Summer BBQ secrets from a grill fanatic

It’s that time of year again when I long for outdoor space so I can drag out my charcoal grill and cook up some meat. It’s BBQ season! 

Barbecue is one of my favorite foods and one of my favorite techniques for cooking. The best part of grilling is that you get to work with smoke and fire plus you can experiment with so many techniques and flavors. 

Barbecue is known worldwide and has been around for thousands of years. In the United States, it has taken on a life of its own. Each region has its own version of BBQ. When barbecuing, it is typical to use some type of wood like apple, cherry, hickory, or mesquite — just to name a few. My favorite to use is apple or cherry because it’s not as harsh as hickory or mesquite.


To prep the meat, some use dry rubs, wet rubs, brines, or just use salt and pepper. Any type of barbecue has the low and slow technique in common. And don’t  forget the sauce. Choose from a vinegar-based sauce, tomato-based sauce, ketchup-based sauce (just about the same as tomato-based but different). There is even a  mustard-based sauce and a mayonnaise-based sauce.

These sauces go on any type of meat such as goat, beef, pork, and chicken. And I’m not even including sausages! Every region will have its favorite sauces that go with a particular cut of meat. Some say vinegar sauces only go with pork, and mayonnaise sauces go best with chicken and pork chops. 

Believe it or not, Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce has dominated the BBQ sauce industry for years. It’s a Kansas City-style sauce and is our go-to. If you are looking for something to go over that grilled chicken (or fried chicken for that matter) try an Alabama White Sauce. Try the Carolina Gold Sauce on some pork ribs or pork chops. If you are going the pulled pork route, you definitely want to give the North Carolina Vinegar BBQ sauce a shot. It cuts through the richness of the pork. All these sauces are so easy to make and literally take minutes. The ingredients are probably already in your pantry. 

I could go on and on about BBQ sauce and the meat. You need to try them all and keep them in your arsenal. They are delicious and you can’t go wrong with whatever you decide to put on your BBQ.

One of my favorite things to grill is Carne Asada using flank steak or a skirt steak. You marinate it for a few hours, throw it on the grill and cook it to a perfect medium rare with a nice little char on the outside of it. I’ve put together an easy recipe for you to try. 

The flank steak is going to be accompanied by an Argentinian-style Chimichurri sauce made with herbs, spices, oil, and vinegar. Flank steak is a tougher piece of meat so it’s important to tenderize it with a marinade. This will help soften the meat when cooked. Chimichurri is great because you can use it as a marinade, as a basting ingredient, and also as a condiment. This recipe focuses on Chimichurri as a condiment.

Technically, this is a grilled dish, not barbecued. The difference is BBQ is usually low and slow using smoke or indirect heat. Grilling is using direct heat, or an open flame to cook the food and controlling the intensity of the heat.

This grilled flank steak with chimichurri sauce is packed full of flavor and spice and it never disappoints. Pair it with a great bold red wine or a nice full-bodied beer and you can’t go wrong. Now grab that grill and get it ready!


Rosemary Garlic Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Serves 4


½ cup canola oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 limes, zest and juice
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Flank Steak

1 ½ pounds flank steak, trimmed

Chimichurri Sauce

¾ cup parsley, stems included
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Marinade instructions

  1. Mix together all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Coat steak with marinade, cover, and place in leak-proof container for 1 -2 hours in the refrigerator.

Cooking instructions

  1. Remove steak from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking and let sit at room temperature.
  2. Prep your grill while steak is coming to room temperature.
  3. Cook to medium-rare. Cooking time will vary depending on thickness of steak.
  4. Tent with aluminum foil and rest 10 minutes.
  5. Slice against the grain. Serve.

Chimichurri instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food process except for the olive oil.
  2. Blend ingredients and slowly drizzle in oil until emulsified.
  3. Place sauce in a serving bowl.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drizzle sauce over sliced meat and serve.

Other Tips and Tricks

  • If you can’t find flank steak, you can substitute London Broil or skirt steak.
  • You can cook this on the stovetop using a cast-iron skillet or you can use the broil option of your oven.
  • Optional: eating it with corn tortillas
  • For vegan or plant-based options, use the same marinating process keeping in mind that you will need to baste as the vegetable cooks because it will not absorb the marinade.
    • Use large portobello mushrooms in place of the steak. (My favorite option)
    • Use cauliflower steaks in place of the steak.

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