Nothing says summer like outdoor eating. We’ve got tips to help you get great results on the grill.

Master the Grill: Before you wield your tongs and kitchen mitts, check out these tips from Jeff Zupan, operations manager at Bunzel’s (9015 W. Burleigh St.). They’ll help make every cookout a success.

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris.

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris.

1.Get your chicken butterflied. It’ll lie flat and grill faster and more evenly. If you choose a boneless, skinless breast, brine it first and start with a clean, oiled grate – without the fatty skin, you’ll need that to combat sticking.

2.Skirt steaks love heat. You sear both sides quickly over a blazing-hot fire, finishing it medium-rare to medium on the inside, Any longer and it’ll be chewy.


3.Brining pork chops (in a salt solution) helps keep them juicy. When Bunzel’s Zupan is cooking thick chops, he’ll sear them on both sides, then stand them up on the end to ensure even cooking.


4.A marbleized ribeye steak just needs to be rubbed with olive oil and Kosher salt and pepper before hitting the grill.


5.Before grilling a lamb loin, rub it generously with olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, rosemary, cumin, salt and pepper.


6.Take its temperature:

“With chicken, take the meat off the grill when the thermometer registers 162 degrees. Plate it, let it rest for a few minutes. It’ll still be cooking. Check the thermometer again. At 165 degrees, poultry is safe to eat.”

7.Choose a forgiving cut: 

“If you want beef, go with tenderloins. They’re very lean, very easy to cook. If you want pork, either a thin chop or pork steak – it has a little more fat content and helps keep more moisture.”

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8.Try a sugar rub: 

“With tenderloins and some steaks, I’ll season them with table sugar. It sort of crystallizes and helps hold the juices in.”

9.How the pros check for doneness: 

“You can almost tell by feel. If it’s real soft and mushy, it’s going to be close to rare to medium-rare. Once it’s firmer, you can gauge how well it’s done. If you practice at it, you can do it.”

10.Cook the perfect steak on a gas grill:

“I get the grilll up to 400 degrees, then sear both sides, turn the heat down to 300 degrees and leave it to finish cooking like that. Then let it rest for five to six minutes.”

11.Achieve the perfect grill marks:

“You have to get high heat, sear the steak, then flip it. You can always put a little olive oil on steak to get deeper grill marks.”

12.Get good grades:

“Meat grade absolutely makes a difference. Prime is your best grade. It has more marbling and juice flavor. Next is choice, followed by select. In between choice and prime, there is certified Angus, which is the lowest beef I have in my counter.”

13.Consider the thickness:

“You have to be careful with thickness for steak; that’ll help determine the heat. If it’s super thick, turn down the heat. One-inch to an inch-and-a-quarter are what we typically cut.”

‘Cook Out!” appeared in the July 2016 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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