, leave it skin side down for 7-8 minutes, then turn the grill to high heat, flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes.”
Chopped star Alex Guarnaschelli says to cook the chicken and skin separately and then toss together.
- Alex Guarnaschelli
Chef Alex Guarnaschelli (“Chopped,” chef at Butter in New York City) suggests cooking the chicken and skin separately. “Marinate chicken without the skin. Grill the meat and pan-fry the skin separately until crispy. Then toss them together once both cooked!”
Restaurant: Impossible host Robert Irvine says to skip the marinade for a healthier meal.
- Robert Irvine
Looking to cut down on calories at your summer barbecue? The first step is to cut out the marinade without sacrificing flavor. “Cutting down on sugar and salt is easy,” chef Robert Irvine (“Restaurant: Impossible,” “Worst Cooks in America”) said. “Replace bottled seasonings with fresh-grown herbs and swap out high sugar sauces with squeezed citrus marinades.”
Food Network star Seamus Mullen says to use perforated pans to prevent food from falling through the grates.
- Seamus Mullen
Seamus Mullen (Food Network star, and chef at Tertulia in New York City) has a neat tip for cooking vegetables on the grill: Use a perforated grilling pan. “This allows you to get a really nice char and deep flavor on vegetables without having to worry about them falling through the grates.”
Chopped star Marc Murphy advises using an oil-soaked cloth to clean your grill easily.
- Marc Murphy
Marc Murphy (“Chopped,” chef at Landmarc in New York City) knows cleaning the grill is no fun task: “After you’ve heated your grill, take a cloth and put some oil on it and glide it from the back of the grill to the front. This makes it so the flames don’t burn you and you get a nice clean cooking surface.”
James Beard award winner Ken Oringer says that grilled corn and burrata pizza is the perfect, unique dish.
- David Ma
Ken Oringer (winner of James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Northeast award and chef at Toro in New York and Boston), shares this unique grilled pizza recipe: “For an unexpected ingredient on the grill, I recommend grilling your pizza. Topped off with fresh corn, chorizo, burrata and cilantro.”
Travel Channel star Adam Richman warns you not to overcrowd the grill.
- Adam Richman
Adam Richman (former host of “Man V. Food”) says to watch the amount of food you place on your grill at one time: “Overcrowding will dissipate the heat too much and cut down on work space.” Here’s a bonus tip: Get rid of lingering smoky odors with Ozium air sanitizer.
The Chew star Michael Symon advises grilling using two heat zones to properly sear meat.
- Michael Symon
Michael Symon (“The Chew,” chef at Lola and Mabel’s in Cleveland) takes grilling very seriously: “Always set your grill up with two heat zones: one really hot and one almost off. Once you get the meat seared with a crust, move it over to the cooler side to finish it off.”