Tom Mylan is a co-owner of the Meat Hook butcher shop and the newly-opened Meat Hook Sandwich Shop, both in Williamsburg. But he's also a trailblazer and pioneer in New York City's local food scene.

He worked at Marlow & Sons in Williamsburg, one of the first restaurants in Brooklyn to carry locally-made products, and one of the first places to buy and prepare locally-sourced meats. Mylan was the in-house butcher there, a position that he founded. After a couple of years and knowing the demand for local, organic and humanely-raised meats would only grow, Mylan and his partners Brent Young and Ben Turley struck out on their own, and opened the Meat Hook butcher shop.

You could say he knows a few things about not only butchering but also the role Brooklyn and New York City has played in the still growing local food movement. He's been at the forefront of it, and has been sharing his knowledge the whole time. "The Meat Hook Meat Book" is filled with stories about the food revolution, as well as simple to follow recipes, tricks of the trade and instructions on how to break down whole pigs, kill chickens and cook with tongue, trotters and more.

Mylan shares with us some of his tricks on how to make your BBQ the best ever. He's basically the authority on this, so pay attention.

#1 Create a flame-free zone

"This is part of the grill where there is no charcoal or the gas flame is turned off. This is really important because, sooner or later, you're going to have a flare-up and will need to move your steaks and burgers. It’s also useful for foods like chicken or sausage, which need to be cooked over lower heat to be at their best. Having a safe, cooler spot on the grill also makes cooking more relaxing, because you can "press pause" by moving your grillables to the flame-free zone, which is key if you have flakey friends that tend to arrive late to the party."


Photo excerpted from "The Meat Hook Meat Book" by Tom Mylan (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Michael Harlan Turkell. Illustrations by Kate Bonner.

(Credit: Meat Hook Meat Book)

#2: Finish cooking your meat over low heat

"This is a corollary of the first tip. Once you get nice grill marks on your meat, you should move the cut to the flame-free zone so that it can finish cooking in a gentler environment. The meat will be more tender and juicy, because the muscle fibers can relax after the stress of the high-heat char grilling."


Photo excerpted from "The Meat Hook Meat Book" by Tom Mylan (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Michael Harlan Turkell. Illustrations by Kate Bonner.

(Credit: Meat Hook Meat Book)

#3: Marinate your meat

"Almost any meat, aside from expensive dry-aged steaks, is improved by marinating for a few hours before grilling. It will make your meat both tender and more flavorful. It'll also help your meat keep a few days longer, if your BBQ gets rained out. And at all costs, avoid store-bought marinades; they usually contain sugar, which will cause your meat to char and blacken, making it taste bitter."

Photo excerpted from "The Meat Hook Meat Book" by Tom Mylan (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Michael Harlan Turkell. Illustrations by Kate Bonner.

(Credit: Meat Hook Meat Book)

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#4 Oil your grill

"You wouldn't cook a steak in a dry pan, would you? The same rules apply to the grill. Use a pair of tongs and a heavy duty piece of paper towel soaked with oil to coat your grill top, right before you put on your meat. It will prevent sticking and, because oil is an excellent conductor of heat, create better grill marks on your food."

Photo excerpted from "The Meat Hook Meat Book" by Tom Mylan (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Michael Harlan Turkell. Illustrations by Kate Bonner.

(Credit: Meat Hook Meat Book)

#5: Eat your veggies!

"Vegetables are not only delicious and nutritious, they also really benefit from the ultra-high heat of the grill. When your charcoal is not yet ashy on top and still too hot to grill meat, this is a great way to make the most of your coals’ burning time. Asparagus, scallions, marinated zucchini, and Japanese eggplant are particularly good for this and make great appetizers or side dishes, without any laborious preparation."

Photo excerpted from "The Meat Hook Meat Book" by Tom Mylan (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Michael Harlan Turkell. Illustrations by Kate Bonner.

(Credit: GETTY IMAGES/ Emmanuel Dunand)