Street Wise Labor Day Grilling Tips
Morning commuters might have been wondering if a new pop-up restaurant had opened in Kalihi but it was just me grilling up some of my Korean mother-in-law’s kalbi beef short ribs. I had an opportunity to share some of my most trusted grilling tips for Labor Day on the Hawaii News Now sunrise show. So we could grill without smoking up the studio we set up on the side street just off busy Waiakamilo Road outside of KGMB’s studio. It was definitely one of the most unique venues I’ve ever cooked at, sandwiched between the loading dock and the parking entrance across from the Office Depot warehouse. All kinds of curious motorists were noticing the camera crew and recognizing Dan Cooke.
Moms Know – Keep It Simple
Going into the demo we didn’t have a long time to prepare but that was OK because for backyard grilling it’s all about the quality of the meat and keeping it simple. I learned that long before I ever set foot in culinary school. For backyard grilling tips I couldn’t go wrong with my Korean mother-in-law’s kalbi beef short ribs recipe. It’s real simple; shoyu, sugar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, onions and a lot of fresh cracked pepper. Use more shoyu than sugar and stay away from anything weird like 7-Up. That’s just a crutch for tenderizing poorer quality cuts of meat. The citric acid in some soft drinks starts to break down the meat but that’s not necessary with a good cut.
I also brought some portobello mushrooms to grill. That’s my mom’s recipe. She used to make burgers out of them. Again, very simple, just marinade the mushrooms in some Caesar salad dressing for a couple house and then grill them like a burger for about 5 minutes a side. It’s an alternative to eating meat for anyone that wants to eat something maybe a little healthier.
Like all grilling, times are only rough guides and probably the best tip, after buying good quality cuts of meat, is to stay vigilant. Grilling means you need to stay involved the whole time to be checking the meat and watching for flare ups. I had a little spray bottle of red wine that Dan Cooke was very interested in. I use it for flare ups and to add a little flavor to the meat. It’s another simple thing and a great way to add flavor.
Beautiful Steaks are in the Rib Eye of the Beholder
Grilling a great steak begins at the store. What you’re looking for in a rib eye, which in my opinion is the best cut for grilling, is something about an inch thick. Maybe a little thicker but you don’t really want it thinner because it cooks through too easily and it’s important that the thickness is uniform so it cooks evenly. You’re going for a medium or a rare with rib eye, not raw because there is the fat. For the fat you’re looking for good marbling with a nice even distribution through the cut. I always trim the tail fat off because big chunks of fat are going to cause flare ups and if they’re in the center of the steak the fat melts away and the steak falls apart. Salting the meat before you put it on the grill draws a little moisture out of the meat, but not too much, and you get a light crispy sheen on the outside with a nice juicy steak.
Mahalo to Hawaii News Now
Thank you to Dan Cooke for hanging out on the street corner with me and Grace Lee, Lacy Deniz, Howard Dicus and Billy V for all coming out to have a taste. We must have been quite a sight there in beautiful downtown Kalihi. I’m not sure how my mother-in-law will take it but Grace Lee’s dog Sunny seemed to like the kalbi as well, so her recipe might be getting a reputation. Click here for the full YouTube video from Hawaii News.