Lighting up a barbecue might be a time-honored American tradition, but Italians are no strangers to a grigliata either. With the warm weather ahead, we sat down with our head butcher, Peter Molinari, to get his tips for making the most of the grilling season.
Read on for our butcher's tips to become a grill master, then pick up prime cuts at your local Eataly.
1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT CUTS
While it's true that you can throw most anything on a grill, our butcher has some preferences. "My two favorite cuts are Wagyu Zabuton and Prime Dry Age Ribeye," says Molinari. "These cuts, along with Wagyu Bohemian, are especially tender and flavorful." Wagyu beef boasts intense marbling, and these thin streaks of fat add incredible depth and texture, while dry-aging reduces the residual water weight in the meat and helps to concentrate the flavor. In other words: you'll have a hard time leaving anything for leftovers.
2. KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR
"When I'm purchasing meat, I always look for two things first: no added antibiotics and no hormones," says Molinari. (Nota bene: you won't have any problems finding this at your local Eataly, where all of our meat follows these "never ever" guidelines.) Next, you want to look for inter-muscular fat: look for streaks speckled throughout the meat, which is especially great for grilling perfectly tender cuts.
When meat has this kind of marbling, it can actually be cooked longer without getting tough or dried out. Not only that, this inter-muscular fat melts at a lower temperature, so you’ll taste the rich flavor of the fat much sooner. Wagyu is especially renowned for this kind of marbling, so it's no wonder that these cuts are consistently a grill master pick.
3. SET UP FOR SUCCESS
So, ready to fire up the grill? Our butcher has a few tips before you get started. First, make sure you have the right tools: a grill brush for cleaning, a meat thermometer, and a pair of tongs are a griller's best friends. Using the grill brush, make sure your grill surface is cleaned before using it, and let it preheat thoroughly before you put anything on it – this will help you get a great sear!
Another trick? "You shouldn’t touch the meat multiple times. Let it cook evenly by flipping it once," says Molinari. To check for doneness, you can use your meat thermometer to determine if it's cooked through.
4. NO GRILL? NO PROBLEM.
If you don't have a grill at home, don't worry – just bring your newfound knowledge to the stovetop with the right tools in hand. According to Molinari, cast iron pans are the next best thing to an outdoor grill as they can get really hot and offer a great sear on the meat. Just remember to preheat your pan on the stove before you get started to get that coveted sizzle.
5. DON'T FORGET TO PAIR
There's nothing quite like a simply seasoned, high-quality steak – but don't stop there! Our butcher's favorite sides to grill alongside his Wagyu cuts happen to be seasonal vegetables, like asparagus and zucchini. You'll also find that Italians love to throw seasonal fruits and vegetables, bruschetta, and even polenta on the grill.
Ready to get your grill on? Head to your local Eataly to shop the perfect cuts.