This Labor Day weekend just might be the last time you can fire up the Weber this year. Use these recipes and tips to end the outdoor cooking season on a deliciously high note.
By Daniel Duane Thu, Sep 1, 2011
BBQ OYSTERS WITH CASINO BUTTER
CHEF: Greg Hinds, assistant manager at Hog Island Oyster Co., in San Francisco.
An hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge, in the pristine Pacific waters of Tomales Bay, the Hog Island Oyster Co. farms shellfish fine enough for the raw bars of California’s classiest restaurants. But Hog Island itself has on-site picnic tables with little hibachis, where savvy picnickers give oysters a quick hit on the grill, turning them into luxury party food. “Some people let the heat steam them open,” says Hinds. “Personally, I think that dries out the oyster because you have to wait for the heat to break down the ligaments holding the shell closed.” Instead, Hinds says, shuck the oysters first (go to mensjournal.com/the-right-way-to-shuck-an-oyster), pour off their excess liquid, and then set them on the grill on the half shell, uncovered. “Once the oyster meat looks a little cooked, a little opaque,” he says, “hit it with your favorite sauce and you’re good to go.”
EXPERT STEAKS: Don’t Touch Them
Everybody feels tempted to fuss with a steak on the grill, but steaks only develop a crispy outside crust, with intense char flavor, if you leave them completely alone until they’re ready to flip (4–9 minutes, depending on the cut). Salt aggressively right before cooking, not during.
ADVANCED TECHNIQUE: USING SMOKE CHIPS
Many experienced grillers use hardwood charcoals exclusively, but you can still get great wood-smoke flavors with regular charcoal. Plus, smoke chips are the only way to get wood-smoke flavors out of a gas grill. Oak, hickory, mesquite, and fruitwood all work great, with slightly different flavor profiles. Soak the chips in water for 30 minutes before using, then wrap them up in a tight foil package, pierce the package all over with a fork, and set over hot embers or on the gas burners. Quick-cooking foods like fish and steak will pick up only a touch of the flavor, but longer-cooking foods like a whole suckling pig get smoke deep into the meat.
BETTER THAN BBQ SAUCE: HOG ISLAND CASINO BUTTER
Slow-cook a pound of bacon, pouring off the extra fat. • Chop the bacon into small bits, and add them into about 1 pound of soft butter. • Add 2 minced shallots and a dash of Spanish paprika. • Whisk the mixture enough to melt, and then drizzle about 1 tbsp onto each oyster.