Step Up Your Grill Game: Chef-Inspired Tips for Your Summer Cookout

Summer-Grilling-Tips

A cookout is one of the best ways to bring people together in the summertime (other than going to The Rail, of course). When you want to stay home and enjoy your beautiful backyard, don’t waste your time searching Pinterest for the best grilling recipes to entertain your guests - we’ve got you covered! We pressed our Executive Chef, Mike Hawks, to give up all his best grilling tips for the summer so you can bring home a piece of our restaurant experience and cook your perfect #RailBurger – and more – on your own grill!  (No chefs were harmed in the making of this blog post.)

 

We started by giving you a behind-the-scenes look at Chef's top three grilling rules:

Rule #1: Start with a good cut of meat.

High-quality meat will naturally have the flavor you want. One thing that surprises a lot of our guests is that we only use salt and pepper to season our juicy, flavorful burgers.

Rule # 2: Always cook on an open flame (Gas or Charcoal).

An open flame brings out the flavor of the meat, one that can’t be duplicated by any seasoning.

Rule #3: Let meat rest for 3-5 minutes off the grill after cooking.

This allows juices to spread evenly through the meat so you don’t have a greasy mess on the plate.

Chef-Hawks-The-Rail

Top Three Grilling Mistakes:

Next, we asked our chef to reveal some of the most common mistakes that people make when cooking at home. If you’re guilty of any of these, it’s time to change up your technique - you may be sabotaging your own cookout!

Mistake #1: Going back to our first rule, a good cut of meat will give you the flavor you want, so don’t feel the need to marinade all the time, as this can actually make meat tougher and overpower the meat’s natural flavors.

Do not season meat until you are ready to put it on the grill. Meat shouldn’t sit for very long, especially in salt, because sodium can pull the moisture out of the meat and make it tougher and dry.

Mistake #2: Avoid cooking on too high of heat, as this can cause meat to cook unevenly, overcooking the edges, but not cooking all the way throughout.

Be knowledgeable about the protein you’re cooking and the thickness, both of which determine the appropriate cook time. You could end up with a piece of meat that is hard and crispy on the outside and raw on the inside… and nobody wants that!

Mistake #3: Make sure to plan ahead, and have the rest of the dishes you’re serving ready to go when the grilling is done.

Don’t wait to start prepping the side dishes after the meat is already done. Meat continues to cook, and when it sits for too long, it can dry out and lose flavor. If there are sides that could be cooked and left waiting, do that, and if not, time them out with your meat or see if someone’s willing to give a hand.

Have everything you need laid out and ready to go because you don’t want to leave your grill unattended after you’ve started cooking. Have everything prepared, cut, chopped, etc. before you fire up the grill. Make sure you have enough propane in your tank before you start cooking as well – this one’s easy to forget about, and no one wants to deal with the hassle of running out during the cookout!

Cold-Beer

Top Three Hosting Tips:

Last, but certainly not least, grilling is more than food prep - it’s a party, so make sure you’re prepared for the hosting part too! Below are some essentials to remember for your next grilling excursion.

 

Host Tip #1: If you’re the one cooking, you need to have an ice-cold drink to keep you cool over that hot grill.

We suggest a cold, light, refreshing beer (in a coozie of course, because it needs to stay cold next to that flame). Chef’s suggestions include a crisp cider, sour or a citrusy IPA. If you’re not a beer person, a cool refreshing cocktail such as a margarita or mojito will definitely do the trick.

Host Tip #2: Keep your guests happy and entertained.

Starting off the cookout by offering some cold drinks and light snacks to munch on while waiting for the main course will get your guests in party mode and avoid any “hangriness” while waiting for the main course.

Every great cookout has good music as well. Chef’s Personal Pandora Recommendations include Bruno Mars and a mix of Sublime/90’s Music, and you can never go wrong with some 2000’s & Today.

Host Tip #3: Having a fun apron to wear while cooking is a must!

‘Kiss the Cook’ may be too cliché for some, so if you’re the chef of the group, go the extra mile and find a custom one to suit your personality!

 

While nothing compares to The Rail experience when it comes to local burgers, we hope these chef-inspired tips help you step up your grill game for a summer filled with the best (and most delicious) cookouts yet. You’re sure to be the hit of the neighborhood, but be prepared for a long reign as the King (or Queen) of the Grill!

Burger-and-Beer

Rhinegeist: Featured Brewery of the Summer

Rhinegeist: Featured Brewery of the Summer

If there’s one thing to know about The Rail, it’s how important being local is to us. We like to show our Local Love, and we’re excited to share a new program, with a Featured Brewery Partner for the season. This summer, we’ve chosen Rhinegeist Brewery of Cincinnati to partner with us through August, sharing a unique selection of brews and promotions to go along with them!

 

Rhinegeist is a craft brewery located in the heart of Cincinnati’s Brewery District -  even their name pays tribute to the historic “Over-The-Rhine” area, with Rhinegiest meaning, “Ghost of The Rhine.” Their brewing facility operates within the 110,000 square foot skeleton of an old Moerlein Brewing Company bottling plant, built in 1895. Rhinegeist is influenced by West Coast brewing styles, bringing the spirit of a bustling yet easygoing craft beer scene to southern Ohio. They believe in the power of beer to bring great people together, foment fantastic ideas, and build a community that values craft beer and one another. We have to say, they’ve made The Rail team firm believers too!

6th and Final Rail Against Breast Cancer

6th and Final Rail Against Breast Cancer

It’s that time of year again… We’re partnering with Team Breast Man Walking for the sixth and final Rail Against Breast Cancer benefit! Join us at The Rail – Akron on Sunday, May 7th, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for an amazing event, supporting a great cause while having a great time.

 

RABC raises funds for Team Breast Man Walking’s participation in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, a 60-mile walk to end breast cancer. This cause is very near and dear to Akron locals Kathy and Lee Giller and Nancy Schrader, who have teamed up with The Rail for this event the last five years.

Winning One for Ohio: Mojo Burger Earns Best in Show

Winning One for Ohio: Mojo Burger Earns Best in Show

On the heels of National Puppy Day, we can’t help but think about the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Now we know what you’re thinking, what does this have to do with burgers? Just stay with us.

 

Cute, cuddly dogs trot around and jump over hurdles. Their owners frantically search for the Busy Bee (Christopher Guest reference, anyone?). Countless hours of training, hard work and dedication lead to one glorious moment – the coveted Best in Show Award. Well, the Burger Wars competition is our Kennel Club Dog Show, and our Mojo Burger took home Best in Show!

Skip Work, Drink Beer.

Skip Work, Drink Beer.

So, it sounds like you're ready for a day off. Get your excuse rehearsed so you can come celebrate March Madness with us at The Rail! To kick off March Madness, enjoy ALL DAY Happy Hour Specials on drinks and appetizers on Thursday, March 16th, and Friday, March 17th, as well as some delicious St. Patrick's Day-inspired food specials. 

 

We’ve enlisted the help of industry experts to develop a list of some of the best (and worst) excuses to give your boss so you can get an early start to your weekend and enjoy all the fun our Skip Work Party has to offer.

Earning an A+ in Beer School with Goldhorn Brewery + The End of FeBREWary 2017

Last Wednesday was a good day to be a student.  Although technically, you could say we’ve earned our B.A. in beer tasting because we’ve been slogging down delicious beer all month long.  One moment it’s Columbus-favorite Zaftig Brewing and the next it’s Wolf’s Ridge and Warped Wing.  Bottom line: The second annual #FeBREWary was just as fun as we thought it’d be, with the beer surpassing even our own lofty, hop-induced expectations.  It’s truly good to be an Ohioan.  Bring on 2018!

 

One of Cleveland’s up-and-coming beer concocters and Rail favorites, Goldhorn Brewery, took to the head of the class for one of FeBREWary’s most exciting Beer School events at Ohio Beer Garden.  Several prominent local writers and bloggers were also in attendance, ready to taste whatever masterful elixir was thrown at them… and the folks at Goldhorn certainly did not disappoint.

Flying through FeBREWary with Warped Wing

Flying through FeBREWary with Warped Wing

FeBREWary is going strong at The Rail, Ohio Beer Garden and The City Square Steakhouse. If you’ve stopped in, we’re sure you heard about our featured draft selections, but what you might not have heard about is the story behind our featured FeBREWeries…

This month, it’s safe to say we’ve made a new friend in Warped Wing Brewing Co., a Dayton craft brewery. With a full-scale production brewery in the heart of downtown Dayton (and a self-proclaimed tow motor expert in Co-Founder Nick Bowman), WWBC shares our sense of local pride and is committed to brewing well-crafted beers Daytonians and Ohioans can embrace.

 

What's Brewing for FeBREWary...

The Rail + Rare Ohio Beer + February = FeBREWary

No need to check the math on that equation, FeBREWary is back for a second year. The tried and true formula we came up for last year remains, just with a couple of tweaks.  More beer, more locations and more beer. Wait, did we say more beer twice? Oh well… more beer!

So, what’s it all mean? It means that whatever part of Ohio you’re in at the moment, you’ll be closer to tasty, rare Ohio beer you’ve never had before. And that's awesome.

September #FarmFeature: Brown Bros. Farms

September #FarmFeature: Brown Bros. Farms

As many of you may know, the Ohio Turkey Burger is back on our menu for September by popular demand. What many of you may not know, however, is where we get our most popular locally sourced items.

The Rail has some really great partnerships with Ohio farmers, each with their own cool story and terrific products, which is why we’d like to share our first-ever #FarmFeature on our free range turkey burgers.

It's Silo Season

It's Silo Season

Our friends over at Lager Heads Brewing Co. in Medina wanted to team up to spread our mutual beer love around NE Ohio. The result is a truly tasty and easy-to-drink beer that's perfect for late summer and the upcoming harvest of silo season.

We're coming for you next, Strongsville

We're coming for you next, Strongsville

Akron...check. North Olmsted...check. Canton...check. Strongsville, you're up. We're stoked to announce plans for our newest addition to the family.

Let's RAIL Against Breast Cancer

Let's RAIL Against Breast Cancer

We're teaming up with Breast Man Walking for the 5th year to get our party on while we raise money for and awareness of breast cancer. Get your tickets for the May 1st shindig --- it's a great cause for great people with great grub and beer.

#febrewary import: Tap & Screw Brewery

#febrewary import: Tap & Screw Brewery

The industrial West Side of Cincinnati is enriched with a lengthy history ofhard workers, heavy duty equipment and, thanks to Tap and Screw Brewery, it also yields some damn good beer. This FeBREWary we’re pouring their All Jacked Up, a vanilla mocha porter laced with Madagascar vanilla & coffee – come in to any location to try it before the kegs blow.

#febrewary import: Fifty West Brewing Co.

#febrewary import: Fifty West Brewing Co.

This FeBREWary we’ve partnered with some downright fantastic Ohio breweries in the Cincinnati craft beer belt. On the eastern outskirts of the Queen City, you can find Fifty West Brewing Company in an old speakeasy along the Little Miami River. This month, we’ll be pouring their “Pepper Beer”---Jalopy Nose Jalapeño Stout until it runs out.

Eatin', drinkin' and watchin'

Eatin', drinkin' and watchin'

It sure would be kick-ass to see an #allOhio team in Super Bowl 50 this Sunday, but we're pretty used to that not being the case. That's not stopping us from watching the big game, and we are looking for some burger-lovin', beer-drinkin' friends to join us.

#febrewary import: Urban Artifact

#febrewary import: Urban Artifact

Since their beers haven’t made their way North before now, we thought you might like to meet some of the breweries behind the drafts. First up is Urban Artifact. We’ll be pouring their Maize Kentucky Common Ale as long as it’s flowing in Canton, Akron and North Olmsted.

FEBREWARY IS FOR BEER LOVERS

FEBREWARY IS FOR BEER LOVERS

This month, The RAIL is putting the BREW into FeBREWary.

We have imported four Ohio craft beers from Cincinnati for our fellow beer lovers. Yep, imported. We basically sent a friend down to Cincinnati to pick up 17 kegs of beer that wouldn’t otherwise be available up here in NE Ohio. We’ll be featuring the different brews at all 3 locations beginning Febrewary 1st until we run out.

60 Miles. 3 Days. 1 Kickin' Party.

60 Miles. 3 Days. 1 Kickin' Party.

Tickets are now on sale at The Rail at Summit Mall for our 4th annual benefit to raise funds for Akron's "Team Breast Man Walking" as they participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. And for those RAILavores not able to make the trek to Akron, both our Canton and North Olmsted locations will be donating a portion of their sales on Sunday, May 3rd to the benefit. So, eat up, drink up and help do something about breast cancer.

Bite me, I'm local.

Bite me, I'm local.

Local food advocacy group, Strolling the Heifers, released the results of the 3rd Annual Locavore Index last week. The index ranks the best (and worst) U.S. states for eating locally based on the # of farmers' markets, CSAs, food hubs and schools with farm-to-school programs.

Vermont takes the top spot for being the most convenient state when it comes to buying and eating locally grown and raised food. That's 3 years in a row for The Green Mountain State, although it leads us to wonder what portion of their total includes maple syrup products.

SPOILER ALERT: Ohio doesn't make the list of top 10 states; in fact, we come in toward the bottom at #37 (at least we're not Texas). But don't fret, you can still eat local as a RAILavore.

For the complete ranking, go to: http://www.strollingoftheheifers.com/locavoreindex/.