Up Your Grilling Game This Summer With Tips From Mad Dog And Merrill

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show
Photo by Tom Harpel (CC-BY)

There’s no finer way to spend a beautiful Wisconsin summer evening than firing up the grill for some good eats…but good grilling goes far beyond just burgers and brats. Grilling experts Mad Dog and Merrill join us with tips to take your grilling game to the next level.

Featured in this Show

  • Mad Dog And Merrill Share Summer Grilling Tips

    It’s peak grilling season, and if you’re tired of the same old burgers and hot dogs, grilling experts Gary Merrill and Mark “Mad Dog” Mathewson, have good news: where there’s a will there’s a way to grill almost anything.

    Merrill and Mathewson, better known as Mad Dog and Merrill, are masters at grilling out and are self-proclaimed “grillologists” who’ve been at it for decades. Now, they’ve shared some of their favorite tips with Wisconsin Public Radio.

    Cedar Planks

    Cedar planks protect whatever you’re grilling from the heat source, which means meats will be juicier, and vegetables and leaner cuts of meat will be less likely to dry out. Planks add an extra layer of flavor, too.

    Merrill and Mathewson recommend using untreated cedar dog-ear fence boards found at home improvement stores. You can grill with any kind of wood, but this is the cheapest way to do it, they said. Make sure to soak the boards in water overnight first so the heat isn’t too harsh and dry.

    Himalayan Salt Planks

    Himalayan salt planks also protect meat from direct heat, keeping it from drying out. Food cooked on a Himalayan salt plank will absorb the flavor, too. The two recommend them for shrimp, scallops and chicken breasts.


    If you’re cooking salmon directly on the grill, Merrill and Mathewson recommend keeping the skin on while grilling since most of the omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are found between the meat and the skin. Grill skin down, oil and season, and once it’s done (you can tell when it beads white at the surface of the fish) you can work the skin off the meat with a spatula. You can also cook salmon without the skin on a cedar plank.

    Shish kabobs

    The two have a special DIY method of grilling shish kabobs. They take two wooden dowels wrapped in aluminum foil and place the kabobs across them so they can cook in indirect heat for half an hour. They fill spray bottles with chicken broth, beef broth or other flavorings and mist the kabobs as they’re cooking.


    Merrill and Mathewson haven’t forgotten the vegetarians and veggie enthusiasts out there. Plenty of veggies do well directly on the grill, including Brussels sprouts, zucchini, carrots and even beets. Grilled beets have a buttery, sweet flavor.

    They recommend taking zucchini wedges or other vegetables, marinating them with Italian dressing and Parmesan cheese and other flavoring as desired and throwing them on the grill.

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Gary Merrill Guest
  • Mad Dog Guest

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