Burgers, dogs, and corn are great, but your grill is just begging to be put to use for something else. And according to Jeffrey Kohn, chef and owner of Q Restaurant & Bar in Port Chester, breaking away from the old BBQ standbys is easy because “everything tastes good on the grill.”
Regardless of what you choose to grill, Kohn recommends using a slow-and low approach—and he favors charcoal over gas. “I only grill with charcoal,” he says. “It gets the hottest and provides the best sear.” If you’re not ready to trade in your status-symbol four-burner gas grill just yet, you can still get good results by cooking over indirect heat, he notes.
Start with seafood, Kohn recommends. “Take a filet of snapper, put it in tin foil with a slice of scallion and a slice of ginger, plus a little jerk seasoning, put it on top of the charcoal, and it’s incredible—tremendous flavor, unbelievably moist, and you don’t have to worry about it sticking to the grill,” he says. Veggies are another good choice for rookies looking to break away from the basics. “Charring gives vegetables like eggplant, roasted peppers, and onions a great taste,” he says. (Directions: Just lightly oil them and grill.) After the peppers—which Kohn chars whole—are cooked, he puts them into a bowl with a plastic cover and lets them soften up; this makes it easier to remove the char, de-seed, and slice. “Top with thin slices of garlic, sea salt, and extra virgin oil,” he adds.
Smoking a pork butt or shoulder is another great option, Kohn notes, but it takes some devotion. Less complex is his approach for “getting a great smoky flavor with any meat on the bone,” like a thick bone-in pork chop or steak. Indirect cooking, again, is the key. “Make a pouch of wood chips that have been soaked, and put that over the hot charcoal fire. Cook the meat over the hot charcoal long enough to get some color, then move the meat so it’s not over any flame, and let it cook slowly,” he says.
And for chicken, Kohn endorses what’s called a Cornell chicken marinade, made with egg yolk, cider vinegar, canola oil, and poultry seasoning. “It’s almost like a thin mayo,” he explains. “Marinate first; then use a separate batch of the marinade and keep basting the chicken while cooking.”