A Man's Guide to Grilling, with Chef/Owner Jeffrey Kohn of Q Restaurant & Bar in Port Chester
How to be a mean, manly grilling machine
Men of Westchester—feeling unmanly because your wife insists on the two of you watching Desperate Housewives and the latest Lifetime tear-jerker? Head out to the backyard and do what any self-respecting American male would to regain his manhood: grill. We enlisted Chef/Owner Jeffrey Kohn of Q Restaurant & Bar in Port Chester to give us a few pointers on how to grill like a master…and a man.
■ Grill: Weber kettle charcoal grill ➊. “A charcoal grill has a hotter sear and helps food cook evenly,” Kohn says.
■ Charcoal: Royal Oak hardwood lump charcoal ➋—and no lighter fluid. “Charcoal gets really hot and burns relatively clean. Lighter-fluid chemicals make the food taste bad.”
■ Accessories: A charcoal starter ➌, long metal tongs with no grip or coating ➍, a basting mop ➎ for the food, and a spray bottle ➏ for flares. “That’s all,” Kohn says. “I don’t really use many accessories.” Right. Accessories are for girls.
■ Grilling Technique: “Put the charcoal on one side of the grill,” Kohn advises. “Grill the meat on that side until it’s colored well, then move it over to the other side where there’s no charcoal. The indirect heat will slowly cook thicker, boned meat through.” To see if the food is done, touch it; who needs a meat thermometer? “Mushy is raw; tight is well,” he says.
■ Best Grilling Beer: Red Stripe ➐. “When you go to Jamaica and eat barbecue, that’s what you have,” Kohn says. “It’s good-vibe beer.” For non-beer drinkers, he recommends a Malbec.
■ Seasoning: “How you season is the difference between a good cook and a better cook.” For an overnight marinade, use lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and herbs. Before cooking, season meat heavily with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. One of Kohn’s favorite seasonings? Jamaican jerk seasoning consisting of ginger, thyme, Scotch bonnet chile pepper, and allspice.
■ Barbecue Sauce: Fuggedaboutit. “Barbecue sauce is a finishing sauce,” he says. “If you put it on too early, it burns.” The idea of barbecue sauce as a marinade is a myth. “It was not meant to be a marinade.”
■ Cleaning Up: Turn the grill off. “Charcoal stays hot even after the grill is off, so it can be cleaned then. Or, you can just leave it as is. “The next time you grill, you end up preheating it anyway. Right before you put the meat on, clean it with a brush.” Kohn suggests a two-foot-long, wood-handled brush.