Three grilling recipes with chef Jeremiah Bacon
Meet the Chef: Jeremiah Bacon (inset above)
Born and raised on John’s Island, Jeremiah Bacon grew up an explorer. In his teenage years, he snaked through the Lowcountry’s waterways solo by boat or went fishing, crabbing, and shrimping with friends. He developed an early interest in cooking while watching his mother and grandmother rustle up crab boils or preserves. But it was after graduating College of Charleston—and a seven-month stint pulling pints in London—that Bacon decided to pursue a cooking career. He attended the Culinary Institute of America and swiftly moved up the ranks in renowned New York restaurants such as The River Café, Le Bernadin, and Per Se. Ten years after leaving Charleston, Bacon returned and, in 2011, opened The Macintosh, where he served as chef-partner for a decade. Though he has recently shifted into an advisory role for The Indigo Road group, one can still find the five-time James Beard Award nominee hopping on the line or washing dishes in one of his restaurant’s kitchens. And by mentoring the next generation of cooks, Bacon passes along his lifelong appreciation for the coastal South.
■ Social Affair: “I’ll grill year-round, but I love to cook out in the fall, when it’s cool and comfortable. Plus, it’s a lot of fun. The grill is a contained space that people naturally gravitate to. Like a fireplace, it draws you in.”
■ Top Tools: “A good pair of tongs. A sturdy grill brush is also pretty clutch. I prefer a gas grill, but I also own a little Green Egg.”
■ Temper Time: A cold steak will cook differently than one that has been tempered. “Pull your meat from the fridge 10 minutes before grilling, and let it come to room temperature.”
■ Seasoned Vet: “The power of salt and pepper is key,” says Bacon. “Seasoning is hard to learn and the biggest challenge I see with home cooks. I’m a big fan of fresh cracked pepper from a pepper mill and Red Diamond kosher salt. Season right before you go on the grill. I’ll brush, say a steak, with a little bit of butter and pat the salt right on the meat.” Sprinkle all surfaces generously with salt. “It might look like too much, but trust me, it isn’t. A lot will fall off as the fat renders.”
■ Tidy Up: Keeping your grill clean will make a world of a difference. “A great time to scrub is when the grill is still hot,” says Bacon. Pull your steaks off and while you let them rest, grab the grill brush. The heat will help lift debris. You need to get in there and toothbrush it a little bit. Then I’ll repeat the process the next day, too. After turning on the grill, I’ll use a wadded up rag or hand towel, put a little canola oil on, and brush away.”
(Left to right) Utilize indirect heat by sliding these carrots to the cooler side of the grill, or by placing them on the upper rack while your; chef Bacon prefers double skewering these gorgeous shrimp, from Tarvin Seafood on Shem Creek, for more stability on the grill; steak on direct heat.