Chicago Scene – Grilling Tips
Phil’s Last Stand
2258 West Chicago Avenue
Chicago Style Char Dog:
Take hotdogs and score the ends. Place on grill and cook thoroughly allowing the dogs to char. Place dogs in buns and top with mustard, diced onion, tomato, pickle, pepper and celery salt.
Keep it clean
No one wants their burger and hot dogs tasting like fish. Always have a grill brush on hand to clean the grill between uses. If you are in a pinch, a half of an onion or crinkled tinfoil works as excellent grill cleaners.
Make it hot!
Invest in a charcoal chimney. Charcoal chimneys cut the heating time in half and insure an even hot fire.
Control the Fire, Don’t Fight it
An out of control fire is the best way to ruin any bbq. Always have a squirt bottle on hand with water to put out flare-ups and to monitor the heat.
To lid or not to lid
There is an age-old debate on whether or not to keep the lid on your grill. Here is the trick to keeping a lid on things:
Use the lid with the vents almost closed to reduce the heat on the grill
Use the lid with the vents completely open to accelerate cooking time
Keep the lid off when searing
Season your meat beforehand! No one likes a bland burger. Seasoning before grilling allows the flavors to penetrate the patty.
Be careful how long you steam your buns, over steaming will actually overcook the bun and make it taste bitter. Make sure you never leave the bun steaming for too long.
Know how to handle your meat
Cut X’s into the tips of your hot dogs. There is no better way to cook a hotdog than on a grill. However, the charred taste you were trying to achieve can be ruined if your dog splits in half or is cold in the middle. Cutting X’s into the dog allows the center of the dog to be cooked while still getting a great char on the outside.
Let your burger patties rest. The key to perfectly cooked burgers is to let them rest before and after grilling. Take your burger meat out of the fridge 8 minutes before grilling. If you cook a cold patty you run the risk of under-cooking the middle of the burger. Once the burger is done cooking, allow it to rest 2-3 minutes before placing it on the bun. This gives the juices in the burger time to redistribute and is the best way to avoid soggy buns.