Get fired up

With summer comes the sizzle of the backyard barbecue, but there’s more to good grilling than meets the meat-lover’s eye. And if anyone in Baton Rouge knows his way around the pit, it’s Chef Tony Matassa of The website is one of the world’s leading e-commerce sites for outdoor cooking products and is home to articles, recipes and videos in which Matassa gets back to barbecue basics. Here, he shares his secrets to savory success.


Gas v. charcoal

The biggest advantage of a gas grill is convenience—they are typically easier to use and reach and maintain precise temperatures easily. Grilling over charcoal adds a smokier taste. Charcoal grills are generally better suited to a low and slow style. The bottom line: Although charcoal grills are known for delivering traditional char-grilled flavor, today’s premium gas grills are closing the gap.


A meat manifesto

My favorite cut of meat to grill is flank steak. It delivers a hearty beef flavor that other cuts find hard to match. Grill steak to no more than medium rare, remove and allow to rest for five minutes before slicing. Slice about 1/4 inch thick, against the grain and on a bias. This step is crucial, due to the large amount of connective tissue.


Common BBQ blunders

– Not allowing the grill to preheat for 10 to 15 minutes before grilling

– Not allowing your protein to rest at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes before grilling

– Overworking ground beef when making hamburgers

– Pressing meat with the back of your spatula while grilling

– Constantly flipping


Surprise hits

Grilled okra always blows people’s minds. Not only does it taste great, but the quickness of grilling cooks the okra without the slimy texture. Another crowd favorite is grilled fruit. Peaches, apples, or bananas work best. Brush with butter to intensify their sweetness, or top or stuff them with chopped chocolate, nuts, cane syrup or caramel.