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Fire Up The Grill With 'Hot' Barbecue Advice From Stew Leonard's Norwalk

Chef Michael Luboff, left, with Stew Leonard Jr.
Chef Michael Luboff, left, with Stew Leonard Jr. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Stew Leonard's

NORWALK, Conn. - Grilling this Labor Day? Join the crowd.

According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, the most popular grilling occasions are Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Here, Michael Luboff, the executive chef at Stew Leonard’s with locations in Norwalk and Danbury, offers tips to grill meat like a master.

Custom Trim and Cut. Trim away excess fat (too much fat can cause flare-up on the grill and give food a burned flavor). Cut to desired thickness – the best thickness for grilling is 1”or 1 ½” – anything less will tend to dry out the meat.

MarinadePlace the filet in a zip lock bag or shallow dish. Season with olive oil, shallots, red wine, garlic, salt and pepper. Whole filets need to marinade overnight and filets already in steak form need to marinade 1 ½-2 hours. Let steaks dry to prevent flare-ups from the olive oil or pat dry before placing on grill.

Prepare the grill. Just before cooking, lightly oil the grilling rack to keep meat from sticking to the grill, or tearing when you turn it, so it will not loose any of its natural juices.

HOT, HOT, HOT. Make sure the grill is very hot (about 600 degrees) before putting the filet on. The first few minutes on the grill are crucial, since this sears the meat and seals in the juices. To sear, make hash marks (a diamond crisscross effect) by turning the filets 90 degrees.

Turn filets sparingly. To keep filets flavorful, only turn them once during grilling. Cook the filets for about six minutes on each side, or until desired doneness.

Do not pierce with a fork, or the juices will seep out. If using the touch method, press the meat with your finger. If it is still very soft, it is rare. If it is slightly firm and elastic to the touch, it is medium rare or medium. If it is tight and firm, it is well done.

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