Editor’s Note – The Grill Whisperer is a fly-by-night grilling expert that travels the world in a constant search of grilling techniques, recipes and spices to perfect his craft. Occasionally, he lands in Apopka where he writes an exclusive article for The Apopka Voice. He will not allow any changes or edits to his column, so if his article is too long, grammatically incorrect, or in some way offensive, The Apopka Voice takes no responsibility. GW will be in town the next two days, but beyond that, there is no telling. This is the second of three columns he has agreed to write.
Did you clean your grill? If you didn’t… do it now!
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Are you ready to impress your friends and family? Good. We are going on a quest for the finest meats, vegetables, condiments and libations in the land.
And all of them can be found at one place.
Get in your car and head east on 441 to 436 and keep going until you get to the Altamonte Whole Foods (at 305 East Altamonte Drive). A great backyard cookout begins at a great supermarket, and Whole Foods fits that description.
The first thing you do when you arrive is to tell them The Grill Whisperer sent you. They will look at you funny and ask ‘what are you talking about?’ but if enough of you do this it will help GW with his promotions.
Grab your cart and head past the lady showing you how to make simple, inexpensive meals. It won’t be simple or inexpensive. And ignore any samples or demonstrations. You are on a mission and cannot be bothered.
Besides, the pasta will only fall through the grill grates and cause a fire.
Start in the vegetable section and get the smallest potatoes you can find. Try to fill the entire order of corn on the cob, asparagus, baby bella mushrooms, red onions and peppers (red, green and a wildcard color like yellow or orange), and large, fresh cloves of garlic. If the market is out of something, make a substitution. GW trusts you; he is not a control freak!
Advance to the butter aisle. Get the garlic and herb butter. This will be your secret ingredient in a couple of dishes and a lot of others in the future.
Turn left and arrive at the meat section. You are looking for ribeyes. Do not be tricked into a t-bone or New York strip that happens to be on sale. Strips are typically thin and end up as a challenge to not overcook when you have so many other items to keep account of. T-bones have a large bone in the shape of a “T” in them and are difficult to navigate on a full grill.
Your goal here is to find steaks that are at least an inch thick (all about the same thickness) and with consistent marbling throughout. Marbling is the squiggly white (fat) lines that go through the meat. The more of these lines you see, the better the steak will cook.
Take a trip through the vertical aisles and collect very coarse salt (kosher is usually best) and pepper, along with a large bottle of olive oil and a small bottle of Worcestershire Sauce.
As backup, a diversity of beers will cure a lot of grilling mistakes in the eyes of your guests. The Grill Whisperer knows exactly where to go for a veritable world of beers.
Here is what the beer section of Whole Foods/Altamonte says about themselves on their website:
“Our beer departments are stocked by a group of merry revolutionaries dedicated to liberating civilization from the clutches of boring beer. They operate independently but share a common goal; to procure the finest beers imaginable. Each month we will bring to you tips, tall tales (and tallboys) — and share the history and adventure of brewing.”
GW likes these guys. If you can swing it, buy one of every beer and immediately arrange them in an ice-filled cooler. Diversity of beers is always a great ice-breaker at a cookout.
You have everything you need now. Head home. It’s time to put on a great cookout. We will meet again when my afternoon article posts on The Apopka Voice and gives you the game plan.