Grigliata mista

Grigliata mista di carne (Mixed Grilled Meats)

In secondi piatti, summer by Frank29 Comments

Italians love to grill just like other folks, but the Italian approach to grilling is a bit different than what you may be used to. Traditional Italian grilling doesn’t go in for strongly flavored rubs or sauces. Marinades, if any, are used to enhance, never to overwhelm, the main ingredient.

If you want to make a big impression at your next cookout, try a grigliata mista di carne, a mixed grilled meats platter of fresh and cured cuts of beef, veal, pork, lamb and chicken or other poultry. The red meats are typically rubbed with a dry marinade of garlic, rosemary, salt and black pepper. If you have a truly fine piece of beef, on the other hand, it will need nothing more than best quality salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Chicken and other poultry are delicious with the wet marinade used for making pollo alla diavola, with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes.

With all the meats grilled to golden perfection and laid out decoratively on a platter, your grigliata mista will make a spectacular presentation, turning your cookout into a real feast, fit for the 4th of July or any other special occasion.  

Ingredients

Serves 4-6

For the meats, at least four of these options, more if you’re hungry:

  • 1 ribeye, strip or other steak of your choice
  • 4-6 sausages
  • 4-5 pork chops
  • 4-6 veal chops
  • 4-6 lamb chops, preferably rib chops
  • 250g (8 oz) pork belly, cut into thick strips
  • 1/2 chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • 1 turkey breast, cut into serving pieces
  • 2 or 3  cornish hens, cut in half
  • 4-6 quail
  • Kebobs, made as directed in this recipe

For the dry marinade:

  • Peppercorns
  • Salt
  • A sprig of rosemary, leaves only
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • Olive oil, rubbed in just before grilling

For the wet alla diavola marinade, for the poultry:

  • The juice of one lemon
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 50ml (1/4 cup) olive oil

For finishing the dish:

  • Salt
  • Olive oil

Directions

Preparing the meats for grilling as follows:

Steak: At least an hour before you’re ready to cook, air dry the steak as directed in the post on bistecca alla fiorentina. Rub with olive oil just before grilling.

Sausage: Sausages need no marinade or other preparation, but prick them here and there just before grilling with a toothpick or sharp knife. This will prevent them from bursting out of their skins while they grill.

Other Red Meats (Lamb Chops, Pork Chops, Veal Chops, Pork Belly): Make the dry marinade by whizzing together all the indicated ingredients in a spice mill until you have a uniform but slightly rough powder. If you don’t have a spice mill, grind the pepper and finely mince the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or by hand, using a sharp knife or mezzaluna. Sprinkle the dry marinade generously on all sides of the meats and let the meat marinate at least an hour, or better several hours. (If marinating for longer than an hour, it’s best to cover the meats and put them in the fridge. Rub the meats (other than the pork belly) with a bit of olive oil just before grilling.

Poultry (Chicken, turkey breast, Cornish hens, quail): Make the wet marinade by whizzing all the indicated ingredients together with a whisk or blender. Pour over the poultry pieces, cover and place in the fridge, and let them marinate for at least an hour, or as long as overnight.

Grilling the meats:

Start with the poultry, which generally take the longest to cook, over a moderate hot flame. Grill until the pieces are golden brown on both sides and cooked through. Total grilling time should be about 30-40 minutes for the ribs, 15-20 minutes for the chicken or cornish hens, 5-10 minutes for quail.

A few minutes after your start your poultry, add the pork chops, veal chops, and/or sausages, grilling them, too, over moderate heat until golden brown on both sides and cooked through. Total grilling time should be about 10-15 minutes. (NB: If using very thick chops, you may want to put them on at the same time as the poultry.)

The pork belly should also cook over moderate heat to allow some time for the fat to render, about 5-10 minutes total. You want the strips to brown on both sides but you don’t want them as crisps as you might make bacon. Pork belly is at its best when crisp on the outside but still chewy on the inside.

For me, the only way to eat a steak is nicely seared on the outside and rare on the inside, flash grilled over the highest heat you can manage, about 3-5 minutes per side for your average steak. Grill the lamb chops just the same way. The steaks and chops should then rest on a baking rack for five minutes or so while you finish grilling the other meats.

For the kebobs, follow the directions found in this post.

If any of the meats (other than the steak or lamb chops) are done before the others are ready to serve, you can move them to a cooler side of the grill, on a warming rack above the grill if you have one, or simply set it aside and then, just before serving, return it to the grill just long enough to heat it up.

Serving your grigliata mista:

Slice the steak on the bias across the grain into moderately thick slices. If using a long sausage such as luganega (see Notes), cut it into serving pieces. Now arrange all your meats decoratively on a platter. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil all over the meats, except for the sausages and pork belly if using. Serve your grigliata mista right away, with lemon wedges if you like.

Grigliata mista

Notes on Grigliata mista di carne

For the best grigliata mista experience, make sure to choose at least one cut each of beef, pork, lamb and chicken or other poultry. And sausages really are a must. (Veal is so expensive I’d consider it optional.) Then, if you’re hungry, double up on your favorite kinds of meat.

For me, the best steak for grilling, bar none, is a bone-in ribeye. But, of course, I wouldn’t turn down a strip steak, either, or the chewy but delicious hanger, skirt, flank or the lesser known flap steaks. (NB: Flank and flap steaks are sometimes marketed as bavette steaks; the flap stake is apparently called the ‘sirloin tip’ in New England.) T-Bones and Porterhouse steaks are wonderful grilled alla fiorentina, but best eaten on their own.

Make sure to choose at least one cut each of beef, pork, lamb and chicken or other poultry. And sausages really are a must…

For the lamb chops, there’s nothing like rib chops—through they’re ridiculously pricey. Shoulder chops are an economical and delicious alternative. (Personally, I’ve never thought that loin chops were worth the price tag.) If you can find them, coil-shaped luganega sausages (a staple of Italian street festivals) are the finest choice for grilling. But if you can’t, try the generic ‘Italian Sausage’ you will find in most supermarkets, sweet or hot or both. Try to look for smaller, organic chickens. Those tasteless factory farm monsters with artificially swollen breasts that you’ll find in most supermarkets aren’t ideal for this kind of simple treatment. Or you might want to opt for another kind of poultry like a Cornish hen or quail, or even turkey, cut into serving pieces.

For more tips on grilling steak, see our post on bistecca alla fiorentina. The tips there are really relevant any time you want to grill a steak.

Sides and Sauces

Don’t forget some vegetable side dishes to go with your grigliata mista. Grilled vegetables are wonderful, of course, but braised beans like the Tuscan favorite fagioli all’uccelletto are a classic accompaniment, as are fried peppers or greens sautéed in oil and garlic. But even a simply mixed green salad, simply dressed all’italiana, would do the trick. To wash it all down, I’d go for a light pinot or rosé.

And if you want a sauce for your grigliata mista, you could go for a salsa verde or salsa rossa, the kind you would serve with a bollito misto. Or if you want something slightly provocative, the piquant chimichurri sauce.

Grigliata mista di carne (Mixed Grilled Meats)

2 hours

1 hour

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: Serves 4-6

Grigliata mista di carne (Mixed Grilled Meats)

Ingredients

    For the meats, at least four of these options, more if you're hungry:
  • 1 ribeye, strip or other steak of your choice
  • 4-6 sausages
  • 4-5 pork chops
  • 4-6 veal chops
  • 4-6 lamb chops, preferably rib chops
  • 250g (8 oz) pork belly, cut into thick strips
  • 1/2 chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • 1 turkey breast, cut into serving pieces
  • 2 or 3 cornish hens, cut in half
  • 4-6 quail
  • Kebobs, made as directed in this recipe
  • For the dry marinade:
  • Peppercorns
  • Salt
  • A sprig of rosemary, leaves only
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • Olive oil, rubbed in just before grilling
  • For the wet alla diavola marinade, for the poultry:
  • The juice of one lemon
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 50ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • For finishing the dish:
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

Directions

    Preparing the meats for grilling as follows:
  1. Steak: At least an hour before you're ready to cook, air dry the steak as directed in the post on bistecca alla fiorentina. Rub with olive oil just before grilling.
  2. Sausage: Sausages need no marinade or other preparation, but prick them here and there just before grilling with a toothpick or sharp knife. This will prevent them from bursting out of their skins while they grill.
  3. Other Red Meats (Lamb Chops, Pork Chops, Veal Chops, Pork Belly): Make the dry marinade by whizzing together all the indicated ingredients in a spice mill until you have a uniform but slightly rough powder. If you don't have a spice mill, grind the pepper and finely mince the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or by hand, using a sharp knife or mezzaluna. Sprinkle the dry marinade generously on all sides of the meats and let the meat marinate at least an hour, or better several hours. (If marinating for longer than an hour, it's best to cover the meats and put them in the fridge. Rub the meats (other than the pork belly) with a bit of olive oil just before grilling.
  4. Poultry (Chicken, turkey breast, Cornish hens, quail): Make the wet marinade by whizzing all the indicated ingredients together with a whisk or blender. Pour over the poultry pieces, cover and place in the fridge, and let them marinate for at least an hour, or as long as overnight.
  5. Grilling the meats:
  6. Start with the poultry, which generally take the longest to cook, over a moderate hot flame. Grill until the pieces are golden brown on both sides and cooked through. Total grilling time should be about 30-40 minutes for the ribs, 15-20 minutes for the chicken or cornish hens, 5-10 minutes for quail.
  7. A few minutes after your start your poultry, add the pork chops, veal chops, and/or sausages, grilling them, too, over moderate heat until golden brown on both sides and cooked through. Total grilling time should be about 10-15 minutes. (NB: If using very thick chops, you may want to put them on at the same time as the poultry.)
  8. The pork belly should also cook over moderate heat to allow some time for the fat to render, about 5-10 minutes total. You want the strips to brown on both sides but you don't want them as crisps as you might make bacon. Pork belly is at its best when crisp on the outside but still chewy on the inside.
  9. For me, the only way to eat a steak is nicely seared on the outside and rare on the inside, flash grilled over the highest heat you can manage, about 3-5 minutes per side for your average steak. Grill the lamb chops just the same way. The steaks and chops should then rest on a baking rack for five minutes or so while you finish grilling the other meats.
  10. For the kebobs, follow the directions found in this post.
  11. If any of the meats (other than the steak or lamb chops) are done before the others are ready to serve, you can move them to a cooler side of the grill, on a warming rack above the grill if you have one, or simply set it aside and then, just before serving, return it to the grill just long enough to heat it up.
  12. Serving your grigliata mista:
  13. Slice the steak on the bias across the grain into moderately thick slices. If using a long sausage such as luganega (see Notes), cut it into serving pieces. Now arrange all your meats decoratively on a platter. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil all over the meats, except for the sausages and pork belly if using. Serve your grigliata mista right away, with lemon wedges if you like.
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Comments

  1. Una fazza una razza! We do the exact same thing here in Greece when we grill. BBQ sauces etc are rarely used and only in the last few years. The traditional way of grilling meat is the same as you described it:) The meat (good quality meat) is the star of the plate.
    Thank you for another wonderful post Frank!
    Panos and Mirella

  2. Finally – a menu that would feed the fifty people we have over for holiday barbecues. We do as little as possible with the meat – but yes, a little garlic, rosemary…. heaven. I love the choices – something for everyone. Hope your 4th was delightful.

  3. I love grigliata mista, it is one of my favorite summer dish. We usually have when we are in Tuscany where you can find the best fiorentina. Great post Frank!

    1. Author

      A grigliata mista enjoyed in the Tuscan countryside sounds like heaven, Paola.

  4. How interesting to see the grigliata under a different cultural angle. I had never thought “our” grigliata was different. But you are right, if the meat is of excellent quality and – if I may add – there is real coal from wood and a fragrant olive oil like our Umbrian elixir, then there is nothing else needed. Except may be a starry summer night. Thank you Frank!

  5. I love your the dish you make please send me more live them brings back when u live in Italy with my parent thank you .lina

    1. Author

      Thanks so much for the kinds words, Lina. And no worries, there’s plenty more to come. 🙂

  6. Frank, your recipe sounds divine! I know my mamma’s kitchen didn’t have a lot of spices and herbs but what she created with what she had was amazing. As I got older I wanted to buy this and that for our kitchen but mamma continued with what she was used to and her food always tasted better than my attempts at being fancy. Happy Independence Day!

    1. Author

      Definitely! I’m not a big meat eater, either, but I can never resist the charms of the grill…

  7. pensare che io sogno un giorno di essere invitata ad una grigliata americana con tante salse, birra gelata , musica country e tutto quello che fa Usa ! Buon we Frank !

  8. Frank, have you ever been to Argentina? A good friend of mine hails from the town the famous racer Fangio hailed from, and there is a museum devoted to him there (he was Abruzzese).

    Even their sausages are half beef…

    1. Author

      Ha! Of course I know of the parillada argentina but my one experience of Argentina was passing through on a long bus trip. Dying to get there one day!

  9. I love big flavors, rubs and sauces and all of it, but with high quality meats this would also be fabulous for a celebration! Beautiful photos.

    1. Author

      Thanks, Mimi! I love all kinds of grilled foods, too, but this one has a special place in my heart.

    1. Author

      Very true, Paula. And the great thing is, there’s something for every taste.

  10. That is an insanely beautiful griliata mista, Frank! If that amount serves 4-6, I would love to see what you make for large parties! This reminds me of quite a few nights in farmhouses we have rented in Tuscany. Just beautiful.

    1. Author

      Thanks, David! If this reminds you of a Tuscan farmhouse, I can’t imagine higher praise than that. 🙂

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  13. Argentinians grill like that too, but with about ten times as much meat; mostly beef, also lamb from Patagonia, sausages, perhaps poultry. Rarely veal – I think they have a lot more room in their country and let it get fully grown. After all, that is why so many Italians moved there.

    My friends down there are probably grilling right now, as it is the height of summer…

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  15. I am always disappointed when I eat grigliata mista, because it seems that it usually mainly consists of pork in the form of sausage and spiedini (brochettes) because it is cheaper meat (and there are a lot of peppers on the skewers). I love lamb (I love arrosticini) and as an American a BBQ has to include for me… which is why I am usually a much happier camper when it comes to a tagliata or bistecca alla Fiorentina. Your platter, however, looks wonderful and I would have a grigliata at your place anyday

    1. Author

      I hear you! Love sausage and spiedini but variety is the spice of life—and the thing that should make a grigliata special. And for me, too, it wouldn’t be complete without beef!

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