BBQ Like a Boss - 5 Tips from Top Chef Contestant Carrie Baird

It's that time! With Memorial Day around the corner, grilling season is officially upon us. Even though it can be a little more work to fire up the grill or prep the coals, there is nothing like cooking outside and enjoying the unique taste of grilled meats or veggies. We're even more excited to grill this season because our good friend Carrie Baird, a leading contestant on this past season of Top Chef, shared her tried and true grilling tips with us. Here they are!

1. Gas vs. charcoal: Charcoal, or wood chips is always best. Try and find the charcoal called lump wood- it looks like burned wood, or a nice hickory or cherry wood chip will do just as good. SOAK half of what you need in water for an hour or two. You don’t want your chips to burn off too fast - and it's all about the smoke! Let the chips turn white and be super hot before you get grillin'!


2. What to grill? First, use the best you can afford. This rule is for everything you grill, cook and eat. A nice responsibly raised meat or vegetable will have a 1000% better outcome than a commodity meat - every time. Think about who you are feeding, just you or a crowd? If it's a party, go with a pork shoulder or Boston Butt and smoke it slow and low all day long. Just you? Grab that well marbled Rib-eye.

3. Marinating is not optional! Be prepared and throw that meat or veggie in a bag with some good olive oil, salt, more salt, garlic and way too many herbs and spices over night. And don’t forget to temper your meats. Set them out for an hour before you cook them to come to room temp. When done grilling, let them rest for 5-30 minutes, depending on what you've made.

4. BBQ is for veggies too! I don’t think there is anything better than marinated broccoli, charred over an open fire. Serve it with some smoky hummus or charred herb vinaigrette - so good. Or Mexican Street corn, Eloti. THE BEST BBQ food. period.


5. The other stuff. Make your own tortillas or flat breads and grill them. They soak up all that awesome smoke flavor, and you’ll impress everyone with your grilling skills making bread outside. Grill peppers, onions and herbs, throw them in your blender for a quick salsa.

Best of luck grillers!

Thank you so much Carrie for sharing these amazing tips!! She makes it all sound so easy, right?! We hope you get some great grilling in now that the days are warmer and longer. We'd love to see you in action, so be sure to tag us on Facebook or Instagram, @ajnaoutdoorliving, and follow Carrie, @chefcarrieb, to see more of her amazing food ideas! 

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