Hot tips from the grill master

Story by Valerie Phillips
(Standard-Examiner correspondent)
Tue, Jul 30, 2013
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Summertime, and the grilling is easy … at least for Howard Taylor, of Kaysville, who is known as a grill master around his friends and family. On a recent summer evening he shared some of his expertise in an informal neighborhood class in his backyard.

A few of his tips:

• Invest in a good grill that cooks evenly. His Weber grill is pricey, but it cooks evenly in every spot on the grill. Many grills have hot spots — one burger is still raw on one side, while another burger burns. The cook spends much of the cooking time shifting the items around the grill.

“For those who have grills with hot spots, you have to get to know your grill and know where the hot spots are so you can move things around as they cook,” he said.

• After you’ve lit a gas grill, shut the lid and let it heat up before placing the items on it.

• Don’t squish the burgers (or other meats) with a spatula as they cook. You’re squeezing out all of the meat’s flavorful juices, so your meat will be dry and flavorless. The dripping juices will also cause flare-ups when they catch fire.

• Flip burgers, steaks and other meats just once, so that the bottom has time to develop a sear that will hold the juices in.

Howard Taylor came up with the idea for his Teriyaki Burgers when he tried them while on a trip to Hawaii. He came home and began making his own.

His wife, Chris Taylor, likes to grill pizza. She uses refrigerated pizza dough, although you can also use pita rounds. If you want to brush tomato sauce on the pizza, pita rounds will hold up better during cooking.

The two also like to grill vegetables and fruit. They toss cut-up vegetables such as eggplant, sweet onion, peppers and squash with olive oil and sea salt. Then they are cooked in a metal grill basket, which has holes large enough to let the smoke in but small enough so the pieces don’t fall through.

Teriyaki Burgers

2 pounds ground beef

1 package dry onion soup mix

1 cup teriyaki sauce

20-ounce can pineapple slices

6-10 hamburger buns

Mix beef, soup mix and sauce together. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for about an hour. Form into patties. Grill on medium-high heat, turning once, until done. When patties are cooked, place pineapple slices on grill for 1-2 minutes; turn and grill 1-2 minutes more. Serve the patties topped with pineapple. Add lettuce or mayo if desired. Makes 6-8 burgers, depending on the patty size.

— Howard Taylor

Grilled Fruit With Spicy Maple Cumin Glaze

Bamboo skewers

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Fresh peaches, bananas, or pineapple, cut into chunks

Soak bamboo skewers in bowl of water and set aside.

Mix glaze ingredients well. Toss fruit chunks in glaze to coat. Cover and refrigerate until time to grill. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Thread peaches, bananas or pineapple chunks on soaked skewers. Place skewers on grill and cook directly over heat for 1 1/2 minutes on each side, or until fruits are browned and caramelized.

— Howard Taylor

Grilled Pizza

Refrigerated pizza dough

Olive oil or vegetable oil

Mozzarella cheese, as desired

Grape tomatoes, halved

Fresh basil leaves

Heat the grill to medium-high.

On a lightly floured surface, shape the pizza dough as desired. Place dough on a baking sheet and brush the top with oil. Transfer to the grill, oiled side down, and cook, covered, until the top begins to bubble and the bottom becomes crisp, about 2 minutes.

Brush the top with oil, and turn the dough over. Sprinkle the baked side with cheese. Cook, covered, until the bottom is golden brown and crisp and the cheese on top has melted, about 3 minutes.

Transfer pizza to a cutting board and top with tomatoes and basil.

Alternative: You can also use pita rounds if you prefer adding sauce; they hold up better. Put your favorite toppings on the pita rounds and cook them on heavy-duty foil placed over the grill. Cover and grill until cheese is melted.

— Chris Taylor

Valerie Phillips blogs at


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