The sizzle of a grill is an experience to savor, says Ken Burritt, whose Burritt’s Fresh Market in Traverse City has offered specialty meats and groceries since 1987. “It’s a chance for all family members to get involved in the meal. I like to grill because I can be outside watching my Labradors play, smell the warm summer air and listen to the call of loons,” Burritt says.
• Know your butcher. Serving a large party and on a budget? Your butcher can help pick handmade sausages, whole split chickens, sirloin sizzler steaks (use Choice grade only) or sustainable fish. Burger should be ground chuck, around 87 percent lean that is ground fresh and in-house.
• Go beyond basics. Try grilled duck breast, pork tenderloins, Copper River salmon or wild game. Or create unique kebabs from ingredients such as local vegetables and Halloumi cheese from Cyprus.
• Tin foil is your friend. Place a fillet of fish on a piece of foil skin side down with no oil so that the skin sticks to the foil. The fillet will cook all the way through from the bottom—you won’t have to flip it. Use a spatula to remove it from the foil and the fillet will be skinless and ready to plate.
• Don’t overcook. Keep a water spray bottle nearby just in case there’s a flame up, and keep the grill in the middle of all the action so you can talk to family and friends while keeping an eye on the meal.