A five-time James Beard nominee for Best Chef Southwest, London-born Bruce Auden has trained some of the best rising talent in SA at his famed New American restaurant Biga on the Banks and at his new endeavor, Auden’s Kitchen, where he continues to experiment.
What is your favorite grilling style?
Up at the house I only use wood, because it seems that if you are grilling, you want to impart something besides what you get in the kitchen, and you can close the lid for some smoke. We use oak and mesquite. Don’t use cedar; it adds oils to the smoke.
Is it necessary to marinate?
People believe a marinade will make a difference to the tenderization, but it really doesn’t, unless you put in a lot of acid. But that ruins what you are cooking. Long marinades are fine in a zip-lock bag with either a dry rub or herbs and garlic. But I can’t think of any reason I would marinate liquid or acid too long.
What types of meat do you prefer most?
A fun thing to do is to get a few cuts of the same kind of beef from different farms and producers. Will you like the expensive meat better? Maybe you won’t discern a different taste. Find out. Same with the pork and lamb products. The lamb is very different. You can get a Texas lamb, an Australian or New Zealand lamb. Those are very distinctive flavors. I don’t find as much difference between different locations with beef, besides whether it is feedlot or grass fed.
How do you trim meat for the grill?
I like whatever I’m grilling to have a pretty good amount of fat, it’s also easy to work with and it doesn’t dry out as fast. But that fat can burn up and burn the rest of your meat. I would start it out hot by searing the meat, then move it to the cooler side of the grill.
Grilling means barbecue to many people. What else is easy to learn?
So many items at the restaurant we start on the grill and then finish in the oven, or the other way around. If you want that smoky flavor, you can do the same thing at home. One tip is, if possible, use wood, the harder the better. Briquettes are horrible things. Who knows what’s inside them? At the end of the season, there are a lot of native grape vines in the Hill Country. Get your grill going, and put them in at the end. It adds great flavor.
Check out Bruce at audenskitchen.com.
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