Category Archives: BBQ

Charred Okra, Tomato and Steak Salad: The Perfect Late-Summer Recipe

Okra is an amazing vegetable, but when you boil or sauté it, the little green veggie gets slimy. Our workaround? We love tossing okra on the grill and giving it a good char! Here we’ve paired it with tomatoes and hanger steak, as well as a zippy hit of lime, for the perfect late-summer salad recipe. Bonus: the whole dish comes together in under 30 minutes. Plus, did we mention there’s steak?!

Charred Okra, Tomato and Hanger Steak Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

1 hanger steak, 300g
1 tsp canola oil, divided
¼ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp lime juice
250g okra
1 pint cherry tomatoes

Directions:

1. Preheat BBQ to medium-high (about 400°F). Pat steak dry, brush with ½ tsp of oil then season with salt and pepper.

2. Oil grill. Grill steaks until medium-rare, about 4 minutes per side (or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of steak register 120°F). Transfer to a plate and tent with foil. Set aside for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine fish sauce, soy sauce and lime juice in a medium bowl and set aside.

Related: Pork Banh Mi Burgers With Grilled Pineapple Will Be Your Go-To Summer Recipe

4. Then slice okra in half lengthwise and toss with remaining ½ tsp of oil in a large bowl. Immediately transfer to the grill cut-side down (if you take too much time getting it on the grill, the okra will become slimy). Grill until tender and charred, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from grill and transfer to bowl with fish sauce-mixture.

5. Add tomatoes to grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until soft and blistered, about 5 minutes. If you are concerned the tomatoes will fall through the grates, you can preheat a cast iron on the barbecue and cook tomatoes in pan. Remove and transfer to bowl with okra.

6. Cut steak, against the grain, into ½-inch thick slices. Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates. Arrange the okra and tomatoes around the steak. Spoon dressing on top.

Like this recipe? Try these crunchy salad ideas for when you’re running low on greens.

BBQ These 30-Minute Low-Carb Mint Lamb Burgers for Dinner Tonight

“This heavenly, satisfying burger is one of the many reasons I look forward to eating dinner at your house.” A true quote from my dear mother, who is also happy being my guinea pig whenever I’m testing meat recipes. These juicy, hot off the grill, zesty mint lamb burgers will have your mouth watering before they even hit your plate. Added bonus: they’re low-carb and can be made in 30 minutes!

Related: Satisfying Weeknight Recipes Where Veggies Replace Carbs

Zesty Mint Lettuce Lamb Burgers

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 burgers

Ingredients:

Burger
1 lb (454 g) ground lamb
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp (6 g) chopped mint leaves
1 shallot, minced
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch kosher salt and ground black pepper

For Serving
1 head butter lettuce
1 red pepper, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 cups (400 g) store-bought zucchini chips (optional)

Related: Our 80 Most Popular Burger Recipes

1. To make the burgers, fire up the grill or grill pan to medium heat. I used a grill pan for this recipe. While the grill pan is heating up, mix the ground lamb with garlic, mint, shallot, lime juice, salt and pepper. Form 4 equal-sized lamb patties.

2. Now comes the fun step: grill the lamb burgers for approximately 4 minutes per side, making sure to only turn them once. You can also enjoy listening to the lovely sizzle in the pan while these burgers are cooking.

3. When the burgers are ready, it’s building time. Layer the lamb burgers on the lettuce leaves with red peppers and onions. Serve with zucchini chips, if desired.

Want more summertime grilling recipes? These pork banh mi burgers and grilled stuffed zucchini boats are sure to impress.

Reprinted with permission from 30-Minute Low-Carb Dinners by Valerie Azinge, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020. Photo credit: Valerie Azinge, Yasaman Shafiei and Kabir Ali.

Pork Banh Mi Burgers With Grilled Pineapple Will Be Your Go-To Summer Recipe

The ingredients and flavours in a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich is an umami and sensory dream: a light and crispy mini baguette loaded with richly marinated meat, tangy and crunchy pickled veggies, fragrant and fresh cilantro, creamy mayo and pate. We’ve added our own twist of caramelized pineapple and a squishy bun to complement the patty, while honouring the original ingredients. Canada: this juicy burger is your summertime BBQ must-try.

Grilled Pork Banh Mi Burgers With Grilled Pineapple

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Rest Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Pickles
1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
¼ daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup warm water
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
½ cup distilled white vinegar or rice vinegar
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced and divided

Burger
3 slices bacon, roughly chopped
1 cup of cilantro leaves and tender stems
1/3 cup chopped shallots or onion
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 ½ Tbsp fish sauce
1 ½ Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed, pounded and minced
1 pound medium or lean ground pork

Other
4 thick pineapple ring slices
4 hamburger buns, halved horizontally
2 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
Cilantro
Mayonnaise (optional)

Directions:

1. In large bowl, toss together the carrots, daikon and salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Drain in colander and squeeze excess liquid.

Tip: To cut carrots and daikon into long, even matchsticks, a Japanese mandoline (benriner) is an affordable secret tool favoured by home cooks and professional chefs.

Related: Vietnamese Dishes to Make at Home, From Pho to Banh Mi

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the warm water and sugar until dissolved, then stir in the vinegar. Add reserved carrot mixture and half of the jalapeño; let pickle for 30 to 60 minutes and refrigerate.

Tip: You can store your pickled carrots and daikon in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

3. Meanwhile, you can make the burger patties. In a food processor, combine the bacon, cilantro leaves and tender stems, shallots, sugar, fish sauce, garlic, soy sauce, pepper and lemongrass. Pulse to combine. In a large bowl, add the pork and bacon mixture until combined.

Tip: To use lemongrass, trim the base and top. Remove the outer woody and dry layers and crush 4 inches from the bottom using the base of a chef’s knife to release the oils. Cut into 1-inch pieces and use in marinades and pastes.

4. Divide patty mixture into 4 equal portions and form each into 4 ½-inch rounds; place on squares of parchment paper and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

5. Preheat grill to medium-high; brush and oil grill. Press centre of each patty with thumb to make a shallow indent to help keep their shape during cooking. BBQ the patties with lid closed until browned and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Grill pineapple until slightly charred and caramelized, 1 to 2 minute per side.

6. To assemble, top bun with patty, pineapple, pickled vegetables, cucumbers and cilantro. Serve with mayo if desired.

Want more summertime grilling recipes? These stuffed zucchini boats and grilled salmon recipes will surely do the trick.

Grilled Stuffed Zucchini Boats With Roasted Cherry Tomatoes is the Vegan Summer Recipe You Need

Grilling isn’t just for carnivores. And this grilled stuffed zucchini boats with roasted cherry tomatoes recipe proves it. It’s not only healthy, it’s a visually gorgeous dish that has a hearty, yet summery vibe. The recipe incorporates vibrant red cherry tomatoes, dark green zucchini and mineral-packed lentils and rice. We promise — this is certainly the summertime vegan recipe you need right now.

Grilled Stuffed Zucchini Boats With Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 75 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Shallots
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
Pinch of sea salt and pepper

Tomatoes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp sea salt
A few cracks of pepper

Mixture
¼ cup green lentils
½ cup brown rice
1 ½ cups water
4 Tbsp parsley, divided and roughly chopped
2 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt and pepper

Zucchini
4 zucchinis
3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
A few cracks of pepper
¼ cup walnuts, chopped and toasted

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Thinly slice the shallots. Place a pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add oil and once it’s hot, toss in the shallots, salt and pepper. Let them cook for 7-8 minutes until they get browned and crispy, then transfer them to a towel or paper towel.

3. Place the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toss with oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes until blistered and bubbling.

Related: Grilled Za’atar Carrots with Halloumi & Mint

4. While the cherry tomatoes are roasting, place the lentils, rice, water and a pinch of salt in a pot, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Once cooked, toss the lentils and rice with 2 Tbsp of parsley, lemon juice, salt, pepper and ½ of the crispy shallots.

6. Turn your grill to medium heat or if you’re using a grill pan over the stove, wait until the zucchinis are prepped then turn to medium heat.

7. Slice the zucchinis in half lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds using a spoon to create a hollowed out well down the middle.

Related: 10 Veggie-Forward Grilled Skewers and Kebabs to Try This Summer

8. Rub the zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill hollowed side down for 5-7 minutes, then flip and grill for another 5-7 minutes.

9. Stuff the zucchini with the lentils and rice mixture, topped with the roasted cherry tomatoes, crispy shallots, chopped parsley and walnuts.

Want more summertime recipes? These vegan sloppy Joe sliders and strawberry chia frozen yogurt pops will surely be a hit.

Meet Your New Favourite Summer Side: Grilled Za’atar Carrots with Halloumi & Mint

Carrots may seem like an odd veggie to toss on the BBQ, especially compared to their common counterparts like zucchini, onion and eggplant – but, let us assure you that you will be changed after biting into a grilled carrot. Sweet, vaguely crunchy and smoky is the name of the game; you’ll be wondering why you haven’t been grilling these slender, flavourful veggies for years. Pairing them with salty halloumi, fresh mint and a quick hit of drizzled honey and za’atar will transport you straight to the Mediterranean.  

Grilled Za’atar Carrots with Halloumi & Mint

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb medium sized carrots, halved
½ package halloumi, cut into ½ inch slices
3 Tbsp avocado oil
1 heaping tsp za’atar spice
½ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
½ cup fresh mint leaves

Directions:

1. Slice carrots in half, and cut the halloumi into ½ thick pieces. Place them in a bowl with avocado oil, za’atar, sea salt and pepper.
2. Turn on the BBQ to medium-high and place the carrots on the grill (don’t put the halloumi on the grill just yet). Turn the carrots every few minutes so they develop the char lines and start to soften on the inside. They should take between 15-20 minutes to cook through. At the 10 minute mark, or when the carrots look like they only need 10 more minutes to cook, place the halloumi on the grill and cook for 3-5 minutes per side.

3. Take everything off the grill and place it on a serving dish, drizzle with additional extra-virgin olive oil and honey, then top with fresh mint leaves.

Keep your BBQ veg game going strong with these 3 grilled veggie “steak” recipes (read: broccoli, sweet potato and cabbage). Each one is paired with a memorable, flavour-rich marinade, too.

The 3 Best Grilled Veggie “Steaks” You’ll Ever Make (With Epic Marinades)

We’re in the heat of grilling season, with steaks and all their fine marinades sizzling on BBQs everywhere. But if you’re looking for a plant-based alternative (that’s not a veggie burger), hearty, meatier vegetables can take on the form of steak and be the star of the plate, too! Cabbage wedges with a maple balsamic drizzle, broccoli coated in dukkah and the tastiest garlic sweet potatoes are about to shake up your preconceived notions about grilling, one taste explosion at a time.

Grilled Cabbage Steaks with Maple Mustard Balsamic Drizzle

Mostly reserved for slaws and salads, cabbage is often a forgotten BBQ gem. Slicing it up into vegan “steaks” and placing it on the grill helps turn this bitter veggie into something sweet and smoky. The combo of maple, mustard and balsamic is a versatile sauce that transitions from wintry roasts to this summery drizzle, elevating the sweetness of the cabbage and adding a hit of acidity. Top with fresh basil leaves so every bite encompasses something crunchy and sweet; even better if the basil is picked from your own herb supply.

Ingredients:

Cabbage Steaks
1 small head of purple cabbage
1 Tbsp avocado oil
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp granulated garlic
Pinch of pepper
5-10 fresh basil leaves

Drizzle
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp whole-grain mustard or Dijon
Pinch of sea salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Cut the cabbage into wedges by slicing it in half lengthwise, and then slice those pieces in half, so you’re left with 4 wedges. Keep the core intact.
2. Place the cabbage in a large bowl or tray and season with avocado oil, sea salt, granulated garlic and pepper.
3. Fire up your grill to medium-high, place the wedges on and flip every 5-7 minutes so each side comes into contact with the grill and becomes slightly charred and softened.
4. Cook for a total of 15-20 minutes, and if the cabbage begins charring too much, move it off the flame and into an area of indirect heat.
5. While the cabbage is grilling, whisk together your drizzle in a small bowl.
6. Take the cabbage off the grill when tender, crispy and browned, allowing it to cool for 5 minutes, then drizzle the maple-mustard balsamic on top.
7. Tear up a few fresh basil leaves, and scatter over the dish for vibrancy and freshness.

Grilled Broccoli Steaks with Dukkah

In the last few years, people have obsessively grilled cauliflower “steaks”, but broccoli is overlooked as an equally grill-worthy veg. Like all veggies that are BBQ’d, broccoli softens, sweetens and becomes deliciously smoky. This Middle Eastern inspired dish places the broccoli on a delicious puddle of tahini sauce, before being topped with one of our favourite Egyptian spices: dukkah. The aromatic blend is a collection of toasted and crushed nuts, seeds and spices that provide texture, bite and important seasoning.

Ingredients:

Broccoli Steaks
1 broccoli bunch
1 Tbsp avocado oil
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp granulated garlic
Pinch of pepper
2-3 Tbsp dukkah spice (store-bought or homemade)

Tahini Lemon Sauce
¼ cup tahini
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp water
Pinch sea salt

Directions:
1. Slice the broccoli into large florets or steaks (so they don’t fall between the cracks of the grill), peel the stalk and slice them in half.
2. Place the broccoli in a bowl and season with avocado oil, sea salt, granulated garlic and pepper.
3. Turn the BBQ on medium-heat, place the broccoli florets and stalks on the grill. Every few minutes, flip the broccoli so each piece is cooked through and lightly charred (tongs work best). If broccoli is getting too browned, transfer the florets to an area of indirect heat.
4. While the broccoli is cooking, quickly prepare the tahini sauce. Once combined, pour it onto a plate and spread it out with the back of a spoon.
5. Place the grilled broccoli on the sauce, then sprinkle dukkah on top of the broccoli.

Grilled Sweet Potato Steaks with Cilantro Garlic Drizzle

How do you turn a root veggie into a summery dish? Grill it and smother it in fresh cilantro! This is a simple weekend BBQ recipe, since sweet potato wedges are always a crowd-pleaser. What makes it stand out from your typical roasted or deep fried wedge-variety is the smoky char marks that you simply can’t achieve from any other cooking method. BBQing veggies really does add so much flavour without doing much by way of seasoning. The cilantro-garlic drizzle that embellishes the dish is sort of like a gremolata, an Italian herb condiment, that just adds so much freshness from lemon, lemon zest and herbs. If cilantro is really not your jam, simply swap it for an herb you prefer like mint, basil or parsley.

Ingredients:

Sweet Potato Steaks
3 sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp avocado oil
½ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper

Drizzle
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest
Pinch sea salt

Directions:

1. Slice the sweet potatoes into wedges – do this by cutting them in half lengthwise, and then slice the halves on a bias.
2. Mix the sweet potatoes with avocado oil, sea salt and pepper.
3. Place the sweet potatoes on a grill that’s on medium-high heat, allowing the wedges to cook about 5-7 minutes per side, then flip and cook for another 5-7 minutes. You should begin see grill marks, and the wedges should be soft on the inside.
4. As they’re cooking, whisk together the cilantro-garlic drizzle.
5. Place the wedges on a large plate and dollop the drizzle over top.

Don’t let your grill game stop there. Here are 20 vegan bbq recipes that pack a flavour punch, and 3 vibrant vegetarian dinners that make lemon the star.

A Hawaiian Plate Lunch That Goes Beyond Standard BBQ Fare​

A Hawaiian plate lunch is regularly based around a rich protein, mayo-based salad, rice and pickled and/or fresh vegetables. It’s the surrounding countries that have influenced the classic plate lunch for something that is both familiar and truly unique to residents and visitors, echoing Hawaii’s diverse population.

The variations of the key components are as widespread as they are delicious. In this version, the meal is made with a mayo-based macaroni salad, shoyu chicken, pickled cabbage (or coleslaw) and sticky rice. But don’t be tied to what you see here. Try the plate lunch concept with pulled pork, teriyaki beef, fried spam, beef curry, or soft-set eggs. You can even add more than one protein on a plate if that’s what appeals to you. Mayo-based potato salad can replace macaroni salad, and short-grain brown rice or black rice can replace white rice. Kimchi can stand in for coleslaw or pickled vegetables, and so on. Make the Hawaiian lunch your own, and have guests customize their plate at your next BBQ – or luau! 

Hawaiian Plate Lunch with Shoyu Chicken and Macaroni Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

Shoyu Chicken
1 cup water
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp honey
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, sliced
1 red Thai chili, sliced
1 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tsp cornstarch  

Macaroni Salad
8 oz elbow macaroni
Salt
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp pickle juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 dill or sweet pickles, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 Tbsp finely diced sweet onion
½ tsp granulated sugar
Ground black pepper, to taste

For Serving
Vinaigrette coleslaw, pickled cabbage or pickled vegetables (kimchi, pickled daikon, etc.)
Cooked sticky rice, warm
Fresh herbs or microgreens

Directions:

Shoyu Chicken
1. In a large high-sided skillet, combine water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, honey, garlic, ginger and chili. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add chicken in a single layer, submerging in the sauce. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is tender. 

2. Transfer chicken only to a foil-lined baking sheet and position oven rack in the top third. Preheat broiler to medium-high. For the sauce, remove large chunks of ginger and garlic. Transfer a spoonful or two of sauce to a small bowl and whisk in cornstarch. Bring sauce to a boil, then, whisking constantly, add the cornstarch mixture and boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute to thicken. Keep warm.

3. Broil the chicken for 5 to 8 minutes, keeping an eye on it if your broiler runs hot, until burnished on the outside. Transfer chicken back into the thickened sauce and keep warm until ready to serve.

Macaroni Salad
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt well. Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Allow to drain very well.

2. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, add cooked and drained macaroni, and mix to combine. Season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Assembly
To build your plate, add a mound of sticky rice, scoop of macaroni salad, portion of coleslaw or pickled vegetables and chicken thighs. Garnish with herbs or microgreens, and dig in!

For more Hawaiian dish inspiration, check out these 10 tasty places to eat poke in Canada, or whip up Lynn Crawford’s Hawaiian fish tacos and Ree Drummond’s grilled pineapple burger – both summer staples, as far as we’re concerned!

Grilled Chili Corn with Coconut Lime Cream

Eating grilled corn straight off the BBQ in the summer sun is one of life’s greatest (and tastiest!) pleasures, but how about dressing things up a little with a coconut-lime cream sauce, some chili butter and fresh cilantro. To celebrate National Corn on the Cob Day (June 11), we suggest you take your cobs up a notch with this simple and delicious recipe.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Makes: 6 servings

Grilled Chili Corn with Coconut Lime Cream

Ingredients:

Coconut Lime Cream:
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp minced shallot
¼ tsp cumin
1 cup canned full fat coconut milk
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp pickled jalapeno brine (for extra spice add 1 Tbsp finely minced fresh or pickled jalapeno)
2 tsp arrowroot flour
2 tsp water
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Corn:
6 cobs of corn, husks and silks removed
4 Tbsp vegan butter (melted)
½ tsp chili powder
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
1. In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, sauté garlic, shallot and cumin in coconut oil for 2 minutes stirring constantly. If using minced fresh or pickled jalapenos, add in with these ingredients.
2. Add coconut milk, lime juice, sea salt and pickled jalapeno brine, and bring up heat to medium to simmer the mixture. Whisk frequently.
3. Once at a simmer, mix arrowroot flour with water in a small bowl and add to the coconut sauce. Whisk constantly for 8 minutes until thickened, and then remove from heat.
4. When you’re ready to grill corn, melt vegan butter and stir in chili powder.
5. Brush the corn with this chili butter once it hits the grill. Baste one or two more times while you grill them on the barbecue for approximately 25 minutes.
6. Serve each corn on the cob with a generous drizzle of coconut lime cream and fresh chopped cilantro on top.

Note: You can prepare the coconut lime cream sauce in advance and refrigerate until you serve the corn. It will thicken even more.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

Nutritionists Reveal 10 Surprising Ways to Reduce Carcinogens When You Grill

Grilling on the BBQ is a summertime must. Who doesn’t love a juicy kebab or burger that’s fresh off the grill, with sangria in hand, enjoying the company of friends and family, outside in the warm sun? While grilling adds incredible flavour and is an easy cooking method, studies have shown that it may increase the risk of cancer. Here’s how: when meat that’s rich in muscle (think: burgers and steaks) is grilled or pan-fried above 300°F or is hit by an open flame, it forms heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These chemicals may mutate DNA, leading to possible cancer risk. While getting that great char on your burger may add flavour, it also adds possible carcinogens into your meal, which definitely puts a damper on summertime grilling; but, fear not, because we have 10 must-know tips for grilling safely this BBQ season!

1. Marinade, Marinade, Marinade

Several studies have found that marinating meat before grilling greatly decreases its carcinogenicity. For example, marinating chicken in a combination of cider vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt and even red wine significantly reduced the HCAs in grilled chicken. Marinating pork in beer resulted in the same significant reduction in HCAs. So, marinate your meat before grilling, but minimize the sugars and oils, which can actually increase HCAs and PAHs. If you’re marinade is laden with sugars and oils, reserve it for the end of the grilling period.


Marinating 101: How to Flavour Your Meat, Fish and Vegetables

2. Rosemary is Your Friend

That aromatic, woodsy spice may be your new best friend when it comes to grilling. Studies have found that the compounds in rosemary, known as rosmarinic acid, carnosol and carnosic acid, can block HCAs from forming during grilling. You can use rosemary dried or fresh in marinades, or simply rub the extract on the surface of your meat before grilling to reap the benefits. Other studies found that combining antioxidant-rich herbs (like oregano, thyme, basil, mint and parsley) together in marinades were also effective at reducing HCAs.

3. Pass the Pepper, Please

You may want to add more than a pinch of pepper when it comes to grilling your favourite meat this summer. A study found that mixing 1 gram of pepper with 100 grams of ground beef worked well at inhibiting HCAs, but it was unpalatable, so researchers encourage cooks to load up on pepper and other flavourful herbs to reduce HCAs and give it a pleasing taste. Meats only need to be seasoned a few hours before grilling (seasoning for too long can have the opposite effect, as the antioxidants can decompose).


Get the recipe for Bobby Flay’s Grilled Salmon Steak with Hoisin BBQ Sauce

4. Smother in Garlic and Onion

Studies have indicated that adding garlic and onion to meat before grilling showed a strong reduction in HCAs. It’s best when you combine garlic and onion together, as they can target different HCAs and reduce them. Another study found that adding freshly cut onion to a beef patty that’s fried at 445°F for 8 minutes per side greatly inhibited HCAs. The point is, no matter the form (fresh, powdered, granulated) just make sure you add this allium duo to your meats prior to grilling.

5. Clean Your Grill

Before using your BBQ, make sure all of the grates are clean, and if they’re not, get in there with a brush and scrub! When there’s leftover burnt bits on the grates, it’s likely to drip down when the heat turns up, igniting a big flame. When meats are in direct contact with fire, that’s when PAHs form on their surface. A really easy way to reduce PAHs is to thoroughly clean your grill before and after use.


The Correct (And Simple) Way to Clean Your BBQ: A Step-by-Step Guide

6. Go Lean

HCAs and PAHs are most likely to form at incredibly high temperatures, and over longer cooking periods. Choosing leaner cuts, like flank steak, can help reduce the carcinogens because the cook time is quicker, so it’s not exposed to direct heat for that long. If you are using a fattier cut, don’t cook to the point where it’s completely charred or very, very well done. Instead, take it off the BBQ before it gets to that point. You can also slice your meat into smaller pieces so it cooks faster. Stay away from grilling processed meats like sausages and hot dogs that have nitrates, which are precursors to carcinogenic compounds.

7. Go for the Veg (or Fish)

When veggies and fruits are grilled over a flame, HCAs don’t form, mainly because produce doesn’t have the same muscle and protein content that meat does. For this reason, switch up some grilling habits and add lots of colourful veggies to your BBQ menu. You can also take a break from red meat, instead opting for fish and seafood, which cooks much quicker and doesn’t require being on the grill for too long, reducing overall HCA and PAH levels.


Get the recipe for Candied Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprout Skewers with Red Onion (Plus 4 More Tasty Plant-Based Skewers)

8. Flip It Real Good

Studies have found that continuously flipping your meat on the grill can minimize the formation of carcinogens. As you flip, the surface of the meat is moving around, so it won’t get as charred or burned, which helps to reduce both HCAs and PAHs.

9. Layer with Foil

Since many carcinogens are formed when fat drips down and flames flare up, you can always line your grill with foil and puncture little holes for the drippings to glide down. This helps to prevent your meat from being in direct contact with an open flame.


Get the recipe for Foil-Pack Grilled Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken Wings

10. Master the Gas

Gas grills are the safest when it comes to summer grilling. You can easily control the temperature and place meat away from the direct flame. Your meat can still cook in the heat of the enclosed BBQ, but it doesn’t necessarily need to come into contact with flames. If there are fiery flare ups, you can keep a spray bottle of water close by to help minimize. You can also pre-cook meats in the oven to limit the time they have on the grill.

Craving more tasty and nourishing grilling ideas? We’ve rounded up 18 Healthy Burger Recipes to Eat All Summer Long and 20 Vegan BBQ Recipes That Pack a Flavour Punch.

5 Fresh Portuguese Dishes to Shake up Your Summer BBQ

Spain is known for its delicious food and wine, but neighbouring Portugal rarely gets the praise they deserve for their equally tasty cuisine. Summertime is the perfect time to celebrate Portugal’s love for fresh ingredients, flavours and passion for grilling. Piri piri chicken is perhaps the most well-known barbecue recipe and rightly so, it’s very tasty. We have a great recipe for it below, but we’re really excited to introduce you to a few the lesser known classics. This summer, bring the flavours of Portugal to your table with these simple, fresh and delicious recipes.

chorizo-portuguese-chicken-bbq

How to Make Piri Piri Chicken

Piri piri chicken, the classic centrepiece of the Portuguese barbecue doesn’t need much of an introduction. It’s barbecued chicken seasoned with a spicy blend of fresh herbs, chillies and spices. Here’s how to make it: In a food processor place 8 red chillies, 6 garlic cloves, a small knob of peeled ginger, 1 Tbsp of dry oregano, 1 Tbsp. of paprika, 1/3 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup red wine vinegar. Pulse until a smooth paste form and rub all over the chicken. You can spatchcock your bird or cut it into parts. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight. Heat the grill to medium-high and cook until chicken is cooked through. Time will depend on the size of your bird. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.

grilled-tomatoes-with-garlic

How to Make Grilled Garlic Tomatoes

Grilled garlicky tomatoes make an easy side dish. They are bold enough to stand up on their own or great stacked on grilled bread. Eat them with your chicken and let them or let ooze all over. Here’s how to do it: Mince 2 cloves of garlic and stir into 1/4 cup of olive oil. Toss about 3 cups cherry tomatoes in oil. Place tomatoes on a medium-high heated grill for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from grill and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

How to Make BBQ Grilled Bread

Having grilled bread to slather up all the delicious sauces and juices from your barbecue feast is necessary. We top it with a delicious aioli inspired by the classic flavours in Portugal. To make grilled bread with garlic aioli: Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley and 1 tsp smoked paprika. Brush slices of sourdough bread with olive oil. Grill until charred then slather with mayonnaise mixture! Serve alongside your main or eat on it own.

grilled sardines

How to Make Grilled Sardines

With the Atlantic ocean hugging Portugal top to bottom, it’s no surprise that they’re regarded for their fresh seafood. Simple and delicious, grilled sardines are a Portuguese staple. To make them: Rub cleaned sardines with olive oil and salt. Cook over a medium-high heated grill until charred and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from grill. Garnish with thinly sliced red onions and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

grilled-bbq-chorizo-and-peppers

How to Grill Chorizo Sausage with Peppers

Chorizo sausage is among the most prevalent in Portugal. It’s usually found in a traditional soup called clad verde. Here we grill it with a rainbow of peppers for the summertime. Here’s how: Slice 2 cups worth of assorted bell peppers. Cook 5 chorizo sausage over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Toss peppers in olive oil, salt and minced garlic. Place on grill until fragrant and tender, about 2 minutes. Place grilled chorizo on a plate and garnish with grilled peppers.

Looking for more great grilled dishes? Try Bobby Flay’s Best BBQ Recipes.

honey-lime-chicken

Make This Super-Juicy BBQ Chicken Before Summer Turns to Fall

Chicken on the barbecue is hands down one of the easiest and tastiest meals grilling season brings. But as summer nears its end, it can be hard to make this staple shine with fresh, new flavours. Luckily, this recipe gives a bright and refreshing twist to the standard chicken dinner. Finish off your chicken on the grill with a honey-lime glaze and then get even more into the groove of summer by serving it with one of these seasonal, fruity and fresh salsas.

honey-lime-grilled-chicken

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: about 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
4 chicken breast or 6 chicken thighs (skin on or off, boneless or bone-in)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1/2 cup honey
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Fresh lime and cilantro for garnish

Directions:
1. Preheat grill to medium high.
2. Season chicken with salt, pepper and olive oil
3. In a small bowl mix honey, lime zest, lime juice and soy sauce.
4. Place chicken on the grill, skin side down if using skin-on pieces.
5. Once chicken is golden, flip and continue to grill on the other side until chicken is almost cooked through, about 10-15 minutes depending on cut and whether bone is in.
6. Brush grilled side with honey-lime mixture. Close cover. Continue to brush every 2 minutes until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 160°
7. Serve chicken with lime wedges, cilantro and fresh fruit salsa.

chicken-lime-grilled--salsa-1

Pineapple, Orange and Cumin salsa
Heat 1 tablespoon of cumin in a dry pan set over medium-high heat. Once fragrant and toasted, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 cup of thinly sliced red onion. When onions are soft, add 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade and stir. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add 2 cups of chopped fresh pineapple. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper. Makes about 2 cups.

Mango Salsa
Combine 1 diced mango with 1/2 cup each of diced red pepper and cucumber. Add in 2 finely sliced scallions, the juice and zest of 1 lime and then season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Makes about 2 cups.

salsa-2

Peach and Avocado Salsa
Dice 2 peaches, 1 avocado and 1 small tomato. Mix together with fresh lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of fresh basil. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Looking for more ideas? Try our 12 Tantalizing Grilled Chicken Thigh Recipes.

How to Grill Any Cut Of Steak Perfectly

As soon as the nice weather begins, Canadians ditch cooking in the kitchen and fire up the barbecue. The aromas and flavours of meat and veggies fresh from the open fire are intoxicating. And, when it comes to steak, nothing beats a perfectly cooked, well-seasoned, juicy cut. But this is easier said than done. It can be difficult to know what to buy at the butcher, how different cuts of steak vary and the best way to cook them.

With the stakes so high (pardon the pun, but these cuts can be expensive!), we’re giving you the ultimate guide to choosing and grilling steak this summer and beyond.

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BBQ Steak Basics

1. Let steak come to room temperature before grilling: About 30 minutes before grilling, take it out of the fridge. This will allow the meat to cook evenly.

2. Get the grill super-hot: You want to get good sear on your steak for the perfect finished crust. Heat your grill to at least 450ºF before cooking.

3. Season with a bit of oil and lots of salt: Brush steaks with a thin layer of high-temperature oil, like grape seed or refined avocado. Then, don’t just sprinkle salt on your steak, season with reckless abandon. A thick slab of meat needs more salt than you think. Use kosher or coarse salt on both sides and apply until you can see it on the surface of the meat.

4. Use a thermometer: Unless you’re a veteran grill master with tons of experience cooking steak, it’s difficult to tell how well cooked the meat is just by touching it. Quit guessing and take the internal temperature with an instant-read of meat thermometer. To avoid burning the exterior if a steak is very thick, remove it from direct heat and finish cooking on indirect heat until it has reached your desired internal temperature.

5. Rest the steak: Let your steak rest for at least 10 minutes on a warm plate before slicing. The meat needs time to recirculate its juices, and that can only be achieved through patience. Once you’ve come this far in cooking the perfect steak, it would be a shame to ruin it! Your steak will not get cold (this is where a warm plate comes in handy). When your time is up, slice against the grain for more tender slices.

Steak Doneness Temperatures

  • Rare: 120ºF to 130ºF
  • Medium Rare: 130ºF to 140ºF
  • Medium: 140ºF to 150ºF
  • Medium Well: 150ºF to 155ºF
  • Well Done: 160ºF +

With the basics mastered, it’s time to discuss some of the common cuts and how they differ.

The Best Cuts of Steak for Grilling

Ribeye (Rib-eye, Rib Eye) Steak: Sometimes called entrecote, it can be purchased with the bone intact or boneless. It’s a tender steak with plenty of delicious fat marbling. This cut has a big, beefy flavour and is supremely juicy. For this reason, ribeye is usually on the pricier side, making it perfect for special occasions.

Flank Steak and Skirt Steak: Both very affordable (though the popularity of flank steak has made it rise in price recently) and tasty steaks, but they require a bit more work than other cuts. Flank steak can be tough and chewy, however, marinating overnight and cooking only to medium-rare can help keep it tender. After marinating, grilling and resting, flank steak must be thinly sliced across the grain to remain tender. Skirt steak should be prepared the same way as flank steak: marinated, grilled to medium-rare, rested and sliced against the grain. Flank and skirt steaks are great for weeknights and entertaining large groups.

New York Strip Steak: This cut is also known as the strip steak, top sirloin, top loin and contre-filet. The meat has a finely-grained texture and rich, beefy flavour. Its medium fat content, decent marbling and tender texture (less so than ribeye, but this cut is also less expensive) make it an ideal steak for barbecuing.

Porterhouse Steak: This steak is also known as the T-bone, a bone-in steak that has two of the most prized cuts of beef in one tidy package. On one side, the tenderloin, and on the other, the ribeye. The tenderloin portion will generally cook a bit faster than the ribeye portion, but the bone helps to keep the meat juicy. The porterhouse is the perfect steak for high-heat barbecues and entertaining to impress.

Now that you’ve nailed barbecued steak 101, it’s time to fire up the grill and dive into a recipe. Grill guru Bobby Flay takes it from here with this summery Grilled Steak and Papaya Salad .

bbq corn on the cob

5 Insanely Tasty Ways to Top Corn on the Cob

When the heat of summer hits and its bounty finally brings sweet corn, there’s no better way to celebrate than by throwing some ears on the grill.

Eating corn right off the cob is so satisfying and the smokiness from the grill only adds to the depth of flavour to these sweet ears. Most people dress their corn the classic way, slathering on butter and salt before gnawing away. But grilled corn on the cob is basically a blank canvas, perfect for adding flavours and toppings.

This summer, skip the butter and get creative with one of these five ways to top your cobs.

bbq corn on the cob

Middle Eastern
Spread with a little butter then add Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend. Top with feta cheese and a squeeze of lemon.

Maple Mustard
Mix equal parts grainy mustard and maple syrup to make corn on the cob that begs to be served with ribs.

Everything Bagel
If you are reminiscing about breakfast, test out this recipe that mimics the best bagel flavour out there. Give your corn a good smear of either butter or cream cheese and sprinkle with equal parts dehydrated onions, poppy seeds and sesame seeds.

bbq corn on the cob

Korean Spice
Add a bit of Korean flare to your corn on the cob by drizzling mayonnaise and gochujang, a sweet-and-savoury Korean condiment, over the corn. Sprinkle with sliced green onion and toasted sesame seeds.

Cacio y Pepe
Italians know that the best way to top their pasta is simply with butter, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Adopt the Italian mentality, but apply it to corn. Slather your cob with butter, then sprinkle liberally with finely grated Parmesan cheese. Finally, season with fresh ground pepper and a pinch of salt.

Can’t get enough summer corn? Try these 40 Fresh Corn Recipes.

perfect bbq chicken tips

8 Tips for Making the Best Barbecued Chicken Ever

Chicken is one of this most popular items to grill during barbecue season. When done right, it’s juicy and flavourful, but when done wrong, well… You know. Don’t let obvious mistakes come between you and a delicious chicken dinner. Follow the tips below and get perfectly barbecued chicken every time.

Lemon and Herb Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs

Get the recipe for Lemon and Herb Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs
Food Network Canada

1. Not All Cuts Are Created Equal
Different parts of the chicken cook at different times, making it harder to cook different pieces at once. A good tip to keep in mind is that bone-in chicken cooks slower than boneless, and thicker cuts take longer than thin. Whole birds, like summertime favourite, beer can chicken, take the longest. Know your cuts so you can ensure you time it right, and avoid hangry barbecue guests.

2. Don’t Cook Cold Chicken
While it’s important to keep chicken in the fridge for marinating, don’t take it straight from the cold and slap it on the grill. Allow chicken to come to room temperature before you start cooking. This will allow for even cooking throughout.

3. Start with a Good Sear
Searing meat gives beautiful grill marks and adds that mouthwatering barbecue char to chicken. The key to a good sear is dry meat and a hot grill. First, pat the chicken skin with paper towel to take out as much moisture as possible. A super-hot grill allows the chicken to get a good sear and is less likely to stick. If you have thicker cuts, like a bone-in chicken breast, sear on both sides then move to indirect heat until cooked through. Clean and oil the grates before cooking is key to prevent meat sticking and tearing. Chicken is quite delicate. It would be a shame if you lost the beautiful skin to the grill, or tore your meat.

4. Closed for Business
Resist the urge to open the lid over and over to check on your chicken. The barbecue retains heat when the lid is closed and helps cook chicken evenly. The more you open, the more heat will escape.

5. Marinate or Season Ahead
Chicken is like a sponge that absorbs whatever flavours you throw at it. Properly season with salt when the chicken is raw and give it time to absorb the seasoning. Experiment with different marinades and brines. Chicken can be marinated for as little as 30 minutes and up to overnight.

6. Get Saucy at the End
Many barbeque sauces have a high sugar content, especially those sweet, sticky ones. If they’re applied to the chicken too early, they’ll burn on the grill. If you’re looking for the sauce to caramelize onto the chicken, apply 10 minutes before cooking is complete. Add more liberally once it has been taken off the grill.

7. Use a Thermometre
It’s difficult to tell when chicken is cooked by looking or touching it. Use a meat thermometre to avoid the guessing game and get the most accurate results. Chicken should reach a temperature of 160°F when taken off the grill and will continue to rise to 165°F off the grill.

8. Let it Rest
If you cut it right away, you’ll lose all those lovely juices and flavours you’ve locked in! Allow grilled chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes after it has been cooked so that the juices can redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in perfectly juicy chicken breast every time.

Long Weekend Dinner Party Menu

Make the most of summer with this long weekend menu that’s a snap to put together when entertaining for a crowd. From grilled steak served on platters to Mexican corn with a built-in husk handle to party-starting tea cocktails, this backyard dinner party menu sets the mood for a stellar warm weather gathering.

grilled corn

The Appetizers

Mexican Grilled Corn with Cotija Cheese and Lime
Nothing quite marks barbecue season like grilled corn on the cob. This version features fresh and salty cotija cheese and a splash of lime. Warning: this appetizer is highly addictive, so plan to make a lot of it.

Ina Garten’s Watermelon and Feta Salad
Kick off the long weekend with a fruity spin on a classic summer menu opener. Ina’s sweet and cool watermelon salad with salty feta cheese and peppery arugula ticks all the right flavour boxes.

The Cocktails

Charred Pomelo Twist
Grill grapefruit until it’s slightly charred and muddle the juice together with cilantro in a cocktail shaker. Add ready-made lemon tea, plenty of ice and shake until well chilled. Garnish with a smoked salt rim and cilantro leaves and don’t share.

Peach Tea-lini
Peach season is short. Make the most of it by indulging in these fresh and easy tea cocktails. The best part? They can be made ahead of time and garnished with wedges of peach just before serving.

grilled flank steak

The Mains 

Grilled Flank Steak with Cilantro Chimichurri
A casually elegant way to stretch steak for a crowd, this grilled flank steak is thinly sliced on the same cutting board it’s served on and paired with a flavour-packed fresh cilantro chimichurri dipper to keep things interesting.

Jamie Oliver Chicken Skewers and Spicy Noodle Salad
We can’t get enough of Jamie’s crowd-friendly, fork-free chicken skewers with a crunchy peanut satay sauce, but it’s this fiery noodle salad that really kicks up the heat.

Lemon-Berry-Meringue-Cakes-with-Bumbleberry-Sauce

The Dessert

Anna Olson’s Lemon Berry Cake with Bumbleberry Sauce
There will be no post barbecue dessert slicing flubs when you serve these gorgeously bright, fruity mini meringue cakes with a sweet and citrusy bumbleberry sauce.

Bobby Flay’s Long Weekend BBQ Menu

Bobby Flay, host of Barbecue Addiction and Food Network Star, is all about firing up the grill during the summer months. The boyishly charming chef conquers the barbecue like no other, with an easy approach to making classic dishes and use of flavour-packed ingredients. This long weekend, create a Bobby Flay-approved feast to remember with this spread of sweet and savoury dishes from the grill master himself.

bobby-flay-bbq-menu-sweet-potato-wedges

Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges with Dipping Sauce
Bobby Flay’s mustard, honey and mint dipping sauce is the perfect accompaniment to these hot-off-the-grill sweet potato wedges.

bobby-flay-fish-taco-recipe

Fish Tacos
Flaky white fish marinated in lime juice, ancho, jalapeño and cilantro, is grilled, then served on warm tortillas topped with garnishes of your choice and a homemade tomato salsa.

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Grilled Rib-Eye Steak with Brown Butter and Blue Cheese
Not a fish person? These thick and juicy steaks make a tasty alternative for a summer main.

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Grilled Broccoli Rabe with Grilled Pepper Relish
Serve your tacos and steak with a healthy dose of grilled greens and colourful bell peppers dressed in a red wine vinaigrette.

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Grapefruit Granita-sicle
Finish the meal with a light Italian dessert that will cleanse the palate and quench your thirst on a hot summer’s day.

Watch an all-new episode of Bobby Flay’s BBQ Addiction Saturday, July 2nd at 11 am E/P.

Mark McEwan’s Perfect Techniques for Grilling Vegetables

When it comes to healthy and appetizing barbecues, no one brings the heat quite like celebrity chef and Chopped Canada judge Mark McEwan. Known for cooking with fresh vegetables and plant-based foods, we asked the star for his techniques on grilling veggies the right way.

Asparagus is a popular vegetable around the barbecue. Sure, you could steam or roast it, but nothing beats the flavour of asparagus that’s simply grilled.

“Trim the ends off and marinate it with olive oil and salt and pepper,” says Mark. “Lay it at a 90-degree angle on the grill at a low heat. Then, put a warm vinaigrette on the top.”

One must-have item around the grill is tin foil. “I’ll take my beets out of the garden, scrub them, quarter them and place them down on two sheets of foil paper. I like putting on olive oil, thyme, smashed garlic cloves, and salt and pepper. I seal it with another sheet of foil on top and fold the edges in like a Christmas package,” says Mark. It’s best to leave the foiled beets on  the top rack of the grill for about an hour.

If beets don’t whet your appetite, Mark says you can use this easy technique on carrots, sweet onions or peppers. If you prefer your peppers with some grill marks, Mark has the perfect method  for you.

“I take a whole pepper and rub it with a tiny bit of olive oil. I’ll put it over the hottest part on the barbecue, make it completely black and then I’ll peel the skin off. Once I pull the core off and take the seeds off, I can marinate the peppers which is fabulous,” he says.

Mark’s simple marinade includes water, vinegar, chilies, fresh herbs and a small amount of olive oil. Try any one of our 10 Great Marinades for Grilling Season.

Completely charring a pepper makes removing the skin a lot easier. “It actually cooks the pepper to another dimension where it has a different taste. It you use a marinade, you can leave it in the fridge for a week!”

Looking for more grilling tips? Check out: 12 BBQ Hacks to Make You a Grilling Superstar.

The Best Barbecuing Tips from our Stars

From proper saucing to perfectly grilled veggies, celebrity chefs and Chopped Canada judges share their best barbecue tips so you can throw a fantastic feast in your own backyard.

Roger Mooking on How to Beat the  Heat
“Make sure you understand your heat source well. All fires are not created equal and the environment can be a very dynamic variable when cooking outdoors; wind, humidity, types of wood or charcoal.”


Try our Top 100 Grilling Recipes

Michael Smith on When to Get Saucy
“Always add BBQ sauces last. They’re loaded with sugar that burns if you add too early.”


Eden Grinsphan on Keeping it Clean
“Always clean and oil your grill. The grill should be on the hotter side so your protein doesn’t stick to it. And my party tip would be to always have a cocktail station!”


Try one of these 30 Cocktails to Keep You Cool This Summer

Massimo Capra on Enjoying the Simple Things
“Parties should be kept very simple. Stick with chicken or sausages. I wouldn’t dare make a 16-hour smoked brisket because that takes time. Simplicity is always key!”

Antonio Park on  Rocking Those Veggies
“Think about the vegetables. Everybody thinks about fish, seafood, sausages when they talk about barbecues. Don’t even think about that. Barbecued veggies are amazing! All you have to do is drizzle a bit of oil with salt and pepper and it’s even better if there’s charcoal! You get that smokey flavour that’s so nice.”


Try one of these 20 Vegetable Side Dishes

How to Make the Perfect Caesar Every Time

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For Canadians, caesars are like hockey games, Tim Hortons, or even, dare I say, denim-on-denim. It defines us, unites us, and just makes us who we are. It’s the signature drink on most patios, a staple on every menu and the one bevvie we always seem to be in the mood for.

They can however, be a tad difficult to make. Opt for tomato juice instead of Clamato, or too much Worcestershire and not enough hot sauce, and it’s all too easy for your caesar to become an undrinkable disaster.

I’m speaking from experience here.

And so, since it’s pretty much our obligation as citizens of this home and native land to master the art of creating the perfect caesar, I’ve put together a little how-to guide to help you (read: me) get it right every time.

So, what do you do? Start by mixing the ingredients. But before you start pouring, please note that the order of ingredients does matter.

Start with a rimmed glass, fill it with ice, add the Worcestershire, followed by Clamato juice, hot sauce, vodka, and then season with salt and pepper. An easy way to remember the order of ingredients is to start with the cheaper ones and work your way up.

When it comes to the garnish, here’s your time to be creative. Go the conventional route with a long piece of celery, or grab a skewer and make a combo with pickles and olives. But if you’re really looking to earn some extra hostess points, add a piece of bacon, or better yet, a juicy slider burger. Because you know, why not?

No matter what garnish you decide to use, I love finishing off the cocktail with a fun straw, like this red and white stripe version from Party City ($5).

And there you have it: an easy, fail-proof recipe for Canada’s number one cocktail.

Susur Lee’s 10 Tips for Making Amazing Camping Meals

World-acclaimed chef and Chopped Canada judge Susur Lee used to camp all the time with his family, especially when his three boys were kids. Grilling up the same old hot dogs and hamburgers on a camping trip can get boring… fast. But not for Lee who won’t settle for less than amazing food.

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Here Susur Lee shares his tips on how to elevate a humble camping meal into something extraordinary.

1. Bring along an olive oil sprayer. 
It’s a widely-known fact that olive oil is a crucial part of mastering an outdoor grill, but who wants to lug around a big bottle when they’re in the middle of the woods? Make things easier by bringing a sprayer with you to spritz the grill with oil whenever you need to. Keeping things quick, clean and simple is an integral part of ensuring your camping trip is successful.

2. Mix things up by grilling some fruit alongside your vegetables.
Sure, grilling veggies like bell peppers and zucchini is yummy and nutritious, but throwing some pineapple or peach slices on the grill adds an unexpected sweet and savory taste to your meals.

3. Buy quality, store-bought food whenever possible.
No one wants to spend a ton of time and effort on meal preparation during a camping trip, so if you can buy pre-packaged and already-made ingredients, make sure to do so. Lee likes to bring packages of peeled garlic cloves in a vacuum-sealed bag because they’re super easy to crush and add to anything. No muss, no fuss.

4. Choose square plates over round ones.
The idea behind this is simple. You don’t have a lot of room on a picnic table and square plates line up nicely along the edge of the table, leaving more space for other items. Efficiency is key when dining outdoors.

5: When life gives you lemons…
You can never have enough lemons on a camping trip. Lee loves to grill them and squeeze them over both desserts and main dishes to brighten them up. The citrus flavour will complement your dishes perfectly.

6. Keep it casual.
When you’re camping, it’s no secret that the simpler something is, the better. You don’t have to spend a lot of time (or any at all) on meal presentation. Keep everything looking rustic and  straightforward. This is not the time for delicate garnishes and fussy plating.

7. Serve food at room temperature.
Bugs can be a huge problem when you’re camping, and a good way to keep the flies away is to make sure your food is served at room temperature. Steaming hot dishes will attract pesky bugs and distract from your meal. Also make sure to pack mosquito covers to keep your food completely bug-free.

8. Bring a cooler.
Susur likes to have a big one on hand to store all his ingredients cool and safe from the heat.

9. Be sure to have plenty of fuel on hand if that’s your main source of cooking.
The last thing you want is to run out of gas in the middle of your gourmet camping meal!

10. Pick a good cooking spot.
You don’t want to be battling the winds on your camping adventure. Set up your cooking station in a place that’s shielded from the elements to maximize your enjoyment of cooking in the great outdoors.

Try these two tasty camping meals by Susur Lee:

Vegetable Polenta Cakes
Singapore Style Beef Shish Kabob