It’s grilling season again! It’s been a while since we’ve cooked on a live fire, so we talked to some local experts for a refresher. Our friend Kyle Rothschild at Brown Dog Fancy makes a line of organic, small-batch mustards and ketchups, so flavorful that you’ll never go back, and the butchers at Fleisher’s Craft Butchery specialize in pasture-raised, humanely-treated meats from Northeast family farms. Together, they’ve got the grilling game down, and gave some tips to make your next grill-out a success.
Make Smart Meat Purchases
It’s more important than ever to source your meat carefully, and purchase from a butcher you trust. Look for meat that is “pasture-raised,” meaning that the animals grazed on pasture and moved around naturally. For beef, “grass-fed” means the cows grazed entirely on grass This means the meat will be leaner but have a richer, more complex flavor.
Your meats should be hormone and antibiotic free, which indicates that the animals were raised in healthy living conditions. Purchase meat raised locally to minimize your carbon footprint, and to support our regional farmers in the Northeast.
At the butcher counter, be open-minded and explore new cuts. There’s no reason you have to stick with rib-eyes or NY strip steaks. Ranch, flat iron, bavette, tri-tip, and Denver steaks are all fantastic alternatives. Ask your butcher for recommendations.
For sausages, look for ones made with natural casings, not synthetic ones. You should also ask about the ingredients. A good butcher will be transparent about their sausage, and not use fillers like grains.
Finally, be prepared to pay a bit more than you would for conventional meat. You will taste the difference, and the superior flavor will be worth it.
Complement with Great Mustards and Ketchups
After you carefully sourcing your meats, don’t ruin them with subpar condiments! Did you know a tablespoon of Heinz ketchup contains 4g of sugar, more than most chocolate chip cookies? Many mainstream condiments are full of GMO high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavorings, and synthetic colors.
A better alternative is condiments from a local, small-batch producer like Brown Dog Fancy. Out of his tiny Stamford kitchen, Kyle developed a line of mustards and ketchups that are clean, organic, and versatile. Instead of refined sugar, he uses organic, raw wildflower honey. The result? His mustards make amazing barbecue rubs, dippers, and marinades right out of the jar, and his ketchup has an unmatched tomato-y goodness. These are condiments you will be proud to serve your friends and family.
Grill to Temperature, Not Time
Meats and grills vary widely, so it’s always best to cook to temperature, not time. To take the temperature of a piece of meat, insert the tip of the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, and wait until the gauge stops moving to read it. Fleishers gave the following guidelines for cooking various types of meat:
- Beef (Medium Rare): 120-125 F
- Lamb (Medium): 130-135 F
- Pork (Medium): 140-145 F
- Chicken: 165 F
After you pull the meat off the grill, be sure to let it rest for five minutes or so. The meat will continue cooking from residual carryover heat, and will also have a chance to reabsorb juices so that your meat stays moist.
Brown Dog Fancy condiments can be purchased at many specialty grocers, including Fleishers Craft Butchery in Greenwich and Westport. You can also purchase online at browndogfancy.com.