King of the Grill

How to spit-roast, shrimp-boil and BBQ your way to victory this summer

By The Editors
June 30, 2015 9:00 am

There are few rites of summer more sacred than donning tongs and apron, firing up the coals, and putting a good char on your favorite cut of meat.

In honor of that rite, we’re proud to present King of the Grill, our guide to cooking outdoors this summer.

Below: Cookouts. Four of ’em. We’ve got you covered with the gear you need and some quick and dirty tips from chefs who know the subject matter well.

And because what’s a cookout without entertainment, we linked up with our pals at Huckberry to bring you a few essentials for backyard merriment.

Read on and dine well, gents.

Enjoy the guide.

Chef Notes: “It’s easy to make a good whole roasted pig; very hard to make a bad roasted pig. Even harder to make a really good roasted pig. I like to cook them a la asador [on an iron cross], but you can use any outdoor smoker. Primitive open-fire cooking at its best.” — Cosmo Goss, The Publican (Chicago, IL)


1 pig, 100 lbs.
Chili Salumeria Brine
Kosher Salt

The Publican’s Chili Salumeria Brine

1 cup water
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 small red or green chile pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add salt and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool. Meanwhile, wrap the peppercorns in a kitchen towel and pound with a mallet until cracked. Place in a mortar along with garlic, lemon zest, juice, chopped chile, mint, parsley and red pepper flakes and pound together to a rough paste. Whisk in vinegar, half the salted water and olive oil. Taste for seasoning and stir in more salted water if desired. Let stand for 30 minutes.


1. Split the pig’s backbone three-fourths of the way so it lays completely flat. Ask your local butcher for help. Lightly season with Kosher salt. If using iron cross, tie the hind legs at the top; shoulder and head at the bottom.

2. Fire up the grill. Start with the flesh side towards the fire.

3. Spray the pig with the brine every half hour. We use a clean bug sprayer from Home Depot, but any spray bottle would work.

4. After two or three hours, rotate the cross or flip the pig. The whole process should take 5-6 hours for a 100-lb. hog. If using a meat thermometer, pull the pig from the heat when it’s 130 degrees in the thickest part of the shoulder or leg. The meat should start to peel away from the bones.

5. Pull off the grill and let cool for 15 minutes. Pull the meat off the bones. Enjoy.

The Gear

a. Machete SpatulaCapable of opening bottles, slicing through meat and flipping burgers. Also looks seriously badass.

b. Texas Smoke BagEasiest way to step up any roast. Homegrown bags of wood chips by way of Texas. Just throw ’em in the ‘cue and you’re done.

c. Bear Paw Meat HandlersThe best way to shred your meats. Also good for fighting.

d. La Caja GrillThis roasting box can handle a one-hundred-pound hog. A goat or three. Simple. Portable. Smokes like a champ.

e. Weber Grill GlovesSilicone patterns for grip. Perfect for handling items hot off the grill, or you know, flipping a pig. 

Chef Notes: “Best way to cook salmon: the grill. I like to use oak wood. It gives it more of a smoky flavor and an overall better aroma.  Always leave the skin on, especially if you want to get a crispy grilled fish. I also like to use a really hot flame to char and get the skin crispy quickly – mark it on all sides and then grill. Delicious.” — Benjamin Balesteri, Poggio Trattoria (Sausalito, CA)


1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups button-cap chanterelles, washed
3 cups mixed summer squash, diced
1/4 cup butter
1 pinch chili flakes
24 ounces skin-on Wild King Salmon, cut in four portions
12 padrón peppers
12 squash blossoms
1 bunch watercress
2 tablespoons fines herbes, chopped (such as chervil, chives, tarragon, parsley)
1/4 cup preserved lemon vinaigrette


1. In a sauté pan over medium to high heat, add oil and chanterelles. Caramelize until golden brown (3-4 minutes), stirring often. Add squash, butter and continue to cook until squash is tender — about two minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a pinch of chili flakes.

2. Heat grill to high heat. Brush fish with olive oil so the skin does not stick to the grill, and season with salt. Place fish skin side down on the grill and cook for 2 minutes, being sure not to burn the skin or let the grill flare up. Turn the fish 90 degrees and cook for one minute or until skin is crispy, then flip and continue to cook one minute or until medium rare.

3. While the fish is cooking, drizzle a little olive oil on the peppers and place them on the grill to cook, about one minute each side until golden brown.

4. To plate, place the squash and chanterelles on the plate, then top with the salmon. Garnish with the grilled peppers, squash blossoms, watercress and herbs, and drizzle vinaigrette over the top.

The Gear

a. Weber Fish Grill BasketWith a flexible wire design, this Weber basket adjusts to fit fish of all sizes and shapes.

b. Himalayan Salt BlockGrill, cure or season on the grill with this salty block of deliciousness.  

c. Kalamazoo Hybrid GrillThis behemoth four-burner grill cooks with gas, wood or charcoal. Advanced heat dynamics and custom grill gates.

d. Todd St. John Folding ChairA relaxing, portable deck chair made from locally sourced solid walnut, heavy-duty nylon and custom brass hardware.

e. GrillbotRoomba for grills. Push one button. Clean grill. That easy.

You’ve got the recipes.

You’ve got the gear.

Now you need the diversions.

We hooked up with the gents at Huckberry to bring you the essentials every man entertaining in his backyard needs.

Choice pickings below. Be sure you visit Huckberry for the full collection.

a. Nude Audio SpeakerMusic? Necessary. The Super-M from Nude Audio gives you the freedom of portability with enough boom to fill the out of doors.

b. Cube LightA handsome, minimalist light source you can throw anywhere you need.

c. Miir GrowlerThe next time you must bear gifts for the grillmaster: a Miir growler of his favorite beer.

d. R Murphy Knife SetA sharp set from one of the oldest remaining knife manufacturers in the U.S. of A.

e. Leatherhead FootballNothing better than tossing the pigskin. Leatherhead makes the best in the biz.

f. Cotton Rope HammockGood-looking and more importantly: comfortable. Tie one on.

g. La Playa BlanketA rugged blanket hand-loomed in Mexico. Good for: Lazing. Splaying. Digesting.

And now, steak tips from Billy Oliva, the man behind the chops at Delmonico’s, the legendary New York steakhouse that’s been open for more than 150 years.

1. People tend to only season one side, while the other side of the meat is left bland. Be sure to season both sides before setting on the grill.

2. I suggest keeping one side of the grill hot and the other side cool; this will come in handy later!

3. Never stab the meat with a fork to flip it over, this will release the juices. Always use tongs.

4. If you’re cooking on charcoal, make sure you wait until the charcoal turns white. Some tend to rush the process or throw a steak on the grill when there is an open flame, which immediately burns the meat.

5. Don’t flip too often; you have to make sure the meat cooks.

Delmonico’s Marinade
Makes one cup marinade

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced shallot
Salt and pepper to taste


Simply whisk all the ingredients together until they emulsify and create a velvety marinade to use for grilling steak (or any variety of protein).

The Gear

a. Thermoworks ThermapenGet your grill temp in three seconds flat. Seriously. The most accurate thermometer on the market.

b. Bison AirlighterAccelerates to high heat in one minute to instantly light charcoal or wood. A must-have for impatient grillers.

c. GrillTimer WatchA slick chronograph timepiece with a unidirectional “Grill Bezel,” which tells you when to flip and remove your meat from the grill.

d. Weber Grill Performer DeluxeThis is your year-round steak grill. A durable, weather- and rust-resistant gas ignition lighter with one-touch cleaning.

e. Weber 7416 Rapidfire Chimney StarterForget the lighter fluid. Weber’s chimney starter features a cone bottom to ensure a quick start to your fire every time.

Chef Notes: “For seasoning your Low Country boil, you can use Old Bay or Tony Chachere, but here’s my family recipe, which can be made in bulk. It’ll keep in an air-tight container at room temp for three months. And remember not to throw it all in at once.” — Vivian Howard, Chef and the Farmer and The Boiler Room (Kinston, NC)

Chef Howard’s A Chef’s Life enters its third season on PBS this September.


1 pound of smoked sausage
1 pound of new potatoes
5 ears of corn, split
2 pounds of shrimp
2 gallons of water
½ cup of seasoning
2-3 tablespoons of seasoning for “out of the pot”
3 tablespoons of butter at room temp (because it melts without making it too greasy)
2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Makes enough for three people. Multiply times three for a party.

Chef Howard’s Low Country Boil Seasoning

3 tablespoons Spanish smoked paprika (Pimentón) ground in a coffee grinder
1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons ground celery seed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar


1. Bring two gallons of water to a boil in one large pot. Add seasoning.

2. Add smoked sausage cut into two-inch pieces and the new potatoes whole. (“New” means they’re young and the skin is thin. Keep them whole to ensure they don’t get water-logged and stay creamy.) Cook for 10 minutes.

3. Add corn and cook for 5 minutes (use sweet or yellow corn; notch-cut then break in half, as shown above).

4. Add shrimp when everyone is ready to eat and “cut the heat” and stir them in for three minutes so you don’t boil them to death.

5. Strain it and place in a bowl. Add the 2-3 tablespoons of seasoning, butter, lemon juice and mix.

6. Serve over butcher paper and have a roll of paper towels handy.

The Gear

a. Hedley and Bennett ApronLooking good is boiling good. For unexpected splashes. A durable raw denim apron handmade in L.A.

b. Bayou Classic Crawfish Boil KitAn all-in-one cooking solution. 60-quart aluminum stockpot. Double jet cooker. 35” wooden paddle. 

c. Recommended beer parings: 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon // Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale // Firestone Easy Jack IPA

d. Yeti Tundra CoolerThis warship of a cooler comes in eleven sizes, so you’re set for smaller camping trips or bigger yard parties. 

e. Home Depot Picnic TableLay some butcher paper across this picnic table and dump your boil. Easy to break down in case you’re shipping off elsewhere.