The grill is not gone, but the grill marks are | Culture & Leisure

Tyler Florence demonstrates how to make the M&L cheeseburger as part of his “Make It Lux: Next-Level Backyard Cooking” seminar Friday at the St. Regis. Florence owns M&L Steakhouses in San Francisco and the Four Seasons in Hualalai, Hawaii. Their cheeseburger received a Michelin star for being one of the five best burgers in California. Jason Charm/Aspen Daily News

If there was one takeaway from celebrity chef Tyler Florence’s Friday morning seminar at the 2024 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, “Make It Lux: Next-Level Backyard Cooking,” it was that the era of grill marks are a thing of the past.

“Nobody cares about grill marks anymore,” Florence said. “I’m tired of my hamburger meat sticking to the grill and bits of meat falling to the bottom and having to clean them up later. I want my meat brown and I want it to taste delicious.

Another ah-ha moment from the Florence seminar involved the buns.

“The buns have gone from sort of like Wonder Bread buns to these delicious brioche buns,” Florence said. “But the secret is we don’t use fresh rolls; we let them age for a day. We let them dry a little. They grill a little harder and have a better texture.

Florence is the owner of Miller & Lux. He owns and operates three restaurants, Wayfare Tavern and Miller & Lux Steakhouse in San Francisco. He recently opened Miller & Lux Steakhouse at the Four Seasons in Hualalai, Hawaii (Big Island). He also hosts “The Great Food Truck Race,” “Bite Club” and “Tyler’s Ultimate” on Food Network.

Florence explained to the crowd how he prepares the M&L burger, which received a Michelin star as one of the five best burgers in California. Florence also demonstrated how to make the perfect barbecue sausage.

Florence started by making a roasted apple mustard for the sausage. The recipe starts with diced apples and onions and inserted into a “foil bag” and put in a 400 degree oven so the apples and onions caramelize. Once tender, they are mixed with equal parts Dijon mustard and whole grain mustard as well as a little olive oil to make the perfect accompaniment to a nice piece of sausage. Florence used a piece of German bratwurst with cheddar and jalapeno and a piece of sweet Italian sausage.

Florence uses cast iron pans for cooking that he puts on the grill to prevent the meat from sticking. He noted that cast iron skillets are perfect for vegetables, shrimp and fish. He pointed out that he essentially uses a grill as an oven rather than a grill.

Florence explained that most burgers have a protein-to-fat ratio of 80-20, but he likes to increase the fat content to 75-25. For her award-winning burger, Florence uses 100% lean meat and mixes it with 20% fat Japanese wagyu beef and adds some beef trimmings on the restaurant’s steaks. Since most grills don’t have access to restaurant beef trimmings, he recommends adding pancetta or chopped bacon to the ground beef mixture.

Florence uses a triple cream brie cheese and cooks it over the burger, making sure to remove the burger from the cast iron pan before the cheese completely melts – the heat from the burger will melt the cheese once it is removed from the grill.

Florence butters the brioche buns and puts mayonnaise on them, places the burger on the bun, places two crispy onion rings on the burger, puts a little watercress on top, sprinkles a little bit of truffle on the concoction, places it Another brioche bun on top and… voilà, the M&L Michelin Award-winning cheeseburger, with a few shortcuts.

Gregory Gourdet’s seminar, “Summer Sizzle: Up Your Grilling Game with Spices, Marinades and Glazes,” continued the theme of gourmet barbecue.

Gourdet is the owner and chef of Kann, a restaurant in Portland, Oregon, that serves Haitian cuisine. He recently won his third James Beard Award in three years, which is unprecedented. He is a frequent guest on “Top Chef.”

Gourdet showed the audience how to prepare ideal chicken and steak dishes on the grill. He started by making a fresh jerk sauce for the chicken with salt, pepper, onions, celery, scotch bonnet, bay leaf, garlic shallots, lime juice and soy sauce. Gourdet then put the chicken drumsticks in the marinade. He recommended marinating the mixture overnight and cooking the chicken at 425 degrees or similar heat on the grill.


Gregory Gourdet led a seminar Friday titled “Summer Sizzle: Up Your Grilling Game with Spices, Marinades and Glazes” at the St. Regis Aspen Resort. Gourdet is the owner and chef of Hann in Portland, Oregon. He just received his third consecutive James Beard Award.

Gourdet then illustrated how to make a cafe rub steak, a dish that is on Hann’s menu. He patted the steak with a generous amount of salt on both sides. He took coffee grounds, mixed them with cinnamon, cumin, paprika, black pepper and brown sugar and put them in a grinder to create his coffee rub, which he then sprinkled on the steak before throwing it on the grill.

After removing the steak from the grill, he let it rest for at least five minutes. He recommended cutting the steak into thirds, then turning it 90 degrees and cutting it into pieces. Gourdet suggests serving the chicken and steak with fresh corn salad or cucumber salad.

Throughout the seminar, Gourdet talked about the history of many of the foods he cooked with. “With food, there are so many cultural stories, how ingredients travel across the world,” he said. “The history of food is almost as much fun as eating. Brings us together in a divided world and the results are often delicious.

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