With the official start of summer on June 21st, it's also the start of grilling season. So grab your tongs and your favorite veggies, meats and marinades -- your summer soirees will thank you.
We had a chance to sit down with celebrity chef and Food Network star Bobby Flay to chat all things grilling, summer cooking, and his secret weapon in the summer (spoiler: it's tea!). And when you speak with an expert like Flay, you take notes.
Our biggest takeaway? The mistake far too many of us make while grilling.
"The number one mistake is that people grill too much," he explained, "they flip and turn, flip and turn, flip and turn... Guys often do this -- they think that to grill you have to constantly be in action, but really you need to let the grill do its job."
So what does he recommend? Just walk away.
"I always tell people -- especially if it's steak or a burger -- you really want to let it cook on one side and leave it alone. Go get yourself an iced tea! And then come back and after it's nice and crusty on one side, then just flip it once."
And speaking of iced tea, Flay is currently partnering with Lipton to help people turn summer meals into memorable ones with unexpected flavors. For his part, Flay loves to not just drink tea ("I'm an iced tea guy. As soon as it gets warm out I gravitate towards it, so it's a really easy partnership for me.") but to cook with it, too.
"It creates a really good contrast," He explained, "certain flavors are tart and sweet, and that particular iced tea fortifies the flavor. For example, the newest one is a Mango Iced Tea, and so I can marinade something in the tea, and then make a mango salsa to carry the flavor through."
Below, see a recipe Bobby created with Lipton for Lipton Lemon Iced Tea Brined Brick Grilled Chicken (Um, yep. YUM.)
2 cups Lipton Lemon Iced Tea
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ small Spanish onion, chopped
1 small lemon, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
12 sprigs fresh lemon thyme (or regular thyme)
3 tablespoons canola oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Grilled lemon, for serving
Brick wrapped in foil
Whisk together Lipton Lemon Iced Tea, sugar, salt, pepper, onion, lemon, garlic, rosemary, thyme in a bowl.
Put the chicken in a large zip bag, pour the marinade over, press out the air and seal tightly. Marinate chicken in refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
Thirty minutes before grilling, remove the chicken from the marinade, pat dry on both sides and let sit at room temperature.
Heat the grill to high or a grill pan over high heat. Brush the chicken on both sides with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on both sides with brick on top until golden brown, charred and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Serve with grilled lemon, if desired.
So what are you waiting for? Let's get grilling. Just don't forget to leave your steak alone while it cooks... Bobby Flay will be proud!
Related: More grilling mistakes you don't want to make