Grilling Tips from the Pros

Tony’s Market chef Mick Rosacci and Marczyk Fine Foods co-founder Pete Marczyk help you get your grill on the right way.  


To cover or not to cover?
I am not a coverer unless I’m barbecuing, which is different than grilling. I define barbecue as low-temperature, smoke-infused cooking. 

Charcoal or gas?
Charcoal is better than gas in almost all applications in my opinion. It takes some planning and some getting used to, but it rocks once you get the hang—adjust heat through quantity of fuel, and distance from coals.

How do you handle veggies?
Grilling baskets work really well for asparagus and potatoes. Potatoes can be grilled if cut to the optimum thickness of about ¼-inch. Try cutting potatoes the long way rather than across.

How do I grill the best burger?
First, get the right grind. If the meat is pinkly homogenous, find a new butcher; it should be flecked with small bits of fat, not emulsified. Patties should be 5 to7 ounces and formed with squared edges. Cook them hot and fast: Season one side with salt and pepper, and when the burger releases easily, turn it 45 degrees (same side down) for proper grill marks. Flip when ready and repeat. Only cook as many as you can handle on the grill at one time.

What’s one thing people forget to do when grilling?
Let your meat loaf! Tempering meat before cooking yields a much better result. The meat cooks more quickly, and more evenly—both good things. I will temper steaks for up to a couple hours; chicken and fish benefit too, but the time can be shorter. Let your meat loaf again after cooking; a solid rule of thumb is to let meat rest one-fifth to one-third of the time it took to cook (up to 20 minutes). 


To cover or not to cover?
When your grill is uncovered the fire burns hotter, is more likely to flare up, and cooks only one side of the food. Use the cover to help adjust and control grill air temperatures, creating circulating heat for slower and more even cooking.

What’s the secret to perfect grilling?
Managing temperatures in both direct and indirect grilling techniques is the secret to consistently grilling tender, juicy and perfectly browned foods.

So what’s the difference between direct and indirect heat?
Direct Heat: Grilling directly over a flame browns and cooks foods on one side using low to high heat.
Indirect Heat: Grilling with the foods to the side of the flame with the lid on allows circulating heat to brown and cook meats more slowly without risk of flare up.
Combination Cooking: A combination of direct and indirect heat is used to brown quickly and cook slowly to the ideal internal temperature. This is the best method for most grilling.

Chef Mick also writes a weekly blog packed with other grilling and cooking tips.