Chefs Share Essential Grilling Tips for a Stress-Free Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day BBQ

Grilling is the perfect way to celebrate Labor Day Weekend. Whether you’re cooking for a small gathering of friends or a large crowd, there’s nothing quite like firing up the grill and enjoying some delicious food. However, grilling can also be stressful, especially if you’re not well-prepared. To help you enjoy a stress-free Labor Day Weekend, we’ve asked some of our favorite chefs to share their essential grilling tips.


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Pitmaster Anthony Nicolosi

Chef Carlos Torres

Villa Azur Miami Beach

The chick French supper club Villa Azur is a classy culinary and lifestyle experience. The dynamic restaurant and lounge transform a high-end dinner service with a thoughtful menu that boasts itself as an epicurean experience with its fresh ingredients. Executive Chef Carlos Torres from Villa Azur Miami Beach has the following grilling tips for Labor Day Weekend.

  • Pick good quality meat and let it get to room temperature – till it allows the juices to distribute better when cooking.
  • Depending on the thickness of the steak, apply a good amount of salt and pepper; that is going to help seal the meat better and also retain the sugar itself.
  • If using charcoal or wood, remember to cook with the ember, not the fire.
  • Don’t turn the meat too much once it’s on the grill; otherwise, a fire may start.
  • Always rest your meat half of the time you spend cooking it as this will allow for better temperature distribution, and it will help retain the juices, as well as the meat, which works for fish and chicken.


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Chef Hugh Acheson

Ovide at Hotel Effie

Ovide at Hotel Effie is the first restaurant in Florida by James Beard Award-winning Chef Hugh Acheson. Chef Acheson crafted the menu at Ovide to highlight the fresh, forward flavors and local seafood of the Golf Course. Chef Acheson also loves grilling in the summer, whether for restaurant goers or his close friends and family in his backyard. Chef Acheson says grilling is about getting smoke and char into your grill food of choice.

  • No need to hammer that beautiful steak; rather, you want to get a nice crust on it, then move it to a more temperate part of the grill to finish.
  • Chef Acheson recommends incorporating more than the usual vegetables and grilling routines,  such as cabbage,  blanched artichokes, carrots, and spring onions. As for meats, big cuts like a standing rib roast usually are done in the oven, but are amazing on the grill when slowly cooked over lower heat, rested, carved, and served with salsa verde and a big salad.
  • Preparing your Catch of the Day screams summer, and Chef Acheson shares a trick to getting your fish cooked to perfection: let it peel away from the grill on its own.
  • Chef Insight: Trout filet is lovely, just grilled on the skin side and serve with lemony tomato salsa.
  • Chef Acheson uses a KUDU grill and absolutely loves it.


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Chef Jordan Sclare

The pioneering global Nikkei dining destinations with locations in London, Toronto, and Miami Beach have been firing up the grill with household favorite dishes for years. From their wood-fired bok choy, charcoal roasted sweet potato to smoked lamb chops and tabletop hibachi grill – Executive Head Chef Jordan Sclare is no stranger to a good barbecue. Here are some of his tips.

  • Don’t cook on the barbecue until the flames are gone on the coal, and they are glowing red, or the fire will burn the food before it’s cooked through, and you’ll get no flavor from the coal.
  • Don’t marinate the meat/fish in marinades that are too sweet, or the marinates can burn.
  • Once the items are cooked, have a finishing sauce that can be brushed after cooking, but then place the item back on the grill to caramelize the sauce and achieve more flavor.


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Chef Niven Patel

Orno at THesis Hotel

Chef Niven Patel, four times James Beard Award nominee and one of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs of 2020, is a master in grilling; his new restaurant, Orno’s entire mission is about cooking over an open fire. Here are his tips:

  • For any grill (gas charcoal, wood, pellet), preheating the grill for at least one hour to an hour and a half is essential and necessary to bring out the flavors of the food being grilled.
  • After the preheating period, add food to the grill. Knowing exactly when to flip food can be determined by lightly pulling up on the food with tongs. If food easily lets off the grates, it’s ready to be flipped.
  • For food sticking to the grates, it is not ready to be flipped. Allowing food to rest after grilling allows juice and flavors to distribute evenly.
  • Finish off with high-quality olive oil, lemon, lime, and sea salt or your favorite seasoning.

Tools to have on hand when grilling:

  • Tongs (8-inch or 10-inch)
  • Spatulas
  • Clean, dry towels (at least a couple)
  • Spray bottle

Grill recommendations:


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Chef Steven Acosta

When it comes to grilling, there’s no one more qualified than Chef Acosta of The Balfour Hotel in Miami Beach. With a passion for tradition and an extensive knowledge of world cuisine, Chef Acosta is the perfect person to ask for grilling tips. His Latin roots and strong Florida influence give him a unique perspective on grilling, and his years of experience in the kitchen mean that he knows exactly how to get the most out of your grill. Executive Chef Steven Acosta from Mehzcla at The Belfour Hotel has the following tips for this Labor Day Weekend.

  • Use charcoal wood or anything besides gas. Ensure the ambers are white/gray before grilling.
  • When dispersing the coals, section your grill into two. One for searing and the other to finish cooking the protein. This way, you can reach the seer you want and cook to perfect temperature without burning.
  • Kosher salt (which is easy to control versus table salt) and black pepper is the only thing needed for seasoning. Respect the product and natural flavor of your proteins. Sometimes less is more, especially when grilling.
  • Coat your protein with a little bit of high-heat oil (canola) before adding salt and pepper. When searing your protein, this help to caramelize and reach golden brown goodness.
  • Avoid flipping the protein from one side to another. Allow to sear golden brown; you can’t rush excellence.

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