(NOTE: Barry Martin is one of my most trusted friend and cooking buddy. We are working together on a couple of projects, one of which is for Chosen-Foods. Chosen-Foods is the maker of high quality avocado oil. Here is one of Barry’s blog posts on the advantages of using avocado oil in high temperature grilling. Don’t forget to click the link at the end of the post for his recipe.)
3 Tips About High Temperature Grilling:
- Clean grates.
- Dry semi-saline meat surface. (Maillard Reaction)
- High smoke point oil brushed on the meat surface.
No beating around the bush on this one. Regardless of the grates on your grill – they should be clean clean clean. AND if they are bare metal they should be well-seasoned, like a favorite ol’ cast iron skillet. If the grates on your cooker are porcelain-coated or chrome-plated (like those on my Weber kettle) there is no need to “season” the grates or to oil them, just keep them clean. And for your general knowledge there is no need to oil the grates prior to grilling – just brush oil on the surface of the meat. Contrary to conventional wisdom oil on the grates does not make them slippery, it serves as a heat conductor between the relatively smooth surface of the metal grate and the relatively uneven surface of the meat. When you swipe a paper towel soaked in oil on the hot grates it will nearly always smoke – that means it’s going away “bye-bye” because the temperature of the grates exceed the burn or smoke point of the oil. That’s why I brush oil directly on the meat to be cooked. That’s where it will do the most good — conducting heat.
I cringe when I hear how much Extra-Virgin Olive Oil people say they use for cooking. Frankly, because there is so much counterfeit olive oil on the grocery store shelves these days it’s highly uncertain of what you are getting when you purchase olive oil. You can pretty much assume any olive oil in a clear bottle is mixed with something else, most likely a lesser grade of cooking oil. Real olive oil has a shelf life for freshness and must be stored in dark glass or other containers that block the light. There are several brands of olive oil I do trust – those coming from small producers in California and those I purchase at my local Olympia Olive Oil company where I know the proprietor. I use olive oil after cooking to add herbal flavors to the grilled and roasted meat I grill. All cooking oil has a smoke point, the temperature at which it begins to break down and form compounds that will burn. Some oils have low smoke points – butter for instance – and some higher. For outdoor grilling I prefer higher because it is slower to break down and form compounds that impart an off taste to the food. There are also health concerns associated with the compounds formed in some oils when they break down.
What kind of oil to use for seasoning grates and for brushing on steaks? I am using Avocado Oil these days because I always wanted to try it and I was sent a package of two bottles of Avocado Oil by Chosen Foods. They asked me to use it and share my thoughts. I like it. My fellow “Dads In Apron” co-conspirator Larry Gaian recommended I take delivery of this brand of avocado oil produced from fruit grown in southern California and Mexico – the same areas where the avocados I so dearly love come from. The reasons were very simply stated by Larry: “It’s got good stuff going on in it.” The healthy properties of Avocado oil are universally acclaimed and the process by which this brand extracts the oil from the avocado ensures they remain intact. And the 500°F smoke point is excellent for grilling at the high temperatures I use.