Whether you’re a grill guru or a complete BBQ novice, there’s always ways to up your grilling game — and Fire Masters host Dylan Benoit can help you fan your culinary sparks into a flame. Read on for the best ways to get a perfect BBQ chicken, the tastiest grilled corn or a sumptuous sauce for your next cookout with these handy tips.
Seasoning and Searing
Seasoning meat is an essential part of successful grilling, and Dylan recommends a heavy dose of salt to ensure that flavours are well rounded. You can stick with plain salt and pepper, or spice up your life with a rub, either dry (containing only dried or powdered ingredients) or wet (adding a liquid component). These mixtures are based on spices, herbs and salt, as well as other ingredients, and are rubbed on the outside of the meat and allowed to sit for a period of time — anywhere from half an hour to overnight.
Dylan’s Pro Tip: the longer your meat sits in the rub, the better it tastes.
Searing involves cooking it over a high heat to give your meat or vegetables that golden, delicious crust— a great way to add texture and added flavour. When meat is cooked first at a lower temperature to the desired doneness, and then put into a smoking hot grill or pan to get a crust on the outside, this technique is known as reverse searing.
Dylan’s Pro Tip: Use reverse searing to cook thick pieces of meat. This technique is Dylan’s favourite way to achieve a perfect medium-rare.
Adding Bold Flavour
Rubs can be purchased or made to your own individual tastes — the only limit is your creativity. Here’s a look at three of Dylan’s best wet rubs to get you started.
Mediterranean Rub For Pork Chops
When it comes to the tenderest pork chops, turn to the dairy case to make sure your meat stays moist on the grill. Plain supermarket yogurt (use the full fat, Greek variety) can impart great flavour and texture, due to the lactic acid that helps break down the meat protein, while tenderizing at the same time.
Get the recipe: Dylan’s Mediterranean Rub
Dylan’s Pro Tip: Mixing the yogurt with aromatics such as dried herbs, lemon zest and honey will add great flavour, especially if you let the pork chops marinate overnight.
Butter Rub For BBQ Chicken
Based on a kitchen staple, a butter rub for the perfect BBQ chicken can be blended together in no time. Starting with softened butter, add whatever aromatics strike your fancy — Dylan likes a combination of sage, oregano, thyme, rosemary, lemon zest and dry mustard. Rub it all on the surface of the chicken and don’t forget to get under the skin — the butter that gets trapped there will help really season the meat.
Get the recipe: Dylan’s Butter Rubbed Grilled Chicken
Dylan’s Pro Tip: Chill the chicken prior to cooking to firm up the rub before grilling, and keep it on indirect heat to prevent flareups from the butter dripping onto the flames.
Jerk Paste Rub For Spicy Chicken Or Pork
For those grill masters who can stand a little heat, Dylan’s best jerk paste recipe (inspired by the time he spends in the Cayman Islands) makes an excellent rub for either chicken or pork. This paste is redolent with ginger, plenty of garlic, a hit of allspice and scotch bonnet or habanero pepper for heat and plenty of brown sugar for sweetness and balance. Fresh cilantro and parsley add herbal freshness to counter the spice. Blend all ingredients into a paste, rub it liberally into the meat and let it sit, preferably overnight.
Get the recipe: Dylan’s Jerk Spice Rub
Dylan’s Pro Tip: Cook your jerk chicken or pork low and slow indirectly over mesquite charcoal for the best smoky flavour.
Give it a Rest
When you’ve finished cooking, it may be tempting to dive right into that juicy steak, pork chop or chicken — but waiting for a few minutes will get you even better results. A critical part of cooking meat, resting involves setting the meat aside after pulling it off the grill to allow the juices to redistribute rather than pooling onto the plate when you make that first cut. Remember, that meat will keep cooking after it comes off the heat (a process called carry over), so if you want your steak to be medium-rare, Dylan recommends taking it off the heat just after rare and let the carry over do the rest.
Dylan’s Pro Tip: Let your meat rest for up to half the amount of time that it cooked, and tent it with tinfoil to retain heat.
Once you’re done planning the main event, don’t forget the sides. Dylan’s got you covered with a sweet and seasonal corn on the cob and a perky chimichurri sauce to keep things fresh.
Grilled Corn On The Cob
Grilling corn in its husks prevents the outside of the corn from burning, but also steams the inside, cooking it perfectly. Soak corn, husks and all, in warm water for half an hour (this technique will soften the husks and also keep the corn moist while grilling). Peel the softened husks back and be sure to remove all the silks from the top to avoid getting them in your teeth. Make a compound butter (check out Dylan’s pro tip below) and rub the butter liberally all over the kernels of the corn. Rewrap the corn with the husks and char it over medium-high heat on the grill until charred — the corn takes on the smokiness of the charred husks, enhancing the flavour.
Get the recipe: Dylan’s Grilled Corn On The Cob
Dylan’s Pro Tip: A compound butter can be as simple as a garlic and herb combination, or much more complex — Dylan likes using a combination of chili, lime and maple.
Whip up a batch of Dylan’s favourite condiment, made with a base of fresh herbs and garlic — bright with acidity and a bit of heat, chimichurri goes well with grilled meats and fish.
Although the traditional mixture is made mostly with parsley and a bit of cilantro, Dylan flips those ratios for a cilantro-forward and super simple sauce that just requires a few pulses of a blender.
Get the recipe: Dylan’s Bright Chimichurri Sauce
Dylan’s Pro Tips: Don’t get too carried away when blending — leaving it a little chunky adds more textural variation than a smooth paste. And be sure to budget time to allow the sauce to sit for 30 minutes to release the flavours.