SPRING is in the Grill

February 22, 2017
2 mins read

Now that we’ve all recovered from our St. Valentine’s Day hangovers, let’s move on. As usual, the ever-changing weather helps chart my culinary course.

After hearing that our favorite groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter, I began to question the accuracy of Phil’s prognostications. It sure feels like spring to me, and seasonal change equals cuisine change. Yes, I’m fully aware that true spring produce won’t arrive at local farmers markets for several weeks or months, but I can’t let this little fact inhibit my craving for spring-style food.

The warmer temperatures force me to set aside my desires for the rich, satisfying and heavy braises that go so well with cooler weather, and head straight to the grill. I think I’ve grilled about six dinners in a row now and I don’t see an end in sight. Eventually, though, my palate will get bored of moist and smoky deliciousness that results from well-executed grilling techniques and I’ll move on. So I’d better discuss spring-style grilling while I’m still in the mood. And maybe in the process I’ll inspire you to Chef Up February.

First of all, grilling, unlike other cooking techniques, requires the food product to come in direct contact with the heat source. Because of this, smaller cuts are used.

Remember this is a rapid, dry heat cooking method. Grilling is often confused with broiling; the idea is the same, but in grilling, the heat source is from below — in broiling, the heat radiates from above. More experienced and adventurous grillers can roast larger cuts of meat and vegetables with great results, but the grill set-up is slightly different and the heat’s much lower.

For optimal results when grilling beef: Choose more expensive cuts along the loin; the muscles aren’t exercised too much so they’re soft and tender, much like your hipster bodies. This rule applies to most four-legged animals we humans love to devour.

With seafood and poultry, all cuts of the animal are perfect for the rapid and dry heat that grilling utilizes. Marinades and brines are a very important part of the preparation process; they add flavor and moisture, and act as tenderizers. How cool is that? Now go and try out this recipe.

Chef Bill’s Grilled Korean Beef Rolls

  • 3 Oz. soy sauce
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar
  • 2 Oz. mirin
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp. Korean chili powder
  • 1 Onion, julienned
  • 8 Garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 Asian pear, peeled, seeded and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 8 Oz. top round, sliced 4” x 1.5,” pounded 1/8”
  • 2 Green scallions, 3” length, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 Red pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 Green pepper, julienned
  • 1 Tsp. oil


  1. Puree the first 11 ingredients in a blender, reserve about a quarter of the marinade and pour the rest over the top round slices. Refrigerate 4-6 hours.
  2. Place one scallion, and one of each color pepper on one end of beef, roll and skewer.
  3. Grill just away from the flames for a couple of minutes on each side while basting with reserved marinade.

Until we cook again,

Contact Chef Bill Thompson, owner of Amelia Island Culinary Academy in Fernandina Beach, at cheffedup@folioweekly.com to find inspiration and get you Cheffed Up!

Folio is your guide to entertainment and culture around and near Jacksonville, Florida. We cover events, concerts, restaurants, theatre, sports, art, happenings, and all things about living and visiting Jax. Folio serves more than two million readers across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, The Beaches, and Fernandina.

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