5 Top Westchester Chefs Share Their Secrets To Barbecue Bliss

Make the most of your summer cookouts with tips from these county favorites.

The Traditionalists

Pitmasters: Michael Abruzese and Kyle Inserra, Co-owners/Chefs, Polpettina, Larchmont

Favorite Thing to Grill: Chicken, steak, and burgers. Get Polpettina’s grilled lemon chicken recipe at westchestermagazine.com/recipes.

- Advertisement -

Best Entertaining Tip: Make a burger setup. “[Add] toppings like pickles, onions, condiments, etc., ”Abruzese says. “It’s a big hit at any barbecue.”

Inserra’s Favorite Grilling Tool: A long pair of heat-resistant tongs. 

16″ tongs, Available at www.oxo.com, $14.99

Best Side: A light antipasto with roasted peppers, marinated artichokes, salami, and cheeses. “You need some sort of little things to pick on while everyone is waiting [for dinner],” Abruzese says. “You don’t want people standing around watching you grill.” 

- Partner Content -

It’s All About the Meat

Pitmaster: Andy Nusser, Chef/Partner, Tarry Lodge, Port Chester

Favorite Thing to Grill: Meat. “Usually on a weekend, I’m doing a porcini-rubbed, bone-in rib-eye, where you’re impressing your friends by getting a prime rib-eye thickly cut and rubbing garlic and porcinis into it,” Nusser says. “You’re essentially showing off!” 

“The best sauce for any grilled meat (think rib-eye or skirt steak), is Romesco. It’s easy to make in a food processor and keeps well in the refrigerator.”

For Chef Andy Nusser’s sauce recipes, visit westchestermagazine.com/recipes.

Best Entertaining Tip: Plan ahead. “You want to be drinking and showing off, but if you’re elbow deep in potato salad, that’s not fun,” Nusser says.

- Advertisement -


Curto’s Appliances 1966 Central Ave, Yonkers 
(914) 793-5600; www.curtos.com, prices vary 

Favorite Grilling Tool: A smoker. “Anything you make in a smoker just tastes so much better.”

Best Side: Tomatoes and corn. “Summer is go time for tomatoes and corn. If you are grilling outside in the summer, tomatoes and corn should be in the mix,” Nusser says. “[My tomato, avocado, and corn salad is] quick and easy [and] is best when the tomatoes and corn are at their peak.”

Get Chef Andy Nusser’s tomato, avocado, and corn salad recipe at westchestermagazine.com/recipes.

Go Fish

Pitmaster: PJ Calapa, Executive Chef, Campagna at The Bedford Post Inn, Bedford

Favorite Thing to Grill: Head-On Shrimp.“Take head-on shrimp, season with shaved garlic, chili flakes, and olive oil.
Then grill!”

Tips for Grilling a Whole Fish:
1. Oil the fish, not the grill.
2. Keep the grill very hot.
3. If the fish sticks when you try to flip it, give it more time.

Weber Grill

Curto’s Appliances, 1966 Central Ave, Yonkers
(914) 793-5600; www.curtos.com, prices vary 

Best Entertaining Tip: “Get your guests liquored up and make the grilling interactive (i.e., put them to work!)” Calapa says.

Favorite Grilling Tool: A Weber.“There’s nothing like a good grill,” Calapa says. “Weber has been making great grills for years, and I’ve always used this exceptional product.”

Best Sides: Grilled corn with mayo, hot sauce, lime, and cheese; or grilled zucchini with torn basil and aged balsamic.

Grilled Pizza: It’s a Thing

Pitmaster: David Amorelli, Executive Chef, Harvest on Hudson, Hastings-on-Hudson

Tips for Perfect Grilled Pizza:
1. Clean the grill.
2. Always use cold dough. If it warms up too much, it will become overproofed and hard to work with.
3. Oil the dough.
4. Pre-grill the dough before adding toppings.

A grill brush is key when making grilled pizza. You want to make sure the grill is clean before you get started.

Best Entertaining Tip: Put them to work. See if guests are willing to man the grill. “If friends are interested in grilling, I’ll gladly hand stuff off to them,” Amorelli says. “I’ve even taught my 17-year-old daughter to work the grill! It enables me to socialize with our guests.”

Favorite Grilling Tool: Grill brush. “If you don’t clean your grill properly and maintain it, the rest is all moot.”

Best Side: Grilled asparagus [marinated with garlic and herbs]. “Don’t get hung up on fancy pink salts or smoked salts,” Amorelli says. “A good kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper work just fine.”

Marinade 101

Our chefs share their favorite rubs.

David Amorelli: “There’s something about jalapenos and honey that gets me turned on a bit. You have that sweet and nutty and all of a sudden the heat. The balance of sweet and hot, if used properly, tastes great!”

Andy Nusser: “I love using Romesco sauce from Spain; jalapeno pesto and garlic scallion ginger sauce from Chinatown for meat after it has been grilled.” 

PJ Calapa: “I use herbs, olive oil, and garlic as my go-to marinade.”

Kyle Inserra: “I like to keep it simple—olive oil, salt, and pepper.”

Michael Abruzese: “I like adding a little allspice into the salt and pepper mix on steak. It adds a little something to the meat.”

Our Westchester Home Design Awards event is June 26!

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

Our Wunderkinds event takes place on May 23!

Our Best of Business Ballot is open through May 15!

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

Our Best of Westchester Elimination Ballot is open through March 6!

Holiday flash sale ... subscribe and save 50%

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.