Labor Day is but a blink away. Oh, didn't you hear? The proverbial "end of summer" is fast approaching. I'm from Texas, so I've never really bought into the whole "summer is over" deal. Where I'm from, we've got at least two more months of 80+ degree weather. Still, this final hurrah is a nice chance to get outdoors, gather friends and, should you feel so inclined, fire up that grill. We've spent the past few months dreaming up the best foods to toss on that outside furnace.
But what about meat? Grilling meat can be daunting, even if you do it every summer. As we all get ready for the upcoming holiday weekend, I thought it'd be nice to get some tips from a pro. I reached out to Frankie from Ottomanelli Brothers, a New York City–based butchery, to find out the absolute best cuts of meat we should be grilling—before it's too late.
For a little background, the Ottomanelli family has been in business since 1900 (!) getting New Yorkers all the cuts of meat they want. Summer, what with all those grills on the loose, is a particularly busy season. I for one am partial to the simplicity of a burger, but after a quick convo, Frankie started to convince me otherwise. Maybe grilling a nice steak doesn't have to be as complex as I previously thought:
"I like to take all of my steaks out of the fridge an hour before I cook them and let them get to room temperature," he tells me over the phone. "If you take them out of the fridge, they lose some of that moisture from sitting in the fridge. Then, I like to season simply with Kosher salt and pepper."
Now we're talking. Like Frankie, I tend to lean toward simpler recipes, preparations that are clean rather than complex. But that doesn't have to be the case. Every now and then there's the chance for a marinade or a grilled steak sandwich. Here are two of my favorites:
As for cuts of meat, Frankie recommends a few go-tos when feeding a large crowd: sirloin, flank, or even skirt steak should do the trick. Those are all pretty simple and take well to the grill's smoky treatment. Plus, they err on the side of affordable, so you can keep a whole crowd fed without worrying about the old wallet.
"I’d say a nice porterhouse," Frankie says. "You get the best of both worlds: a piece of filet and a nice strip steak all together. You have a bone that gives you nice flavor as well."
What's YOUR favorite meat to grill? Tell us in the comments below.
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