Hot Chef: Metro grills BBQ master John Stage
John Stage is the man you want at your BBQ parties this summer. Owner and Pit Master of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Harlem, Stage knows all the tricks to what makes good barbecue. With a new location in Brooklyn set to open in 2013, the chef shared his tips for superb summer grilling.
We hear you got your start on the road serving meals for bikers.
I’m a Harley[-Davidson] rider and I realized the food for them wasn’t good. I spent years serving food for bikers at motorcycle shows and tattoo shows. Eventually I got burnt out by that lifestyle. I wanted to settle down instead of living life on the road.
What’s the difference between grilling and barbecuing?
The biggest difference between the two is the temperature. You have to master your fire. Grilling is done on high heat and done quickly. You have to be right there when you’re grilling, as it requires immediate attention. Barbecue requires low temperature and patience — a great amount of patience.
Do you cook when you’re not working?
I do cook when I’m not working, but it’s different. At home I’m more pasta-driven, though I’ll grill occasionally. I usually cook a quick meal, nothing elaborate. Lately my go-to has been jerked chicken since I can cook it in 45 minutes and have fun around the grill.
Summer is around the corner. What tips can you offer for those prepping for a barbecue?
A big mistake people make is flipping the meat too often. It drives me crazy when I see it. Try to let it sit and not flip too much. Also, a lot of people marinate. When meat is wet and you put it on the grill, you’re negating the purpose. All that does is create a steam effect. Dry the meat before putting it on the grill. This way you’ll get a smoky, seared difference.
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