Grilling – Chefs Tips, Tricks & Prized Recipes
Yes, spring is here and that means it’s “grilling time”! It is just about to heat up on my patio with thoughts of marinated tri-tip, cedar plank salmon, and chicken soaked in beer & thyme. The new grill cover is here, check. New burner covers and igniter, yes. Cleaned the grill, sure did. Recipe books out. Yup. It is serious “game on” here at our house. And what better way to start the grilling season than to turn to some of our favorite chefs for a little insider’s playbook on how to make something memorable. They have kindly obliged with some tips, tricks, favorite techniques, and yes, even a few recipes and marinades for you to try at home.
Owner & Chef Zov Karamardian of Zov’s Bistro’s in Newport Coast
Favorite Grilling Tools Include:
- Asparagus Clamps are a favorite. They hold the asparagus tightly, so it cannot escape into the grill. It grills them perfectly & evenly.
- A Grilling basket. This is perfect for scallops, shrimp, chestnuts or any small items that could fall into the grill.
Tips for Grilling Burgers, Steaks & Fish:
- For Burgers– Don’t excessively mix the meat mixture. Salt and pepper after the patties are made. Once the grill is hot, turn the burners off and then spray the grill with Pam. Then turn the burners back on. This way the burgers don’t stick. Make sure the grill is hot before you throw on the patties and do not turn them for a few minutes.
- For Fish– Grill the fish on a piece of foil so it does not flake off into the grill. I like to garnish with lemon slices, salt and pepper & olive oil so it does not burn. Cover the top of the fish with foil to lock in the juices and flavor.
- For Steak– Make sure the meat is room temperature. Place on the grill and then add salt and pepper. To achieve the criss-cross grilling marks, start the meat in a 9 o’clock position, and then rotate to a 12 o’clock position, thus creating the markings. Cook 8-9 minutes for rare and 10-11 minutes for medium.
Since opening her first restaurant in 1987, Zov Karamardian has become one of the best-loved chefs/restaurateurs in Southern California and is always giving back to students, children and her local community. In addition to her flagship Bistro in Tustin, CA, she owns and operates restaurants in Newport Beach, Irvine, 2 concepts at John Wayne Airport and recently opened Zov’s in Anaheim. She has authored two best-selling, hard-cover cookbooks, “Simply Zov” and “Zov: Recipes and Memories From the Heart”.
Executive Chef Marc Johnson of Oak Grill Restaurant in Newport Beach
Favorite Grilling Tips:
When grilling, one of the most important things to remember is to have a piping hot grill. This allows the protein to sear quickly creating a nice crust and also helps hold in all the juices. Additionally, the hot grill prevents food from sticking.
Another trick with grilling is that it allows you to create a charred flavor, which really brings out a unique sweet essence to the meat, fish or even fruit. Just know that charring is done intentionally, and should not be mistaken for burning something. A few items that are ideal for charring include: peaches, apricots, calamari and breads.
Favorite Recipes for Grilling:
Here is a recipe that incorporates grilled calamari, and home cooks will enjoy making. First up, is a homemade Gnocchi, with a fresh Basil Pesto sauce, and that is topped with fresh Grilled Calamari. This is the perfect complement to summer fare and evenings on the patio with friends. Click here for the recipe.
The Oak Grill Restaurant is located at the Island Hotel, in Newport Beach. The restaurant features a lovely dining room and bar tucked in the corner with a big screen TV for sports fans. Out on the Terrace is romantic seating with orange lanterns floating from the tree branches above. This is a favorite lunch spot of mine, and on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings there is live music outside at the fire-pit just steps away from the restaurant from 6-9pm.
Two fun upcoming events for May include:
Wine Dinner– California Huneeus Vintners in the Oak Grill Private Dining Room Thursday, May 7th – Huneeus Vintners Wine Dinner at 6:30pm. Guests will be greeted fireside with a glass of wine in Oak Grill’s Private Dining Room. Sommelier Miguel Rodriguez-Vidal will lead guests through this Five-Course Dinner paired with wines from Huneeus Vintners family of vineyards, produced in Napa Valley and along the Sonoma Coast. $150 per person for Five-Course Dinner paired with wines, excluding tax and gratuity. For reservations, call 949-760-4920.
World Whiskey Day– International Shots or Flights
Saturday, May 16th from 3:00-6:00pm. On World Whiskey Day, guests celebrate with a special Happy Hour in both Oak Grill and Aqua Lounge. Guests will sip shots of Teeling Whiskey (Irish), Duke Bourbon Whiskey (American), Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch (Scottish) and Crown Royal (Canadian) for $7 a shot each, or $20 for a flight of tasting sized portions of all four. For reservations, call 949-760-4920.
Executive Chef Bruno Massuger- Newport Dunes Back Bay Bistro
Favorite Grilling Tips:
- Never use pre-packaged meats.
- Use a high quality USDA Prime or Choice Grade Steak with marbling for flavor.
- For chicken, use the thighs. They are richer in flavor than the breast meat. Remove the skin but leave the bone in and place the meat over the cooler side of the grill.
- Any summer fresh vegetables are wonderful on the grill.
- Mesquite Chips on the grill (in a container) add a rich flavor.
- Beautiful marbled steaks!
For Chef Bruno’s recipe for Rib Eye Steaks with Parsley Maitre d’Butter Click Here.
Chef Bruno Massuger, a French native who was trained at the Ecole Hoteliere in Rouen, France and later at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). He has served as director of culinary operations for a number of exclusive private clubs, including the Center Club, before being appointed Executive Chef of the Back Bay Bistro at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort. In addition to overseeing the 199-seat restaurant, he is responsible for the Dunes’ bustling catering division. The Back Bay Bistro features commanding views of the Back Bay and a retractable awning gives the restaurant a “convertible roof” in the summer months. With a wrap-around balcony, it offers refreshing breezes and wide open views of Newport’s Back Bay below. The restaurant serves dinner Wed-Sun (5:00pm– Close), lunch Wed-Sun (opening at 11:00am) and brunch on Sat & Sun. For reservations, please call: (949) 729-1144.
Chef Partner Mark Ogren -Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar at Newport Beach
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar at Newport Beach is the original flagship restaurant for Fleming’s. The name is synonymous with incredibly delicious grilled steaks, burgers, and seafood, so what better team to inquire about ideas on grilling. Chef Partner Mark Ogren and his Culinary Team shared with us not one, but two recipes to enjoy at home. The first is a Filet of Beef with Shrimp Diablo, and the second is a Filet of Beef With A Kona Rub & Shoyu Sauce. Both sound incredible! Click Here For The Recipes.
Fleming’s is located in Fashion Island, and offers an innovative menu inspired by their passion for steaks, dry-aged prime ribeye, seafood, poultry and so much more. They are well known for their impressive 100 wines by the glass, and a popular happy hour (both early and late). On Sundays, guests can indulge early or late with their fun “Sonoma Sundays” menu offered from 11:00am to 3:00pm, Bar la Carte beginning at 3:00pm and “5 for $6 ’til 7” with dinner menus offered an hour earlier from 4:00pm to close at 10:00pm. For reservations, please call (949) 720-9633.
Chef Luke Turpin from Pelican Grill- Located at The Resort At Pelican Hill-Newport Coast
Tips for Grilling With Fruit:
- Just about any fruit can be used for grilling.
- When using larger fruits, like melons for example, make sure to cut them in long pieces that are easily maneuvered on the grill.
- Be sure to season the fruit with salt, pepper and olive oil – just like one would do for any other item placed on the grill.
- The key to grilling fruit is using a very hot grill to caramelize the fruits natural sugars, and add that char flavor that is so enjoyable.
- It is important to watch the fruit carefully on the grill, as it can quickly become overcooked and burnt.
Pelican Grill is located at The Resort at Pelican Hill. It is a great place for a drink after a round of golf, enjoying a sporting event in the lounge on the big screen, lunch or dinner in the dining room, or outside on the terrace with panoramic ocean views. The cuisine is Napa-inspired, with handcrafted signature items such as: ahi tuna tartare, jumbo lump crab cakes and barbequed short ribs. Celebrating all the holidays, Chef Luke Turpin is planning for a lovely Sunday for both Mother’s and Father’s Day here at Pelican Grill. For reservations, please call
Hopefully this article has inspired you to get your grill ready for a summer filled with delicious marinades, rubs and fresh grilled fruit ideas. Dine well.