4th of July Grilling Tips From Chef Greene
Summer is heating up and the Fourth of July is right around the corner. Hosting a Red White and Blue get together? Here is the perfect way to get moist juicy meat every time. The secret we use in the Restaurant World and in my household is called a brine. A Brine is a salt and water solution used to enhance the flavor and tenderness of meats like Poultry or Pork.
What makes a brine different then a marinade? While both techniques impart flavor a marinade is a sauce with an acidic base (think wine, vinegar or lemon) typically working on only the outside of the meat. A Brine penetrates the protein down to the bone allowing the cells to break down to provide for a juicier more flavorful product. Both play an important role in the kitchen. When feeding a crowd brining is a step that shouldn’t be skipped!
Your local market provides many cuts of meat for different applications but in order to feed a crowd and keep your wallet plump, consider grabbing chicken leg quarters, pork loin, pork shoulder or if you’re even more daring don’t pass up a whole bird for your Fourth of July Get together. Buying meat in bulk is always more cost effective and if your butchery skills aren’t as good as you’d like, their in house butcher would be happy to break down any meat for you, just ask.
In my household our go to is Pork Baby Back Ribs. To begin- combine the following in a large pot…
4 Cans Beer… My new favorite has been Third Space Happy Place, perfectly bright with citrus and a mild dose of hops
1 C Kosher Salt
¾ C Brown Sugar
2 Yellow Onions, thinly sliced
1 Bulb Garlic, Cut in Half
3 Lemons Halved
4 Spring Thyme
5 Bay Leaves
1/4 C Peppercorns
Bring to a rolling boil so all the herbs and aromatics can release all their flavor (approx. 10 minutes). This mixture will be powerfully seasoned. To bring the temperature down and balance out the flavor- add 4#’s ice cubes and stir. Finally add your ribs to this brine allow to sit anywhere from 4 hours to overnight in the cooler. Once out of the brine, it is important to dry off the meat completely so there is no steam involved when it hits the heat. Generously season with dry rub (ours is Memphis style). Keep your grill between 250 and 300 degrees (Charcoal preferred) and on indirect heat flipping about every 20 minutes and mopping with apple juice. Grill the ribs about 1 ½ to 2 hours until the meat pulls off the bone.
Need a side dish? Boil halved Artichokes in water seasoned with salt, white wine, white peppercorns and lemon until tender. Dry completely and season again with EVOO, salt and pepper. Grill cut side down and allow your guests to pull the leaves and run through their teeth. Dip in hollandaise for a real treat.