An Argentinian Grill Master’s 3 Secrets for Wonderful Grilled Meat and Vegetables

published Jul 16, 2014
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(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Who cooks and eats here: Zack Paul
Where: Santa Barbara, CA

Yesterday we learned all about Zack’s Argentine grill technique, so today we’re going to dive into how to best cook the veggies and meats once they hit that grate!

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Skip the Rubs and Trust the Simplicity of Salmuera

I noticed something right away about Zack’s grilling style: there were no extras! No rubs, no sauces, just the “salmuera” (salt water) basted all over everything.

This salt water is a genius concept. It lets the true flavors of the meats and vegetables come forward, all the while developing a crusty exterior and yielding a juicy, beautiful and flavorful interior.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)
(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Timing is Everything: Low and Slow

The main point here is cook low and slow — there’s no active fire on the grill and no cover, so the temperature remains sure and steady. When Zack put on a the skirt steaks and short ribs and let them sit there for what seemed like way too long, visions of grayish overdone protein danced before my eyes. But when we could all wait no longer, Zack cut into a perfectly pink piece of steak!

The theory here is that although the flames and coals are already starting to die when you first put the meat on, the residual heat is just the right temperature to keep things moist and juicy. This also concentrates the vegetable flavors. Zack’s grill yieled the most zucchini-tasting zucchini I’ve ever had, with portobello mushrooms that were like umami bombs and meat that was oh-so-tender.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)
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Eat Grilled Food “Seagull Style”

For serving, Zack brings out beautiful knives and cutting boards and allows guests to just eat with their hands as soon as the meat comes off the grill. This casual, convivial way of eating reminds me you don’t have to overthink a great meal — it can be so simple.

In fact, it’s better this way. Zack described this as “seagull style”, where everyone dives in and picks at little bites of meat and veggies throughout the night. This light meal is perfect for kicking off a dance party!

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