5 Top Westchester Chefs Share Their Secrets To Barbecue Bliss
Make the most of your summer cookouts with tips from these county favorites.
Pitmasters: Michael Abruzese and Kyle Inserra, Co-owners/Chefs, Polpettina, Larchmont
Favorite Thing to Grill: Chicken, steak, and burgers. Get Polpettina’s grilled lemon chicken recipe at www.westchestermagazine.com/recipes.
Best Entertaining Tip: Make a burger setup. “[Add] toppings like pickles, onions, condiments, etc., ”Abruzese says. “It’s a big hit at any barbecue.”
Inserra’s Favorite Grilling Tool: A long pair of heat-resistant tongs.
16" tongs, Available at www.oxo.com, $14.99
Best Side: A light antipasto with roasted peppers, marinated artichokes, salami, and cheeses. “You need some sort of little things to pick on while everyone is waiting [for dinner],” Abruzese says. “You don’t want people standing around watching you grill.”
It’s All About the Meat
Pitmaster: Andy Nusser, Chef/Partner, Tarry Lodge, Port Chester
Favorite Thing to Grill: Meat. “Usually on a weekend, I’m doing a porcini-rubbed, bone-in rib-eye, where you’re impressing your friends by getting a prime rib-eye thickly cut and rubbing garlic and porcinis into it,” Nusser says. “You’re essentially showing off!”
“The best sauce for any grilled meat (think rib-eye or skirt steak), is Romesco. It’s easy to make in a food processor and keeps well in the refrigerator.”
For Chef Andy Nusser’s sauce recipes, visit www.westchestermagazine.com/recipes.
Best Entertaining Tip: Plan ahead. “You want to be drinking and showing off, but if you’re elbow deep in potato salad, that’s not fun,” Nusser says.
Curto's Appliances 1966 Central Ave, Yonkers
Favorite Grilling Tool: A smoker. “Anything you make in a smoker just tastes so much better.”
Best Side: Tomatoes and corn. “Summer is go time for tomatoes and corn. If you are grilling outside in the summer, tomatoes and corn should be in the mix,” Nusser says. “[My tomato, avocado, and corn salad is] quick and easy [and] is best when the tomatoes and corn are at their peak.”
Get Chef Andy Nusser’s tomato, avocado, and corn salad recipe at www.westchestermagazine.com/recipes.
Pitmaster: PJ Calapa, Executive Chef, Campagna at The Bedford Post Inn, Bedford
Favorite Thing to Grill: Head-On Shrimp.“Take head-on shrimp, season with shaved garlic, chili flakes, and olive oil.
Tips for Grilling a Whole Fish:
1. Oil the fish, not the grill.
2. Keep the grill very hot.
3. If the fish sticks when you try to flip it, give it more time.
Curto's Appliances, 1966 Central Ave, Yonkers
(914) 793-5600; www.curtos.com, prices vary
Best Entertaining Tip: “Get your guests liquored up and make the grilling interactive (i.e., put them to work!)” Calapa says.
Favorite Grilling Tool: A Weber.“There’s nothing like a good grill,” Calapa says. “Weber has been making great grills for years, and I’ve always used this exceptional product.”
Best Sides: Grilled corn with mayo, hot sauce, lime, and cheese; or grilled zucchini with torn basil and aged balsamic.
Grilled Pizza: It’s a Thing
Pitmaster: David Amorelli, Executive Chef, Harvest on Hudson, Hastings-on-Hudson
Tips for Perfect Grilled Pizza:
1. Clean the grill.
2. Always use cold dough. If it warms up too much, it will become overproofed and hard to work with.
3. Oil the dough.
4. Pre-grill the dough before adding toppings.
A grill brush is key when making grilled pizza. You want to make sure the grill is clean before you get started.
Best Entertaining Tip: Put them to work. See if guests are willing to man the grill. “If friends are interested in grilling, I’ll gladly hand stuff off to them,” Amorelli says. “I’ve even taught my 17-year-old daughter to work the grill! It enables me to socialize with our guests.”
Favorite Grilling Tool: Grill brush. “If you don’t clean your grill properly and maintain it, the rest is all moot.”
Best Side: Grilled asparagus [marinated with garlic and herbs]. “Don’t get hung up on fancy pink salts or smoked salts,” Amorelli says. “A good kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper work just fine.”
Our chefs share their favorite rubs.
David Amorelli: “There’s something about jalapenos and honey that gets me turned on a bit. You have that sweet and nutty and all of a sudden the heat. The balance of sweet and hot, if used properly, tastes great!”
Andy Nusser: “I love using Romesco sauce from Spain; jalapeno pesto and garlic scallion ginger sauce from Chinatown for meat after it has been grilled.”
PJ Calapa: “I use herbs, olive oil, and garlic as my go-to marinade.”
Kyle Inserra: “I like to keep it simple—olive oil, salt, and pepper.”
Michael Abruzese: “I like adding a little allspice into the salt and pepper mix on steak. It adds a little something to the meat.”