Pretty much everything tastes better on the grill. Brats, sausages, hot dogs, burgers lobster tails, kabobs, corn, asparagus with some Montreal Steak Seasoning tossed on top, these are just a few items coming to mind…I’ll stop listing foods because I’d probably list everything in my diet.
I love my grill. I love grilling so much I have three of them, a wood-fired grill, a Weber propane gas grill, and a wood-pellet hopper smoker. Several times a week I’m using the grill so when I came across this ‘Do Not Grill List’ on Bloomberg I immediately clicked in thinking that perhaps I was using my grill wrong…As it turns out, some chefs are just complete and utter dipshits.
Let me start by saying that I am far from a professional chef. I have no formal culinary training and I’ve only ever worked on the floor of a restaurant, not in the kitchen. With that said, my dad is a chef, my mom ran the same restaurant for my entire life, a restaurant I grew up in, and my grandparents owned restaurants. I spent like half of my childhood in a restaurant and I’m not exactly a complete and utter dipshit when it comes to the kitchen.
I expected to see some things on this list like a specific type of fish or trendy dishes you might see on a Michelin-rated restaurant’s menu. Instead, they just took a big ol’ wet dump on the heart and soul of America and claimed you shouldn’t cook burgers or chicken on the grill.
Here’s what they had to say about burgers in the Bloomberg ‘Do Not Grill List‘ Part Deux:
Chef Gray Brooks offers a compromise for those reluctant to give up on grilled burgers entirely: “If you really want that grilled burger smell rolling out of your yard to entice your neighbors, just keep one burger aside for the grill. It’s a worthwhile sacrifice.”
Innocent enough, right? They’re not shitting all over the grilling of burgers….But wait, that was just the intro. Here’s what the chefs actually had to say, chefs including Voltaggio Brothers Steak House co-owner Bryan Voltaggio whose brother Michael is a celebrity chef:
Who Says: Bryan Voltaggio, chef and co-owner, Voltaggio Brothers Steak House, Washington, D.C.
Why: “My brother Michael and I put burgers on our restaurant menus, but even at home we keep them off the grill. Instead, we use a plancha or a heavy-duty pan to griddle them. The sear you get from the even cooking surface always gives you a perfectly juicy burger.”
Who Else Says: Gray Brooks, chef and owner, Littler and Jack Tar & the Colonel’s Daughter, Durham, N.C.
Why: “Do not grill burgers. Way too much of the delicious beef fat winds up in the fire. When burgers are seared on a flat top, or in a cast-iron pan, that fat renders out and becomes a cooking medium and helps form a really nice beefy crust. If you really want to cook burgers on the grill—which I totally understand, grilling is one of the coolest things to do in life—put a cast-iron griddle on the grill. You can also grill the onions, which are a great way to still get the smoky grill flavor on the burger.”
Who Else Says: Tae Strain, chef, Momofuku CCDC, Washington
Why: “I know it’s the American standby, but the best burgers come from planchas or a cast-iron pan. Perfect burgers are all about the crust but equally the umami rich fat and natural juices. On the grill, you lose that because the fat drips down onto the coals, and you need those juices.” (via)
Putting a cast-iron griddle on the grill to lock in that grill flavor isn’t a terrible idea…if you have a massive fucking griddle that can fit across your entire grill. When’s the last time you grilled just ONE burger? This doesn’t happen. You’re grilling four at minimum, usually more. Cooking burgers in a heavy-duty griddle is not practical when you’re cooking for a party. I love a good butter burger cooked in a cast-iron skillet but that’s one at a time, two at most. I’m not doing that 5x over to cook for my family.
So they lead off the ‘Do Not Grill List II’ by saying you shouldn’t grill burgers. Complete poppycock. It can’t get worse from there, can it? Spoiler alert: it can.
They go on to claim you shouldn’t grill Peeled Shrimp, Lettuce (always better grilled), Chicken Breast, Sausages + Thick Cut Bacon, Top Round and Bottom Round, Tortillas, and Pineapples + Peaches.
Grilled shrimp are ONLY bad if they’re overcooked. It’s simple, don’t overcook them and they’ll be delicious. Overcook them and you’ve fucked up. But here’s what they had to say:
Who Says: Ford Fry, chef and owner, Little Rey, Atlanta
Why: “You see this everywhere, and it is terrible everywhere! Grilled shrimp, the already peeled kind. (Caveat: Grilling shrimp in its shell is another thing and totally encouraged.) Shrimp flesh is too susceptible to drying out when introduced to a hot grill, whether marinated or not. Shrimp scream to be cooked gently and lovingly bathed in butter. If someone insists on smoky shrimp, cook them gently, off direct heat, then transfer to a bath of emulsified butter to finish cooking.” (via)
Yes, there are other ways to cook shrimp. Does this mean you shouldn’t grill them? Fuck, no! Grilled shrimp are delicious, easy to cook, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
And I’m sorry, but I’m not supposed to grill sausages now? I thought this was America?
Who Says: Jocelyn Guest and Erika Nakamura, co-founders, J&E Smallgoods, New York
Why: “The last thing you want to do is put a raw, uncooked sausage right on the high heat. The casing will shrink and the meat will expand, resulting in unplanned July Fourth fireworks. If you want to grill them, poach the sausages in water or beer first. And do not grill thick-cut bacon. Bacon is delicious, but setting your house on fire from bacon fat is not. If you want crispy thick-cut bacon, use your broiler or stovetop, or go to Peter Luger.” (via)
Chef Leonard Botello IV is the pitmaster and owner of famed Truth BBQ in Houston, Texas and he’s the one who claims you shouldn’t grill chicken breast. Chicken breast is already one of the blandest foods on the planet and even when it’s cooked perfectly it’s okay at best. Why the hell are they trying to take away the one cooking method that adds even a little bit of flavor on top? He says “There’s one thing that I don’t grill, and that’s boneless, skinless chicken breast—the texture can turn to rubber, and grilling sucks out all the moisture.”
As for grilled peaches and pineapple, the reasoning is that 1) you have to clean your grill beforehand and clean it when you’re done. They’re literally saying you shouldn’t grill this food because you have to clean your grill, something you should be doing EVERY SINGLE TIME you use your grill anyway.
To check out the full ‘Do Not Grill List II’ for some good outrage you can click here to visit Bloomberg. Meanwhile, I hope you all enjoy grilling up some delicious burgers and sausages tomorrow.