Chef Jens Dahlmann

Chef Jens Dahlmann

LongHorn Steakhouse and Chef Jens Dahlmann are ready to help home cooks with grilling questions.

LongHorn Steakhouse's Grill Us Hotline will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST on Sept. 3 for Labor Day grilling tips. Call 855-LH-GRILL with your questions for grill experts.

Here are some tips Chef Dahlmann gave us in advance of the holiday:

What are some of the easiest foods to grill?

First of all, start with fresh high quality ingredients as they will yield the best results. Some of my favorite items to grill are steak, chicken, pork and vegetables. All of these can be easy as long as you have the right skills and tools. It’s all about having a nice hot and clean grill, oiling your grill in advance to avoid sticking, selecting the right seasoning and grilling to the correct level of doneness.

When it comes to meat, what do you have to watch out for when grilling?

When you’re grilling, watch out for flare-ups. Well-marbled meat, like ribeye or New York strip, tend to flare up a bit more. The same would apply to heavy marinated meats.

When building the fire in a charcoal grill you can build a direct and indirect bed of coals which will give you the ability to move the meat around. On a gas grill you can do the same by running the burners at different heat levels. In addition you could have a squeeze bottle filled with water or beer to help you extinguish flare ups.

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How do you know when your cut of meat is ready?

The easiest and most accurate way to tell if your meat is ready is by using a meat thermometer. With steak, for example, you want to be in the 130-140 Fahrenheit range for medium.

If you don’t have a meat thermometer on hand, you can use this trick: A good way to tell if your steak is done is by gently pressing on it with a pair of tongs. Rare steaks have a lot of “give” and almost feel spongy. A well-done steak has almost no “give” and feels very firm. I look for a firmness that’s in-between the two for my preferred doneness, medium.

What frightens novices most about manning the grill?

We know that grilling can be intimidating if it's not something you do regularly. That’s one of the reasons we launched the Grill Us Hotline in 2012. Judging by some of the calls we’ve received in the past, I would say one of the main concerns is serving food that is either under- or overcooked.

Who answers the Grill Us Hotline? 

The Grill Us Hotline is manned by Grill Masters from across the country. LongHorn’s expert Grill Masters can be found in every restaurant nationwide, and they’re specially trained to make perfectly-grilled steaks for guests every time. They are masters at selecting the right cut of meat, boldly seasoning ingredients by hand and grilling to each guest’s desired degree of doneness.