Chef Ed Sablan is the chef/owner of Portland’s popular food cart, PDX671, an homage to the food of his Guamanian home. At his food cart and at his Feastly pop-ups, Ed dazzles diners with his expertly grilled meat and vegetable dishes.
Want to see the master at work?
We polled the chef for some easy grilling tips you can adopt at home:
Get Ahead Of The Game
Ed’s recommendation is to sous vide your proteins, especially if you plan on feeding a crowd. You can do it in advance and it helps tenderize the cuts. He says, “I season and marinade my spare ribs, then sous vide them for about three hours at 75 degrees Celsius.” When you’re ready to serve, re-heat in a water bath, remove them from the bags, and finish them on the grill for 10 minutes. Don’t worry if they look grey at first – the grill will give them a nice caramel color.
Fuel The Flavor
Ed always chooses to grill over charcoal or wood “because it contributes the most to flavor. Want less flavor? Use gas.” Noted!
Fan The Flames
When you’re grilling, a thermometer will be your best friend. Ed says, “Consistency in cooking with a charcoal grill comes with respecting the fire and the heat, so keep a thermometer handy to follow it’s temperature and momentum.” Monitoring the temperature also allows you to get other prep work done, so you don’t have to stand in front of the grill the whole time!
Go Home Fire, You’re Drunk
Got a flare-up? Ed’s wise words are, “DON’T PANIC!” Just cover the grill to cut off the fire’s oxygen. Don’t want to cover it? Grab a spray bottle and fill it with beer! Yes, beer: “Give yourself a few sprays for quality control and then immediately spray the flare-ups. This helps control the fire’s momentum and adds some flavor to whatever you’re grilling.”
Elevate The Humble Hot Dog
In Ed’s opinion, there is no better way to enjoy a hot dog than straight off the grill: “Turning a limp stick of refrigerated, processed meat into a wand of umami is so easy!” The fire and smoke permeates the dog, caramelizing and charring the skin. Ed also recommends ditching the buns and enjoying your charred dogs over rice with soy sauce.