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#123BBQ with Chef Michael Symon: The Basics of Beef

Chef Michael Symon is a bonafide master of beef. The Lola Burger at his B Spot restaurants is the stuff of dreams, while his Fat Doug patty took top honors in competition earlier this year. When Serious Eats teamed up with Michael and Bank of America to bring you #123BBQ, our summer-long celebration of outdoor grilling, one of the first things we wanted ask him was how he found his zen with the cow.

As it turns out, Michael goes for a blushing mid-rare when putting his his burgers or steaks on the grill. He insists that achieving the right balance between a crisply seared exterior and a cooked to temperature inside shouldn't take much effort at all. "I flip my burgers and my steak one time," Michael explains. "The biggest mistake an amateur cook can make at home is to put it on the grill and move it around like crazy. Put it on, let it caramelize, flip it, let it caramelize, let it rest, serve it. That's it." In other words, take it easy and let the fire work its magic.

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[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

For anyone looking for a little less pink in their meat, "make sure you set up your grill with a hot side and a cool side," Michael recommends. "Once you've got that caramelization on the steak or the burger, if you want it cooked a little bit more, you can move it off to the cool side, put the lid down and cook it with a little bit of indirect heat. Then it starts working a little bit more like an oven, and things don't get burnt." This is also the time to add cheese or any other fixings that might benefit from some melt-inducing warmth.

Michael says that when it comes to steaks, "bone in rib eye, hanger steak, and skirt steak are my three favorite." But the possibilities don't stop there. If you've got your own way of cooking beef on the grill, make sure to share it using #123BBQ. Curious to see what others are serving up? Come take a peek over our backyard fence!

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