By Samantha Garbarini, Lizzy Sobiesk, and Sabrina Sucato
Dan Sabia of Wood Fire Food shares insider tips.
As the chef-owner of live-fire catering company Wood Fire Food, Dan Sabia is a master of open-fire cooking, creating one-of-a-kind experiences that connect diners with farm-to-table ingredients and the stories behind them. Here, the born-and-raised Westchesterite shares his tips and tricks to coaxing the most flavor out of vegetables, resting meat the right way, and why slow-roasted strawberries are the shining stars of summer.
What are the biggest grilling mistakes home cooks make?
One is not tempering your meat. Going directly with ice-cold meat on a grill, you get a lot of inconsistencies. Under-seasoning is a big thing on the grill. All the excess salt falls through the grates. Timing is also a big issue. Everyone wants to get it done as fast as possible, but the hottest setting doesn’t really give you the best product.
What basic advice should every newbie griller know?
Start simple. Understand the simplicity of a perfectly cooked piece of squash on the grill with lemon juice. Stay away from marinating ahead of time because it causes flareups.
What unusual foods taste great on the grill?
[At Wood Fire Food] we are known for using fruit in a lot of our dishes, but not as a dessert. You can make a really beautiful, slow-roasted strawberry. It turns into something like a gusher. Stone fruits are so good grilled and seasoned. The salt brings out the sugar.
Why is slow grilling the way to go?
We always choose to cook bigger cuts for a longer period of time because it allows us to get a juicier product. If you put way too much heat on the outside, you get a big gray circle around the meat.
Is resting essential?
For anything that has a bone, your resting period should be 15 to 20 minutes no matter what. That bone is a beautiful conductor of heat. Anything boneless or skinless, let it rest 10 minutes afterward. Steaks need 10 to 20 minutes depending on size.
What’s your favorite thing to throw on the grill?
Vegetables are my favorite thing to cook all summer long. There’s nothing better than a grilled piece of squash with lemon juice or eggplant when it’s in the height of the season.
You’ve already got a pair of tongs and a spatula. Now, stock up on some other grill accessories to take your backyard barbecue to the next level.
Just add soaked wood chips and this inexpensive, perforated stainless steel box can turn any home grill into a smoker.
Kelloggs & Lawrence
This portable Bluetooth thermometer monitors doneness in real time via two 5-inch, professional-grade probes.
Hillsdale General Store
Grab food straight off the grill with this heat- and flame-resistant glove with an extra-long cuff and anti-slip silicon grip. (It’s machine washable, too.)
Clove & Creek
Way more stylish than your old cotton one, this durable, Morocco-made denim apron features trendy cross-back straps.
Perfect for picnics, camping, and hanging at the beach, this portable grill bucket lets you set up a cookout anywhere.