Austin Food and Wine

The gospel of the grill as preached by the Reverend Tim Love

The gospel of the grill as preached by the Reverend Tim Love

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Chef Tim Love leads the hands-on grilling demo. Photo by Jessica Pages
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The grilled New York Strip Photo by Kevin Benz
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A shot of tequila to help the grillers. Photo by Jessica Pages
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Seasoning Photo by Kevin Benz
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Chef Tim Love doing what he does best. Photo by Kevin Benz
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Austin Photo Set: News_Kevin_tim love grilling_april 2012_before
Austin Photo Set: News_Kevin_tim love grilling_april 2012_cooking

In Texas, if the grill is hallowed ground, and beef is the anointed, then Tim Love is the preacher leading his flock to the promised land.

The Austin Food and Wine Festival chose well when it decided Love would lead the kick-off event with what organizers cited as the largest hands-on grilling event ever.

199 wanna-be grillmasters (and one self-professed vegetarian brave enough to admit from the back) assembled at 9:30 a.m. at Auditorium Shores to hear Pastor Love's sermon. Each grilling table included utensils, a hot Weber grill, a New York strip and an outside cut skirt steak, a handful of broccolini, a bottle of chardonnay and a constantly filled shotglass of tequila. Then Love took the stage.

 Grillers be prepared, there is much to be learned from the master, Tim Love, click off this article at your peril. 

Grillers be prepared, there is much to be learned from the master, Tim Love, click off this article at your peril.

Love is part preacher, part teacher, part apostle and part rock star. His Fort Worth restaurants including The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro and his newly opened Woodshed Smokehouse have earned national acclaim as the definition of Texas cuisine and on this day Love shared his secrets of grilling excellence.

Here are some verses from the bible of grilling excellence as written by Tim Love and preached at the first Austin Food and wine Festival event:

On the meat:

“Buy good meat and cut it right.”

Love encouraged the throng to look at the marbling inside the red meat, not outside. Remember, meat is graded Select, Choice, or Prime based upon one expert's look at the 13th rib, not at the entire animal, so look carefully at the meat you buy for good marbling.

Cooked meat should always be cut against the grain, whether a thick steak or a thin fajita, in order to melt in your mouth. Meat cut with the grain will be chewy and tough.

On the seasoning:

Love uses peanut oil, spreading it over both sides of the steak. “Never olive oil,” he said. “Olive oil is expensive and has a lower flash point than peanut oil, and peanut oil has a wonderful nutty flavor.”

“Season your meat and then do it again. Use double the salt and seasoning you think you need”

“Pack the seasoning into the meat when you grill, do not pack the seasoning when you smoke meat.”

Packing the seasoning — pushing salt, pepper and spices into the meat with your fingers — will close the pores of the meat. When you grill, this allows the seasoning to form a crust on meat, sealing in the juices and creating that smoky seasoned taste.

On the grill:

“You want a very hot grill. Use mequite wood for the hottest possible fire. Once the wood has turned to coals put the grate on the grill and cover it for 20 minutes.”

“Mesquite burns at 850 degrees. Put your steak on a very hot fire. If the fire is not hot enough, grab a shot of tequila or a glass of white wine and wait.”

 “This is the greatest day of my life. We’re all grilling, there’s smoke everywhere, I’m drinking tequila and wine with my best friends. Thank you all!” 

On cooking your meat:

“I eat my meat medium rare because I’m an American and a Texan and that’s how we eat it here,” said Love to loud applause.

“Put your meat over the hottest part of the fire then close the lid and wait. DO NOT OPEN THE LID! Women get this,” Love explained, “but men always want to look at their meat. That’s why you should pour more wine, and wait.” Which everyone in the crowd did.

Love left the two-inch thick New York strip on the grill, lid closed, for 10 minutes, then turned the meat sideways (not over… sideways) for another 10 minutes, then turned it over for another 10 minutes. All the cooking done with the lid closed.

“Take the meat off and let it rest. When you remove meat from the grill, there is still energy in it," he explained. "When it rests, the meat relaxes. Keep it off the grill for 15 minutes, then reheat it for two minutes.”

Reheat the meat with indirect heat. This will seal it and create the perfect plated steak with no juices running out of it.

Despite the obvious grill challenges of the crowd, every piece of meat came off the grill a beautiful medium rare, and ridiculously flavorful. As the crowd ate and drank and cheered their new Grillmaster status, Love got downright emotional.

“This is the greatest day of my life, he exclaimed. “We’re all grilling, there’s smoke everywhere, I’m drinking tequila and wine with my best friends. Thank you all!”

And with that, The reverend Love walked into the crowd for pictures, and autographs from his adoring disciples, now apostles of the grill.