Iron Chef Michael Symon’s Grilling Tips

It’s never too early, or late, in the year to fire up some coals (or turn on the gas), toss some meat on the grill and kick back with a nice juicy pile of protein. And who better to help you make your grilling experience the best it can possibly be than Iron Chef Michael Symon. Mr. Symon gave us a few grilling tips which we are passing onto you. You can thank us over dessert.


Meat selection is very similar to how you should select a great bourbon, you should always look at three defining factors – nose, mouthfeel and color.

Nose – The meat should always smell fresh and not be watery, it shouldn’t have any funky smell to it. Just like when you’re choosing your bourbon, it’s important to pay close attention to that wonderful aroma.

Mouthfeel – When cooking with chicken, go for the thighs, they have the most flavor. When grilling a red meat, fat is your friend. There is no flavor in the more lean and tender meats, you want meat that has terrific marbling and a good amount of fat that will melt as the meat cooks and makes for a delicious steak. Skirt steaks and a good, bone-in ribeye have a good about of marbling. You can always tell the quality of a bourbon by the mouthfeel, it’s the same thing with poultry and meat.

Color – When selecting chicken make sure it is creamy white, not yellow. When you’re looking at a good bourbon it should have a deep amber color which means it has been aged and has taken on some of the color of the barrel.


Always bring your meat and poultry to room temperature before grilling, depending on the thickness or size it could take anywhere from 5- 20 minutes. When prepping Steak, treat it simply with salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil on both sides before grilling. This allows the great flavors of the steak to speak for themselves.


Always use the same technique when grilling any meat. Start with heating the grill 20-30 minutes with lid down prior to grilling.

Be patient, to create a damn great char takes time – Knob Creek takes nine years to age, thats when all the magic happens. Don’t flip the meat around repeatedly – you won’t get the fantastic char you’re looking for this way. If you’re patient, this is the perfect time to make yourself a cocktail – relax a little while it’s cooking!


Knob Creek sets the standard for real bourbon, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t mix a bit of water or ice or any mixer in there with the bourbon. The same thing applies with food. Sometimes its those little things that elevate your dish.

With chicken in particular, it’s really great if you can kick it up with a little bit of barbecue sauce, some extra virgin olive oil, or some fresh horseradish or lemon zest.

When finishing a steak dish, its important to be patient and to let it rest, so the juices remain within the meat.

Make sure you cut it against the grain to ensure it remains tender and juicy before plating. There is no right or wrong with plating or finishing touches – there is just what you like.