Ostini starts with a blazing fire of coast live oak and a clean grill pre-seasoned with beef fat. For seasoning his chicken, steaks, and chops, he uses a blend of salt, black pepper, and garlic. He constantly bastes the dark meats as they cook, using red-wine vinegar and garlic-infused vegetable oil; he brushes chicken and vegetables with a mixture of butter, white wine, and lemon instead.
“We use a very hot fire because the heat will go into the grains of the meat and actually spread those grains apart,” Ostini says. “You have to be careful that the heat doesn’t push the juices out of the top of the meat, because you never want the juices to leave the meat—I don’t care how well done you want it. If you’re grilling meat and see the juices start to come up, turn it over and get the process started the other way. Instead of charring the outside to get a crust so the juices won’t escape, we keep them trapped by continuing to turn the steak.
“For basting,” he continues, “we put the meat on the grill, turn it over, baste, and then season. This keeps the surface of the meat moist enough to absorb the seasonings. You can baste multiple times, at least two times on each side—a lot the first time and less as you go, because as the cooking continues, you don’t want to put more seasoning on or the meat will start to taste salty. Then turn it over and don’t baste and season anymore.”
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