One of Trinidad’s top chefs explains how to grill this summer
By Fernando Franco
Summer’s here, which means it’s time to get out and grill some barbecue foods! During this season, I particularly love gathering with family and putting my tongs to good use by preparing some tasty barbecue foods. Many would agree that grilling is an art — an art that can be mastered by anyone who applies the following tips when it comes to all things barbecued.
Tip 1: Properly prepare the coals
The simplest way to get your coals to the proper temperature is to heat them before placing them under the grilling surface. First, place a wooden box next to the grill, fill it with papers and then fill with charcoal. You want your coal to burn slowly and not release sparks or make any popping noises. Once the coal is well lit, firewood should be added gradually. When the coals are white, it is time to distribute them under the grill and start cooking the meat.
Tip 2: Appropriate temperature and seasoning of the meat
First and foremost, never put frozen meat on the grill – that’s a crime! Ideally, remove the meat from the refrigerator four hours before cooking. An expert trick is to cook your meet from room temperature. I recommend seasoning your meet after it’s already on the grill. Season or pour marinades on during the grilling process.
Tip 3: Timing is everything
Bone-in cuts require longer cooking time, therefore should be placed on the grill first and should always be cooked to the side, and turned once. Sausages and black pudding cook quickly, so they should be placed on the grill later and cooked in the center of the grill.
Tip 4: Turn only once
Everyone says meat should be turned only once. I generally respect this rule as this will allow the meat to be evenly cooked on each side.
Tip 5: Ensure your guests are ready to eat
This is the most important advice: the diners should be waiting for the food, not the other way around. You want your guests to enjoy your barbequed foods directly off the grill at the optimal temperature. And finally choose a good wine. Argentina has excellent wines to accompany a good barbecue and our most popular grape is Malbec, which I think is best paired with this type of food.
Grilled Bone-in Ribeye Recipe
1 whole Potato
1 whole onion
2 whole sweet peppers
Prepare the coals for grilling and place the ribeye on the grill; cook for 4 to 6 minutes on each side. Remove steak and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. While the ribeye is cooking, wash the potato and place cast-iron over the coals. Let it warm up well and sprinkle with a little olive oil before adding the potato. Cook the potato until golden brown on all sides. Next, place the whole onions and sweet peppers on the grill. After roasting, peel and slice both before seasoning with salt and pepper. Cut the potato, add your favorite toppings and serve with the roasted vegetables. Serve the ribeye with a beef au jus, which can be bought in the store or made at home from the natural juices of the meat.
About the Chef
Born in Argentina, a country of diverse culinary influences, Hyatt Regency Trinidad’s Executive Chef Fernando Franco has been using his love for food and his dedication to his craft to produce memorable and tasty meals with his talented team in downtown Port of Spain for more than eight years. His careers spans more than 27 years of innovative culinary creations with inspiration drawn from multiple countries including Spain, Portugal, Italy, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Hawaii.