Denver Chefs Dish: On Grilling Techniques

BY Peyton Garcia


Denver’s diners helped determine the greatest grillmasters on the Front Range at RARE: The Denver Steak Championships. Now, we’ve asked the winners of the competition to return the favor by sharing some of their go-to kitchen gadgets and grill tips for all the home chefs out there. 

Christian Graves, Citizen Rail

Won: 1st Place in Judges’ Choice for Traditional Steak

With: Mesquite-grilled ribeye with Palisade peaches, a golden cherry tomato vinaigrette, and a beef garum wash

Tip: “Cook over live fire. Mesquite coal or fruit wood are my favorites. Gas gets the job done, but is not nearly as flavorful.”

Go-To Grill Gadget: “Cook hot! Real hot. Around 500 degrees hot. You will bring more natural flavor out of the meat. Then once it’s caramelized, peel back the heat to 300 and cook to preferred doneness.”

Chef Christian’s Perfect Steak Dinner: “Served with a sweet, rich salad: butter lettuce, little gems, and items like that. Plus, good balsamic and bread. Yum.”

Troy Guard, Guard and Grace

Won: 1st Place in Judges’ Choice for Creative Steak

With: Oak-grilled Hawaiian-style ribeye with Maui onion soubise and compressed pineapple

Tip: “Always a ribeye steak! More marbling equals more flavor. I like medium-high heat for a sear and crust on the grill. And I only use Guard and Grace seasoning  — it makes every steak a flavor bomb!”

Go-To Grill Gadget: An infrared thermometer. “For the PERFECT doneness.”

Chef Troy’s Perfect Steak Dinner: “Cooking a marinated Hawaiian ribeye on a Lanai in Maui while chilling with friends and family and cooking on a hibachi grill with local firewood. Then when it’s done cooking, we eat it PUPU-style … drinking beer and watching the sunset.”

Francis Berrios, 801 Chophouse Denver

Won: 1st Place in Peoples’ Choice for Traditional Steak

With: Dry-aged New York strip with bone marrow pommes purée, grilled chanterelles, and black garlic demi-glace

Tip: “Go for a quality steak with good marbling (like a Ribeye). All you will need after that is some good salt and high heat.”

Go-To Grill Gadget: Tongs or tweezers. “If you’re feeling fancy!”

Chef Francis’ Perfect Steak Dinner: “Grilled with quality salt, cooked medium-rare, and served with freshly baked sourdough to soak up any leftover juices.”

Jason Ganahl, GQue Barbeque

Won: 2nd Place in Judges’ Choice for Traditional Steak

With: A hickory-smoked beef tenderloin

Tip: “If you can afford it, buy good meat. I love Prime Beef over Choice. We cook only Prime Beef at GQue. It’s fairly reasonable at Costco and makes a big difference in taste because of its marbling or fat — and fat is flavor!”

Go-To Grill Gadget: Instant read thermometer. “So you can cook it just the way you like it. (Medium-rare for me, please!).”

Chef Jason’s Perfect Steak Dinner: “Reverse-seared over charcoal with salt, pepper, and roasted garlic with a glass of malbec.”

Craig Dryhurst, EDGE Restaurant at Four Seasons Denver

Won: 3rd Place in Peoples’ Choice AND Judges’ Choice for Traditional Steak

With: EDGE Spice-rubbed Aspen Ridge ribeye with Palisade peaches three ways, aligot potato, and mustard greens

Tip: “Once your steak has rested and is ready for slicing, season the inside of the cut steak with a high-quality flaky salt before eating for perfect finish seasoning.”

Go-To Grill Gadget: The Big Green Egg

Chef Craig’s Perfect Steak Dinner: “With a good Bearnaise and a little black garlic purée.”


Peyton Garcia

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