Grilling Tips from Two Outdoor Entertaining Experts

AOG Grill Saffire Grill

Is there anything better than fresh grilled meat and vegetables, served outside on a calm evening? Outdoor entertainment spaces are one of the most popular places in American homes for many reasons and the need for recent social distancing has further enhanced this trend. 

And what better way to compliment an outdoor space than with the addition of a premium grill. Experts at Acme Brick understood the importance of this feature piece leading to a recent expansion in their product line including numerous elite grills

Great Grilling Starts with the Grill Itself 

Curious how much the grill plays a role in the flavor and cooking of meat and vegetables? According to Acme Brick experts, it is more than you would think!

With its unsurpassed, high-tech features and lifetime warranty, The American Outdoor Grill is the state-of-the-art for outdoor cooking. Unlike many grills that are available from “big box” retailers, this system will enable “grill-masters” of every level of expertise to consistently produce “four-star” quality.

The Saffire Grill combines the ancient art of “kamado,” or ceramic cooking with modern technology. Its thick ceramic walls provide efficiency that is far superior to standard metal grills. It allows for grilling and smoking meats and vegetables and can serve as an excellent pizza oven.

The RCS Cutlass Pro Series grills are designed for the weekend cook, as well as the professional chef. With cast stainless steel burners, solid, stainless steel cooking grids and the 304 stainless steel housing, these grills will provide many years of quality grilling. Other features include the rear infrared rotisserie burner with motor, spit rod with forks, heat zone separators, dual-interior halogen lights, LED illuminated control knobs and a full width slide-out drip tray.

Meet the Brickhouse Cookers 

With almost 130 years of brick-making history, Acme Brick knows a thing or two about the benefits of a hot fire. The company’s kilns can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees during the manufacturing process! It’s only fitting that a company whose products are forged in fire should attract a couple of guys who are award-winning grill masters. Brad Montgomery and Bill James are Acme Brick product specialists during the week, but on the weekends, they morph into “grillin’ gunslingers” known among other outdoor cooking contestants as “The Brickhouse Cookers.”

“We’ve placed in pretty much every category over the last 12 years including chicken, ribs, open category, red salsa, green salsa, red chili and green chili,” Montgomery and James said. 

The Secret Sauce

The Brickhouse Cookers have many great tips for any home grill master. For example, what makes a mouthwatering barbeque sauce?

Montgomery’s approach:

“I usually start with a good, balanced neutral BBQ sauce like “Head Country” or “War Pig” and dress it up. For ribs, I’ll combine “FUBAR” sauce from War Pig with a pineapple habanero jelly to use as a glaze for the last hour of the cook. For chicken, I’ll mix Head Country sauce with black cherry preserves and a little bourbon. I’ve made my own sauce, but if you find a good neutral sauce, and customize it, it will usually turn out pretty good. It’s what most of the competition cooks do. Regarding beef, if you need sauce, you’re doing it wrong.”

The James secret sauce:

“I use the KISS approach. I combine ketchup, brown sugar, salt & pepper, cumin, apple cider vinegar and white vinegar. This sauce is really good for basting ribs!”

What’s Cooking? 

The Brickhouse Cookers have won many awards because they understand that different dishes - steaks, chicken, fish, ribs and vegetables - require different prep and grilling techniques.

Montgomery and James offer their approach to each category.

Steaks: I like to reverse-sear my steaks. I’ll cook them at a low temperature over indirect heat until the internal temperature reaches about 120 F. I then take them off to rest while cranking up the temp on the grill (or cast-iron skillet) as high as it will go! Sear for about one minute per side, take it off the heat, put a pat of butter on top, cover with foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it.

Chicken: I like to use skin on chicken thighs because they are a little more forgiving due to the higher moisture / fat content. Also, you should cook them at a little higher temperature (300 degrees), so that the skin will get crispier. I smoke them in a pan of butter for the first hour, take them out of the butter, and smoke on the rack for another hour, and then baste them with sauce for the last half hour or so. I usually pull them off when the internal temp reaches around 185 F.

Fish: Redfish on the half shell is pretty hard to beat for easy and delicious. You leave the skin on the filet, which protects the flesh, and keeps it from burning. I usually use mayonnaise on the skin which helps the seasonings to stick. I’ve also used olive oil. You can pretty much use whatever flavor profile you like. It’s good with your favorite Cajun seasoning, parmesan, or thinly sliced lemons.

Ribs: I usually smoke them at around 275 degrees F for 2 hours, wrap in foil and smoke for one hour with honey, margarine and brown sugar, then unwrap and glaze with your favorite sauce for another hour. I like to use fruit woods like apples, cherries and peaches for pork. My rub also usually has dehydrated cherries in it. 

Veggies: I like to grill them over super high heat very quickly. Try to avoid overcooking them. Just get good grill marks.

Favorite Recipes of the Brickhouse Cookers

These two masters of the fire have their own favorites to grill. CAUTION: If you’re not hungry after reading this, you should check your temperature and self-quarantine for another few weeks!

For Bill James, his favorite dish is grilled skirt steak, AKA “fajitas”

Grilled Skirt Steak: “Marinate the skirt steak in Zesty Italian dressing for at least 24 hours. The longer it marinates, the more tender the meat will be. Add salt and pepper. Cook over mesquite or a sizzling hot grill.

“Pinto Beans is my second favorite. I make them by combining salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic and onion powder.  I then add onions sautéed in bacon grease and one-half a can of drained “Rotel” tomatoes. I rinse the beans and let them soak overnight in water and spices. 

Brad Montgomery has a couple of favorites too.

Reverse Seared Prime Ribeye: “I like to keep it pretty simple, but you have to have a great cut of meat. I heavily season the steak with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder, cook it over indirect heat at 250 until the interior temperature is about 120 degrees F, take it off the heat, crank up the heat on the grill to high, and sear for about a minute per side. I then add a pat of butter on top, cover with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes before you cut into it.”

Grilled Bruschetta Bianca: “Get the best loaf of white bread or heavy baguettes you can find and cut them into 1” diagonal slices. Get a clove of garlic and peel it. Crank up the grill to high heat. Lay out the slices of bread over high heat until they get grill marks on both sides. Immediately take the bread off and rub both sides with the raw garlic clove. Drizzle olive oil over the bread, sprinkle with kosher salt, black pepper and good Parmesan cheese. It’s great on its own, or with shaved Tri-Tip steak served on top.”  

Feeling Inspired? First You Need the Perfect Grill

It’s not surprising that the Brickhouse Cookers enjoy working their magic on both the American Outdoor Grill and the Saffire Grill.

“I have an American Outdoor Grill and really like it,” James said. “It is easy to maintain, gets really HOT and has a large cooking area. It’s a perfect all-around grill.”

“Saffire has taken the ceramic cooker model to the next level,” Montgomery adds. “Ceramic cookers like the Saffire are awesome for slow cooking as well as cooking over super high heat. I like the larger dome which allows quite a bit more room when cooking a taller piece of meat like a beer can chicken. It also allows you to add more wood to the fire for smoke without having to take everything out of the cooker which is a big hassle with the “Big Green Egg” or the “Kamado Joe.” The best thing about them is how little fuel you need with each cook. After each cook, you can snuff out the fire, and whatever charcoal is left is reusable.”

To get prepared for your next outdoor BBQ, the first step is choosing a grill that is right for you. For more information, visit brick.com/grills-and-kitchens or call your nearest Acme Brick location for pricing and details.