Memorial Day is coming up at that beautiful time of year it always does and with it comes the aforementioned events and activities we so much enjoy. If you haven’t already, it’s time to dust off the grill and get it ready for some proper American cuisine on one of our most American of holidays. But first, with celebration there should also be contemplation. When planning your list of Memorial Day festivities, before the parties, before the buffets, be encouraged to take some time out of the day to honor the men and women who fought and continue to fight for our rights and the rights of others all over the world. A time of reflection would be a great way to take stock and remember why we have a day worth celebrating in the first place.
Over the weekend there will be parades dotted over South Jersey in Haddon Heights, Burlington, Medford, Stone Harbor, and Somers Point, each are great destinations for families. Pay a visit to the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Memorial Cemetery in North Hanover Township to pay respect to the local men and women of New Jersey who died defending our country’s honor and freedom. There are various other memorials, parks, and museums throughout South Jersey. Round up your friends and family and go spend some time at one of them. Come with some American flags in hand to plant them across wherever it is you decide to visit.
Now, back to the grill. It’s a spring and summertime staple practiced by all but only mastered by few. There can be a certain arrogance to grilling in the open air; a sort of “Maybe if I just act like I know what I’m doing, no one will realize that I have barely any idea how to cook with this thing.” If that is in fact you, we have 3 prime SJ Hot Chefs tips for the grill to ensure that your Memorial Day foodstuffs taste their smoky tender best.
Get Good Stuff – Duh, right? What does that even mean? Well, because we like simplicity, when it comes to grilling and barbecuing we like our meat frozen and out of a box. Burgers tend to come this way; all premade and puck-shaped and whatnot. If you really want to kill it as the day’s featured Grillmaster (as well you should), get your butt to a butcher’s shop and get some freshly ground meat that’s 80 percent meat and 20 percent fat. Guaranteed you’ll be the talk of the day if you cook them right.
Season Your Meat – This may seem obvious to the well-rounded chef but if the extent of your cooking knowledge starts and ends with the grill then seasoning your meat may be a new concept to you. A liberal sprinkle of salt and pepper makes anything taste better so right before your meat hits the grill dash it on both sides with whatever seasoning you decide to use. Also, for maximum flavor, for the love of all that is good and right with the world, do not overflip the meat! Overflipping draws out more and more moisture and it can leave you with a dried out, flavorless, disappointing steak or burger among other things.
Give It a Rest – Contrary to what may seem natural, the next location for fresh-off-the-grill meat should not immediately be your mouth. When the meat is hot it is not at its most flavorful because of the altered state of its molecules. It doesn’t retain moisture as easily. So, if you take it off the grill, put it on a plate for 8-10 minutes and let it rest. The meat will cool down, it will resume its more stabilized structure and it will hold on to all of the natural juices that makes your steak or burger taste more like a Bobby Flay original and not a tough, dense, slab of something you’d peel off the bottom of your shoe.
Get out there this Memorial Day and enjoy the holiday for all it’s worth. Enjoy the times with friends, family, and good food, but be sure to remember why it is that we’re celebrating in the first place.