Sure, he knows how to make perfect chili and avoid everything that goes wrong when you open a restaurant, but Tim Love is perhaps best known for his superhuman ability to rock a grill. Lucky for us average humans, the Austin Food and Wine Festival co-founder teaches his grill skills to laymen during that weekend's most popular demo. We sat in on it in order to snare this bakers' dozen of game-changing tips.
1. Season from up high
When dusting your meat with spices, it's natural to hold your hand just over the meat. But raising your hand higher helps the spices to spread out and avoids salt clumps.
2. Baste your steak with peanut oil
It tastes better than other oils and is capable of withstanding more heat.
3. Use twice the spice
You think you're using enough, but you're not. Double up on spices. You won't regret it.
4. Turn the steak 90 degrees
Putting meat on a grill causes the temperature to drop in that space, so if you're flipping it onto the same spot, there's less heat. You won't get a good sear. Another plus: badass grill marks.
5. You need twice the grill space as you think
If your grill says it fits 20 burgers, it actually only fits 10, because when you flip them you'll need to move them to a fresh space.
6. Your top rack is not just for buns or asparagus
It's to create an oven with which to finish the meat.
7. Leave the damn grill alone
It's tempting to always be messing with your meat (zing!), but have confidence and keep the lid on the grill to maintain stable temperature and smoke.
8. Let meat sit for at least 10 minutes
Meat tightens up when cooked because there's still energy left in that muscle, so it's important to give it time to relax.
9. Grill your steaks ahead of time
If you cook the steaks beforehand, then throw them back on the top rack or the corner of the grill to finish them off, your buddies won't be waiting until after dark to eat.
10. Dehusk your corn to ensure a good char
Otherwise you're just steaming it. You won't get that bright, burnt flavor or the full effect of spices like paprika and chili powder.
11. Your corn is done when it starts to pop
You don't want it that burnt.
12. Season the flesh side of fish and salt the skin
The flesh will better showcase spice, whereas kosher salt will help dry out your skin and make it crispy.
13. Come from behind to flip the fish
The natural motion of your wrist will cause you to pull up on the spatula, which can tear the fish. When you're ready to flip it, come up from behind the fish and you'll be much more likely to end up with a beautiful-looking filet.
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Dan Gentile is a former staff writer on Thrillist's National Food and Drink team. He loses serious Texas points for not owning a grill. Follow him to tweets from his friends' backyard grill-outs at @Dannosphere.