LA steakhouse chef offers tips on backyard grilling

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The executive chef at Nick & Stef's Steakhouse in LA offers tips for tasty burgers, steaks and hot dogs for your summer barbecue. (KABC)

Andreas Roller, the executive chef at Nick & Stef's Steak House in downtown Los Angeles, says there are three very easy ways to make sure your backyard BBQ is a masterpiece.

First, understand that you don't take your meat from chill to grill.

"Take your meat out of the fridge about half an hour before you intend to grill it," Roller said.

This allows the core temperature to even out and the exterior makes for better cooking. It makes a difference.

And know this when putting meat on the grill: The fire needs to be well-established.

Charcoal or wood should have that ash-white look. When using gas, test for heat with a few drops of water to see if it sizzles.

And when the meat goes on...

"Don't let the direct flames hit your steaks," Roller said. "You want to start out with a hot, high temperature to seal the steak. And as you have a nice outside, remove it to a lower temperature."

Done that way, the outside will be browned while the meat remains tender and juicy.

When we cook at home, we're so quick to add the sauces, spices and salt. But the chef says there's a really important time to add those ingredients.

"You want to wait with seasoning your meat, especially with the salt, to just a few moments before you hit the grill," Roller said.

That's because salt extracts moisture from your meat, creating a drying affect and toughness. So hold on until the last moment.

Roller prefers very little seasoning, letting meat speak for itself.

Then let the meat rest a bit to allow juices to pull back in.

Don't slice or serve immediately.

A reminder: Burgers and steak cook first on high heat, then slow and low. But the same can't be said for dogs or sausages.

"The sausages because they're in, I hope they are in a natural casing, they are not as heat-resistant. On a sausage you are looking for a nice slow roast and then move your sausage," Roller said.

He also recommends putting a lid on them to get a bit of steam, keeping them plump and supple.
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