Grilling This Fourth of July? Follow These Tips

Here at Mount Salem Kitchen, we’re all about the grill, whether it be for cooking up some chicken, seafood, steaks or even just some burgers and hot dogs. Throughout the years, we’ve learned some tricks to make sure our guests say Wow when they take that first bite.

If you’re grilling for friends and family this Fourth of July, follow these easy tips that will have your guests clamoring for your cookbook.


We often marinate whole chicken breasts in our Haus Vinaigrette before grilling (and then drizzle some more of it on before serving for good measure). However, there’s a little more than meets the eye here.

The secret is to get the grill nice and hot, remove the breasts from the marinade (but reserve it – don’t discard it, yet) and grill the breasts. We also dip the breasts back in the marinade between turns on the grill to build a nice crust.

And make sure you always marinate first and glaze last – marinade adds penetrating flavor and is ideal for slow cooking, but be careful not to add your glaze (anything with sugar in any form) until just before it’s done cooking or you will end up with an unpleasant burnt taste.

Know Your Fuel

Food reacts differently depending if you’re using propane/natural gas, wood or charcoal. Make sure you know your fuel before throwing that steak on it!

Gas is great for light protein (such as white fish) since the temperature can be easily controlled and the fuel doesn’t leave an imprint on the flavor of the food. Plus, it’s clean and easy.

Charcoal is a great all-around grilling fuel, but be sure that your charcoals are nice and hot (red) or medium (gray) before cooking, or you can end up with a charcoal flavor that will taint your lighter meats, fish or veggies.

Wood takes the longest to prepare, but we love its natural smokiness for slow-cooked favorites like ribs, brisket and whole chicken.

Direct or Indirect Heat?

If you’re searing meat quickly (like filet mignon or vegetables), then go with direct heat – i.e. place the food directly over the fuel and leave the grill uncovered, since it will be very hot. This could be enough alone, or, you can move your food to indirect heat following the sear to finish cooking it through.

If you’re doing slower cooking at lower temperatures (usually with the grill covered), then do not place your food directly over the fuel. This is ideal for items such as whole chicken, ribs, brisket or an entire pork shoulder. We bring out deep flavors this way!

Pick up marinades, spice rubs, vinaigrettes and more at Mount Salem Kitchen, located at 54 Mt Salem Rd. in Pittstown!

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