Grill Whisperer: A Labor Day grilling feast


Editor’s Note – The Grill Whisperer is a fly-by-night grilling expert that travels the world in a constant search for grilling techniques, recipes and spices to perfect his craft. Occasionally, he lands in town where he writes an exclusive article for Mainstreet Daily News. 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, Mainstreet Daily News takes no responsibility. GW will be in town this Labor Day weekend, but beyond that, there is no telling. This is the second of three columns he has agreed to write.

To read part one of the series, go here.

To read part two, go here.

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The Menu:

  • Grilled Ribeyes topped with peppers, onions and mushrooms
  • Roasted Garlic Heads
  • Roasted Potatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Grilled Corn on the Cob

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your grills…

Okay here we go. You have cleaned your grill. You have gone to the grocery store. You have everything you need.

Turn the grill on high and close the lid. We want it blazing by the time you start putting food in there. And it will be. You have a lot of prep work inside to tend to before we get back.

Turn the oven in your kitchen to 275 degrees. You may need this to keep certain items warm if they finish early.

Cut the tops off of the garlic heads and place a pat of garlic herb butter over each. Wrap them in tin foil and put them in the grill on the top level as far away from the flame as you can. The garlic heads will be the first in and the last out. Your guests will not believe how tender these come out on a grill.

Cut the little potatoes in half. Put the olive oil, salt and pepper into a plastic bag. Pour the potatoes into the bag and shake. Make sure they are coated well.

Put the potatoes in a grill basket and place them in the lower left corner of the grill. You’ll have to keep a close watch on them, because you will be opening and closing the grill throughout the cooking cycle. This makes their ready time unpredictable. Shake the basket occasionally so they don’t stick to the bottom. They could be ready any time between 45-60 minutes, so stick a fork in them occasionally. If it goes through easily, they are ready.

Take out the steaks and arrange them on a large cutting board. Lightly drizzle a little Worcestershire Sauce on them and rub it into the meat. Put a fairly good coat of extra coarse salt and pepper on each steak. Add a light coat of garlic powder. Massage the seasoning into the meat. Turn them over and do it again. Put the steaks in the refrigerator and forget about them for a while.

Take the asparagus out and cut the stems about one third of the way up. That should take care of the stringy part. Fill another bag of salt, pepper and olive oil along with garlic powder and shake thoroughly with the asparagus inside. Put those back in the refrigerator next to the steaks still in the bag.

Take out the mushrooms, peppers and onions. Quarter the mushrooms. Cut the peppers and onions until you have slices about the same size as the mushrooms. We want these three vegetables to cook at the same speed.

 In a large bowl, pour in olive oil, salt and pepper and mix together. Pour the three vegetables into the bowl and toss thoroughly until all are well coated. Place the vegetables in a grill basket and set in the refrigerator next to the steaks.

Take out the corn. Peel back the cornhusks, keeping them attached. Discard the silk. Spread the herbed garlic butter all over the corn. Fold the husks back over the corn. Wrap the corn in foil and take it to the grill. In a tight formation on the grill, add the corn to the right of the potatoes. Stir the potatoes to keep them from sticking to the grill basket and check them with a fork. When you get back to the kitchen, set a timer for 15 minutes.

Get a drink out of the cooler and sit with your guests. You have 15 minutes before your next dish goes on the grill.

The Grill Whisperer has a story that will put your mind at ease while you prepare this incredible meal.

There once was a great Zen master (or maybe it was a short order cook) who told the Grill Whisperer to calm his mind and realize that the grill does all of the cooking. You are only there to watch and occasionally move food on and off the grill. Tell your guests that story. They will laugh and be amazed at how calm you are.


When the bell rings, bring out the mushroom, peppers and onions dish. Place it on the lower left corner of the grill.

Remove the foil and put the corn right on the grill. Grill the ears until the husks are nicely charred. After three minutes, turn them over and grill the other side for another three minutes.

Stir the potatoes again and check them with a fork to see if they are done. Take the corn off the grill and remove the husks. You will begin to realize at this point how special that garlic herb butter is when you get that first smell.

Reserve the corn in the oven.

Bring the steaks and asparagus out of the refrigerator and to the grill. Scrape the grill one last time with a grill brush where the steaks will be. Put olive oil on a paper towel and lightly grease the grates. This is called “seasoning the grill”.

Turn the grill from high to medium high. Toss the mushrooms, peppers and onions. Do the same to the potatoes. Put the asparagus on the grill next to the potatoes.


There are a few things to consider before we start on the main event. Ribeyes are a pretty forgiving cut of meat. The fat marbling makes for a very flavorful and juicy steak without a lot of effort. The biggest thing to keep in mind when grilling steak is that you can always throw it back on the grill if it isn’t done, but you can’t reverse an over-cooked steak. So err on the side of rare. Our goal is medium rare.

Each steak typically has a pointy end. As you place the steak on the grill, set the pointy end so that it is pointing at two o’clock. The steaks will grab the grill and hang on for dear life. Don’t worry though, in two minutes they will relinquish because of your “seasoning” trick.


At this point, you are on flare-up watch.  The fat dripping off of those beautiful steaks is bound to create an eager fire that will react. If a flare-up occurs and doesn’t go away in a few seconds, simply use your tongs to slide the steaks away from the open flame until the flame dies down and then move them back over the heat.

After two minutes, rotate the steaks from two o’clock to five o’clock. Don’t turn them over and don’t stab the steaks with any sharp device. We want every drop of juice to stay in those ribeyes. Use tongs.

After two more minutes turn the steaks over. Make sure your angled grill marks are perfect! This is the mark of a true Grill Master. If any of the marks are less than perfection, you have another chance with the new side of meat. Otherwise, let them go for another four minutes to cook them at medium rare.


Toss the mushrooms, peppers and onions. They should be done by now. Take them off the grill and set them next to the corn in the oven. The asparagus and potatoes should be done as well. Take them off the grill and set them in the oven.


Remove the steaks from the grill and allow them to rest for five minutes before serving. The resting period is important so that the juices don’t run out when you cut into the ribeye.

 The Grill Whisperer could make further suggestions, but he prefers to fade off into the emerging sunset and let the student take all the credit for their grilling success. You have come a long way on this journey. Maybe have another drink and watch your guests enjoying themselves. You’ve earned it. Your skill on the grill is confirmed. Until I am in town again, have a great season on the grill!


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