Now that it's well into grill season, you may have tired of burgers and steaks. But there's an easy solution to that fatigue: Meats and fish that have been cut, trimmed and marinated and need only to be thrown on the grill. Most Long Island butchers do brisk business in ready-to-grill meats, and fishmongers are increasingly offering marinated steaks, fillets and kebabs. Here are some favorites:
382 Willis Ave., Roslyn Heights; 516-625-0809; centercuts.net
Justin Aronoff and Doug Cohen met when both were working at The Meat House, the Roslyn butcher chain location that opened in 2012 and closed two years later. The Meat House's signature item was its marinated steak tips, and Aronoff and Cohen have resurrected these tender, flavorful beef tidbits to great customer acclaim. Center Cuts' steak tips ($15.99 a pound) are made with flap meat. Flavors rotate but "house" (a vaguely Italian garlic-oil-herb blend) and maple-bourbon are always available. "Kids love the maple-bourbon," Aronoff said. "They call it candy steak."
85 Deer Park Ave., Babylon; 631-669-0612; babylonvillagemeatmarket.com
Owner Lenny Popp said his store's bestselling ready-to-grill item was the "Western steak" ($17.99 a pound) a prime flat iron steak marinated in a barbecue sauce he "imports" from Illinois. Popp also sells kebabs made from prime tri-tip steak ("rich flavor like short ribs but much more tender," $12.99) and "dragon sticks," satay-style teriyaki-marinated skewers of flank steak ($17.99).
8045 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury; 516-921-6519; orderprimetime.com
Lou Kreitzman's customers appreciate Prime Time's wide range of mistake-proof grilling options. In warm weather, he has trouble keeping "turkey London broil" ($9.98 a pound) in stock. Kreitzman trims whole turkey breasts into neat, even loaves and marinates them in spices, doctored teriyaki, apricot-plum and honey-mustard.
112 Main St., Kings Park, 631-460-4175
Steve Cardello fiddled for weeks before settling on the recipe for his fresh tuna burgers ($15.99 a pound). The final recipe has shallots, scallions, pickles and a little barbecue sauce. "They grill up great," he said. "like a real burger." In addition to a constantly changing roster of fish and shrimp kebabs (whatever the market price is that day), he also sells vegetable-only skewers ($6.99 a pound), one with squash, red onion and bell pepper, another with mushrooms, fingerling potatoes and shallots. "Vegetables and fish cook at different rates," he says. "Best to have them on separate skewers."
8049 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury; 516-496-2416
Jewel of the Sea knows which fish its customers want to grill and that fish is salmon. Thick salmon steaks are sold marinated in honey-garlic sauce ($15.99) and the kitchen makes plump, bright-orange burgers ($11.99 a pound) from chopped salmon combined with shredded carrots, zucchini and yellow squash.
20 Main St. , West Sayville; 631-256-5900 and 415 N. Country Rd., St. James; 631-862-4228; clawsseafoodmarket.com
Claws' Frank Palermo prefers not to marinate fish in advance because "for most fish, the marinade overwhelms the flavor really quickly." But he will happily take his swordfish or mako shark kebabs ($12.99 a pound) shrimp kebabs ($6 for five shrimp) and give them the Italian, teriyaki or spice-rub treatment upon customer request. On weekends, he often threads a variety of fish onto "taste of the sea" kebabs: swordfish, mako, opah, marlin-whatever firm fish he's got in the case (market price).
WHEN IS IT DONE?
Using an instant-read thermometer removes all the guesswork from grilling. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's "recommended safe minimum internal temperature" guidelines call for poultry to be cooked to 165 degrees and (as of 2011) pork to be cooked to 145 degrees. Both of these recommendations will yield a nicely cooked piece of meat.
The USDA also recommends that steaks, chops and roasts of beef, veal and lamb be cooked to 145 degrees, but I have never met a professional chef (or a good home cook) who adheres to those guidelines. For rare, cook red meat to an internal temperature of 120 to 125, 125 to 130 for medium-rare, 140 for medium, 150 for medium well, 160 for well done. As meat rests, the internal temperature rises, so if you want your steak medium-rare, take it off the heat at 122 degrees and give it a few minutes.
Most fish is cooked at 135 degrees, but if you like your salmon a bit underdone, shoot for 125 degrees. For rare tuna steaks, the temperature should not exceed 115 degrees.