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Exclusive: Step up your 4th of July barbecue with tips from Food Network's 'Mad Cuban

Mike Opelka
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Independence Day grilling is a science and an art. Americans will be celebrating freedom with fire and meat, so Mike Opelka welcomed the Mad Cuban, Carl Ruiz, back to “Pure Opelka” today to humorously help this delicious tradition go off without a hitch.

Ruiz said to start with a good lump coal and to split the grill into two zones: piping hot and nearly off. The fuller flame side is to cook what your guests want to order, and the other is to keep everything warm. When done, don’t forget to clean the grill and season with vegetable oil.

It is imperative to let your meat get to room temperature before it hits the grill, or it will stick because cold meat actually cools the grill surface. Ribs are best started in the oven, as they take up the whole grill and take hours. The Mad Cuban joked, “People don’t mind coming over to your house and watching you grill for an hour,” but nobody wants to wait six for ribs.

He also said of cooking times, “If they’re not friends on the farm, they won’t be friends on the grill.” Remember that chicken, steak, hamburgers, and fish must be timed differently. All meats need to rest ten minutes before cutting so they don’t lose all the juice trapped by the heat.

And don’t you dare reheat your seafood in the microwave! Ruiz said to put all seafood and seafood dishes in a freezer bag and reheat the bag in a pot of boiling water so that it won’t get tough

To see more from Mike, visit his channel on TheBlaze and listen live to “Pure Opelka” weekdays 7–10 p.m. ET & Saturdays 6–9 a.m. ET, only on TheBlaze Radio Network.

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