Category Archives: Fire Masters

Make The Most of Your BBQ With Dylan Benoit’s Best Recipes and Tips

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.

Related: Marinating 101: How to Flavour Your Meat, Seafood and Vegetables

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.

Related: The 10 Best Ways to Use Your Grill in 2020

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.

Related: Here’s why Dylan recommends Resting Meat.

BBQ Sides

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.

Chimichurri

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. 

Watch Fire Masters Thursdays at 11ep and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

How to Cook the Perfect Grilled Chicken Every Time

Moo-ve along burgers and other beef cuts, crowd-pleasing chicken is the perfect protein for grilling.

What is the best way to grill chicken?

Different cuts, myriad marinades and lots of cooking styles mean you’re never at a loss for ideas about what to make. With all these options, though, can come many questions. Dark meat or light, can you treat them the same? (Short answer, no.) What do I need to beware of before I get started? And how long does it need to cook
for?

A few simple tips and tricks will serve you well when it comes to grilling chicken, ensuring a delicious meal every time.

The Pioneer Woman Perfect Grilled Chicken
Get the Recipe: The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Grilled Chicken

How long do you cook chicken on the grill?

Just as some people prefer barbecued chicken thighs over drumsticks or breasts, the grill doesn’t treat all these cuts equally either. The size and thickness of the pieces and whether they’re boneless or not affect both the cooking time and the minimum safe internal temperature that indicates when the chicken is fully cooked and ready to eat.

Using an instant-read meat thermometer is the only way to know for sure if it’s time to take your chicken off the heat. But there are some rules of thumb when it comes to gauging just how long that should take.

Related: You’ll Love These BBQ Side Dishes

Grilled Chicken Breast with Spicy Peach Glaze
Try it: Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Peach Glaze

Bone-in cuts need to cook longer than boneless breasts or thighs. If you’re looking to save some time, feel free to opt for cuts without the bone. Those with them, though, will stay juicier throughout grilling.

Boneless chicken breasts — a blank canvas for all sorts of dishes and flavours— are ready to eat the fastest. They need only about five or six minutes per side and you’ll want to pull them off just before they’re cooked all the way through. The residual heat from the grill will continue to cook them as they rest. Their internal temperature should be between 160°F and 165°F.

The dark meat of chicken thighs doesn’t dry out as quickly, making it your juiciest (and, arguably, most flavourful) option for grilling. Boneless thighs are as fast to cook as breasts — give them about five minutes on each side. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 165°F.

Grilled Chicken Wings with Spicy Chipotle Hot Sauce and Blue Cheese-Yogurt Dipping Sauce
Get the Recipe: Grilled Chicken Wings with Spicy Chipotle Hot Sauce and Blue Cheese-Yogurt Dipping Sauce

A snacking and game day favourite, chicken wings need to be turned a few times while they’re on the grill and you’ll want to plan a little further ahead because they take between 25 and 30 minutes to fully cook. They’re ready to go — maybe after a little toss in some buffalo sauce or spices — when an instant-read thermometer indicates 165°F.

For drumsticks and bone-in thighs or breasts, patience is needed. Turn them occasionally over their 40 to 50-minute cooking time and watch for an internal temperature of 160°F to 165°F.

Of course, you’re not limited to pieces alone. The perennial crowd favourite, Beer Can Chicken and similar recipes are popular for a reason. A whole chicken should take about an hour on the grill —
depending on its size, of course.

Bobby Flay's Beer Can Chicken
Get the Recipe: Bobby Flay’s Beer Can Chicken

How do you marinate chicken?

Infinitely adaptable chicken does well on the grill after it has been marinated in any number of saucy options. These can be as simple as oil and some summery herbs or more complicated versions using dairy products like yogurt or buttermilk and spices.

Related: Flavour-Packed BBQ Sauces, Marinades and Condiments

No matter what the recipe, keep the chicken in the fridge, for as little as 30 minutes or, even better, up to overnight, while it soaks up the flavours. Don’t forget the salt!

How do you grill chicken?

Once you’re ready to go, pull the chicken from the fridge so it has time to come up to room temperature before it hits the grill. This ensures the meat cooks evenly. Use that time to preheat your grill to medium — the ideal temperature for cooking the chicken through without drying it out. (Nothing spoils a meal like chewy chicken!) Also, prepare your grill by cleaning and oiling the grates to keep the meat from sticking or tearing during the cooking process.

See More: 65 Drool-Worthy Grilled Chicken Recipes

Do you close the grill when cooking chicken?

Just as steaks are better when they’ve been grilled with the lid open, chicken benefits from a closed lid. This creates an oven effect inside the grill, which helps cook the chicken all the way through. If you still want nice grill marks — and who doesn’t? — start by searing the cuts on both sides before closing the lid to finish cooking.

Your patience will be tested, but avoid opening that lid to see what’s happening. Every time you do, heat escapes, which could make the cooking uneven or take longer.

Barbecue Grilled Chicken
Get the Recipe: Valerie Bertinelli’s Barbecue Grilled Chicken

When do you add sauce to chicken?

Tangy barbecue sauce is truly the taste of summer. Apply it too early, though, and you’ll end up with a sticky, burnt mess. Since most barbecue sauces, especially those from the grocery store, are high in sugar, they tend to burn quickly.

Save the sauce for close to the end — about 10 minutes before the chicken is ready to come off the grill — to get it nice and caramelized. And, of course, you can always get even saucier once the chicken is ready to eat.

How long do you let chicken rest?

Don’t sit down to the table just yet! Letting your cooked meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes means juicier chicken from the first bite to last. While you wait, all those juices redistribute and that’s what’s going to keep it moist and tasty.

For even more great grilled recipes, check out 10 Easy Grilled Dinners That Go Beyond Burgers and 12 Tantalizing Grilled Chicken Thigh Recipes.

Watch Fire Masters Thursdays at 11ep and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Marinating-101-How-to-Flavour-Your-Meat-Fish-and-Vegetables

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

A little pre-planning, a bit of time and some pantry staples can take basic vegetables, fish or meat and transform it all into a tasty meal. And, with marinades pairing particularly well with standard produce and budget-friendly cuts of meat — such as flank steak — it’s also a cost-effective way to cook.

Korean-Style Marinated Skirt Steak with Grilled Scallions and Warm Tortillas Read more at http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/korean-style-marinated-skirt-steak-with-grilled-scallions-and-warm-tortillas/15976/#IOi3whk9gJybCjVE.99
Korean-Style Marinated Skirt Steak with Grilled Scallions and Warm Tortillas

See more: How to Grill the Perfect Steak Every Time

Marinade Tips

Marinating for grilling season is as simple as mixing together a few ingredients, coating vegetables, tofu or meats and letting it all sit so the flavours can penetrate. If you’ve got five minutes, you have time to make a marinade. Mix it all in a re-sealable bag or a covered dish, put it in the fridge and, with a bit of patience, dinner is just a quick sear, roast or grill away. Since time is essentially one of the main ingredients, marinades are great for those busy days when you don’t have time to hang out in the kitchen

See more: Your Guide to Perfect Grilling Times and Temperatures

Glass baking dishes, food-safe plastic containers and re-sealable bags are your best bets here. You’ll want to make sure all your meat or vegetables are covered with the marinade — or, in a pinch, you can occasionally flip them to make sure they get equal time in the mixture. Baking dishes are great for large, flat, skirt or flank steaks. You’ll want to stay away from metal containers or pottery, though, as they can react with the acidic ingredients in your marinade.

The fridge is your friend when it comes to marinating. It keeps things cool, which will prevent any harmful bacteria from growing. For quick dinners on busy nights, you can also freeze ingredients in a marinade in advance, then let them thaw in the fridge before cooking.

Grilled-Shiitake-and-Tofu-Banh-Mi
Grilled Shiitake and Tofu Banh Mi

Skip store-bought and head to your cupboards for DIY versions that pack a punch of flavour. Most marinades are made up of oil, aromatics — think ginger, garlic, shallots — acids like vinegar or lemon juice, herbs and some salt. You can also find ones with yogurt bases, especially when cooking Indian. Some call for acidic fruits such as kiwi or pineapple, which are great for tenderizing meat.

You’ll want flavours that naturally lend themselves to the ingredient you’re marinating. Lemon, oregano and garlic are great for Greek-inspired chicken dishes, for example. Or go for an Asian-inspired marinade for pork using soy, ginger, garlic and sesame oil. Avoid overpowering your meat or vegetables, though. Steak, chicken and tofu can stand up to more robust flavours, but seafood is best with simpler marinades. You still want the fish flavour to shine through.

Grilled-Sea-Bream-with-Herbs-and-Garlic-CroutonsGrilled Sea Bream with Herbs and Garlic Croutons

How Long Should You Marinate For?

The combination of fat, acid and aromatics adds flavour and moisture and turns even tough cuts of meat tender. Letting ingredients sit in a marinade allows it to penetrate the ingredients’ surface for maximum flavour. Of course, the marinade can only go so far, so this works best for thinner cuts of beef, like flank or skirt steak, thinly sliced vegetables or ingredients with a lot of surface area. Cubing thicker cuts like chicken breasts will make your marinade go further with flavour. Taking off chicken skin before marinating will also help the flavours penetrate.

Timing is everything. Marinating is great because you can mix everything up and then walk away, letting it do all the work before you’re ready to cook. But you’ll still need to watch the clock. For seafood and soft vegetables, too much time can ruin dinner. Fish and shrimp only need a little time in a marinade before they’re ready to cook — 30 minutes or so. Too long and the marinade will actually start to break down or ‘cook’ seafood — like in a ceviche. Firm veggies, such as carrots and potatoes, can handle up to a half-hour of time in a marinade, but softer ones, like zucchini, just need a quick dip. Too long and they’ll just get soggy.

There’s more flexibility with chicken, beef and tofu when it comes to time spent marinating. A couple of hours will add flavour, but, for the most part, you can let these ingredients sit in the fridge in a marinade for a day. Prepare in the morning and dinner is quick to make when you get home.


The Pioneer Woman’s Jerk Chicken

See more: How to Cook the Perfect Grilled Chicken Every Time

Get Grilling

Once you’re ready to cook, it’s time to toss the marinade. It might seem wasteful, but re-using a marinade, which could contain dangerous bacteria, is a health concern. It did its job already — you can let it go!

Now your food is flavoured, you’ve tossed the remaining marinade and you’re getting hungry. The last step is to get cooking. Marinated meats, fish and vegetables are great on the grill. Thin beef cuts, cubed chicken or chicken thighs, shrimp, prawns, fish and sliced vegetables need just a few minutes of searing to make them perfect. Thicker cuts will naturally take longer. Don’t forget to use a meat thermometer to ensure chicken or pork is cooked to the proper temperature!

If it’s not grilling weather — though when isn’t it grilling weather in Canada? — you can also sear meats and vegetables on your stove top. Grill pans are great, but any pan will do. Larger portions of meat — whole chickens, pork tenderloins and so on — will do well roasted in the oven, as will sturdier vegetables.

See more: How to Properly Season a Cast Iron Skillet

They’re easy, require no chef skills or unusual ingredients, but marinades make for a delicious meal. Let that idea marinate for a bit and then hit the kitchen!

Your Ultimate Guide to Perfect Grilling Times and Temperatures

Chicken and beef are standard grilling fare, but by no means are they your only options for when you want to fire up the barbecue.

Become a master of all meats — and vegetables — with this guide, learning the secrets to cooking game meats, the right temperatures for safe eating and just what vegetables you should be picking up for a mouth-watering grilled feast (along with some good tools to have on hand). With this guide, you’ll be turning to your grill for every possible meal before you know it.

Tools of the Trade

Just as chefs need good knives and pots, grilling enthusiasts should have some key accessories in their toolbox.

Fire-Masters-tools

Tongs: This is essential in any barbecue enthusiast’s tool kit. Barbecue forks are likely to pierce meat when used to flip it over on the grill, letting all those essential juices pour out.

A Flexible Spatula: If you plan to cook fish, invest in a flexible spatula, which will allow you to gently lift pieces off the grill without them breaking apart.

A Meat Thermometer: The only sure way to ensure your grilled meats are perfectly cooked is to use a thermometer. This simple instant-read tool, which uses a steel probe to determine the temperature in both Fahrenheit and Centigrade, will allow you to check whether your proteins are grilled to perfection in a flash. Or take to the next level with thermometers designed to stay in the food as it cooks — alerting you when your dish is ready.

Grilling Pork

Pork chops are great, but there are more great cuts of meat to explore in the supermarket for grill-ready proteins. Ribs, roasts and tenderloins are all tasty options for your barbecue — not to mention pork products, like sausages. Each of these cuts requires a different approach when you get to your grill.

One of the biggest questions for home cooks and grill enthusiasts is what temperature pork must be cooked to in order to be considered food safe? For many years, the rule was that pork needed to be well done, but now we can cook whole pork cuts to medium (or 145°F / 63°C to 160°F / 71°C) and still meet national health guidelines. That means no more dry, overcooked pork on your plate — something that should definitely have you exploring this type of meat more often. However, ground pork or sausage be cooked thoroughly.

Try: Grilled Pork Tenderloin a la Rodriguez with Guava Glaze and Orange-Habanero Mojo

Pork should be cooked over medium heat but grill times will vary widely depending on what cut you are serving. For all pork cuts, a post-grill rest will give juices a chance to redistribute, making for a tasty and tender dish.

Pork Chops: ¾” thick chops take between 8 to 12 minutes total — flip once about halfway through — while a chop twice that thickness should take anywhere from 22 and 35 minutes.

Pork Tenderloin: A 1- or 11/2-pound tenderloin needs between 20 and 30 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 145°F / 63°C to 160°F / 71°C.

Pork Roast: Whole roasts naturally take longer and cooking times are by weight. For a 2-pound roast, plan on 20 to 26 minutes per pound, while a roast weighing between 3 and 5 pounds takes about 12 to 15 minutes.

Read more: The 36 Best BBQ Pork Recipes

Grilling Lamb

No longer just served for Easter suppers, lamb is ideal for grilling year-round. This meat’s high-fat content keeps it tender and juicy as it cooks. Lamb pairs well with many types of marinades and rubs, so the flavour options are endless.

Fire Masters Lamb Rack

Lamb Chops: These are a great choice for beginners because it is easier to keep them from overcooking.

Boneless Roast and Lamb Legs: These cuts of meat also do well on the grill, even over direct heat.

Racks of Lamb and Lamb Roast: That doesn’t mean you should avoid racks of lamb or roasts, just keep that instant-read meat thermometer close at hand to prevent these cuts from drying out or getting overcooked. Look for 160°F / 71°C for medium doneness and 170°F / 77°C for well done.

Read more: 20 Simple Lamb Recipes for Chops, Roasts, Skewers and More

Grilling Game Meat

For game meat enthusiasts, grilling is a good way to go. The key difference with bison, venison or elk — compared to beef, say — is that these incredibly lean meats need to be monitored closely. It doesn’t take much to go from juicy cuts to cardboard. Cooking them past medium-rare is not advised.

A quick trick that yields the best results is to start the cooking process in the oven, roasting the meats before throwing them on the grill to get those sear marks and that signature grilled flavour. Brining or marinating the meats, wrapping them in bacon or using wet rubs will help keep game meats juicy and flavourful.

Bison: Bison is fairly common these days and can be picked up at many butchers’ as well as some chain grocery stores. For grilling, try tenderloin or striploin steaks. Ground up, will make a fantastic burger. Remove from the grill when meat reaches an internal temperature 120°F / 49°C to 125°F / 52°C for best results.

Fire Masters Game Meat

Venison: Wild venison is gamier than farm-raised deer, which tends to have a rich flavour. You can purchase it at some butcher shops, but phone ahead first to make sure they have what you’re looking for. Your best bet for this incredibly lean meat is to purchase steaks or tenderloin. Like bison, cook venison to an internal temperature of 120°F / 49°C to 125°F / 52°C.

Wild Boar: Wild boar is generally cooked like its domesticated cousin, the pig, and should come off the grill at 145°F / 63°C for a tender cut of meat.

Elk: The cooking approach for elk is the same as venison, but these two meats have very different flavour profiles. Elk is incredibly tender and has a cleaner, almost slightly sweet, flavour. Opt for roasts or steaks and cook to a temperature of 120°F / 49°C to 125°F / 52°C.

Read more: 11 Tips for Grilling Great Game Meat

Grilling Vegetables

When thinking about grilling, most tend to go straight to protein, but vegetables (and fruit!) get great flavour boosts from some flame-kissed time on a hot grill. A little marinating goes a long way and pretty much any veggie is fair game.

Fire Masters vegetables

Read more: Veggie-Forward Grilled Skewers and Kebabs

Asparagus pairs well with grilled meats — a squeeze of lemon over the plate when they’re cooked is a nice addition. Summer standards, such as corn, tomatoes and zucchini are natural additions to a grilled feast. Even salad benefits with a grilling twist. Simply cut lettuce (or radicchio) in half and cook until there’s a slight char to the cut side. Drizzle over dressing and serve as an appetizer or side dish.

Corral vegetables to keep them from falling through the cooking grids. Either of these will keep food on top of the grill where it belongs, plus they make it easy to turn fruit, veggies or delicate foods over. The hinged basket keeps everything in place, so turning items over is as simple as a flip, while you can use the wok just as you would on a stove with a pair of tongs or spatula to toss and mix.

how to grill the perfect steak

How to Grill the Perfect Steak Every Time

When it comes to cooking steak, nothing beats the grill. It’s the combination of that slight char and simple seasoning that pushes us to cook outdoors — even when it isn’t summer grilling season.

If you’re going to brave cold temperatures for winter grilling or the high heat of the hottest months, it is a good idea to know how to make the most of a steak. What cut of meat should you buy? What grill temperature is just right? Does that lid stay open or closed? These sorts of questions are all that stand between you and a delicious, flame-kissed meal. For your perfect barbecued steak dinner, we’ve got you covered with this guide to mastering the grill. Luckily, we also believe practice makes perfect — that means steak should be on the menu all year round.

What Cut Should Make the Cut?

One of the best things about steak is that from the time it hits the grill to the time it lands on the plate isn’t too long – especially for those who prefer their steak rare. Steaks with nice marbling — those striations of white fat — cook up perfectly succulent. That is because fat means flavour. So when you’re looking at the butcher counter, opt for one of these:

Ribeye: Lots of marbling along with larger pockets of fat makes these steaks great for the grill. Preheat the grill with two burners on medium-high, and two that aren’t on at all – a two-zone fire. Sear the steaks for a few minutes per side to get those delightful sear marks, then move them to the “off “ side to finish cooking. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the perfect temperature of 125°F / 50°C. Rest for 10 minutes. The high heat will melt the fat and keep this steak super juicy.

Strip Loin: This cut, sometimes called a New York strip, is leaner than rib eye but still has plenty of beefy flavour. Season simply with salt and pepper, then sear them over direct high heat for 4 to 6 minutes per side. Rest before serving.

T-Bone: A classic cut, this is what we usually picture when we hear the word steak. Kind of like two steaks for the price of one, this cut is named after the T-shaped bone that divides the strip loin and a small portion of tenderloin. Cooking depends on the thickness. For T-Bones less than 1-inch thick, searing for a few minutes per side, then resting is enough. If the steak is over 1-inch thick start it slow, using indirect heat, on a grill set to 325°F / 165°C, until it reaches an internal temperature of 120°F / 148°C, then sear over high heat for a couple minutes per side for grill marks. Rest and serve topped with a knob of butter.

Flank Steak: This long, flat cut of beef is incredibly lean and an exception to the marbling rule. It should be cooked in a flash; too long on the grill can cause the meat to become tough. Think medium-rare, about 4 to 5 minutes per side over direct, high heat. A little help from an overnight marinade before hitting the grill is always a good idea. To serve, let the flank steak rest before slicing against the grain for tender strips of beef – ideal for tacos and sandwiches.

Skirt Steak: Similar to flank, skirt steak needs to be approached the same way. Marinate it before grilling to medium rare, rest and slice.

Filet Mignon: If you’re splurging and want an incredibly tender and thick steak, you can try a filet mignon, a cut of beef tenderloin. With only a little fat, this steak is subtle in flavour, but buttery in texture. It’s easy to overcook, so best for those who prefer their steaks medium or on the rarer side. Grill them using a similar technique to the Ribeye, and keep that meat thermometer handy.

Heat It Up

Cooking steaks is all about searing, so you want to get your grill hot, hot, hot.

Heat to at least 450°F before you put those steaks on to cook. This ensures the meat gets that delicious crust and stays tender on the inside.

When using infrared heat to cook your steak, side burners, reaching the right temperature takes less than a minute. You can go from craving a nice steak to searing in the juices for a restaurant-quality meal in mere minutes.

Open or Closed?

If you’re puzzling over whether your steaks are best grilled with the lid open or not, wonder no more. The simple answer is: keep it open when high-temperature searing.

Closing the lid turns your grill into an oven — great for roasting meats, slowly cooking thicker cuts, and cooking chicken, but not as ideal when searing. A closed grill will start to cook the top of your steak, so you’ll miss that sizzle when you flip it.

An open lid gives you more control and lets you keep an eye on things. After all, there’s nothing worse than an overcooked steak.

Grilling 101

You’ve selected your cuts, heated your grill and are eager to eat. There are just a few steps to follow to make your steak truly great.

Start by generously salting your steak and letting it come to room temperature before grilling. About a half hour is all that’s needed to let the salt do its work. Use kosher or coarse salt will bring out the best flavor. Add a little freshly ground pepper or dehydrated garlic for even more flavour.

For some additional flavour, think of getting smoky. Wood chips, like mesquite or Applewood, enhance beef without much effort. With an integrated wood chip smoker tray — adding that woodsy, smoky flavour is about as easy as turning the grill on.

It’s all about timing, but even the pros can stumble over how long each side of the steak needs to reach the perfect temperature. A good rule of thumb is you need about two to three minutes per side to reach rare for a ¾-inch steak. Four minutes will be close to medium and another minute or two per side for a well-done steak. Your best bet is to take the guesswork out of the equation by using an instant-read meat thermometer.

When flipping the meat, it’s best to use tongs. Barbecue forks will pierce the meat, letting all those delicious juices escape. Finally — and this is the hard part! — let it rest for about 10 minutes before eating. This gives those juices time to redistribute and will keep your steak tender and tasty.

Is It Done?

Cooking times may vary, but steak doneness temperatures are dependable.

For a rare steak, look for an internal temperature of 120ºF / 52°C. Medium-rare is around 135°F / 57°C. Medium steaks will read 140ºF / 60°C to 145ºF / 63°C and Medium-well between 150ºF / 66°C. A steak is well done at 160ºF / 71°C or more.

Why You’ll Fall in Love With Food Network Canada’s Newest Host, Dylan Benoit

They say if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, but Dylan Benoit is all too happy to embrace the fire and flames on the new Food Network Canada show Fire Masters. As host, he brings his passion for cooking over the fire to the small screen as three chefs compete each week to impress a panel of judges with their grilling skills.

Though a proud Canadian, Benoit has taken his talents around the world and now lives in the Cayman Islands where he can pursue his love of the culinary arts, along with scuba diving, riding motorcycles and travelling to far-flung parts of the globe.

We “grilled” the Fire Masters host about his hobbies, who inspires him in the kitchen and what he thinks about leading the hottest new culinary competition show.

How does it feel to be the host of Fire Masters?

Honestly, I never thought I would end up on TV, let alone Food Network Canada. When I was going to cooking school, I used to come home and watch the types of shows I’m now on. I never thought, ‘Oh, one day I’ll be on Food Network’ or ‘I want to have a show.’ It was always just get to the kitchen, put your head down, earn your stripes and become a great chef. The fact this has transpired is a bonus and I’m insanely grateful.

Was there a dish you were hoping someone would make all season that you didn’t end up seeing?

I didn’t go in [to filming] with any expectations. I was just happy to see everything these chefs brought to the table. And what I liked about the show was there were so many people from all over the country, the States and Mexico and the Caribbean and they brought a lot of flavours I wasn’t expecting.

Who inspires your cooking?

My mom was a huge inspiration for my cooking. We grew up eating very well around our house, so that’s where the spark started. Then, as I grew older, it was more about travel — going to different places, learning about their food and through their food.

What do you consider to be your signature dish?

The concept of a signature dish is very tough. For me, it changes all the time — depending on the season or where I am. A dish I would make here isn’t the same as I’d make in Cayman or California. I have certain ingredients that I lean towards, that I use when I can.

What about the recipes you’ve developed over the years? Is there one you’re most proud of?

Bacon. I have a lamb bacon recipe which is pretty fun. Everybody loves bacon! And there are so many other meats you can use to make it, like lamb or beef.

We hear you have cooked for some celebrities. Any anecdotes you can share?

When I worked with Chef Mark McEwan at One at the Hazelton Hotel, the Beastie Boys came in one time. All three of them sat at the bar and ate chicken noodle soup. Once, I was working at the pasta station there during the film festival and Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston came in. She had the rabbit ravioli and when the order came in, the sous chef leaned over to me and said, “That’s for Jennifer Aniston. Don’t screw it up.” I’m sure there’s plenty of others, but a lot of the time you’re in the back and you don’t know who you’re cooking for. It doesn’t matter if it’s a massive celebrity or a regular person on the street. You want to make sure the food is the same every time.

You’ve been living on Cayman Island since 2010. What do you miss most about Canada?

I miss a lot of things, to be honest. All my family, which is a big one. I do miss the seasons — not winter. I miss wearing jeans and boots and a leather jacket. That’s why little trips like this are always nice to come back and get refreshed. I miss my cottage in Georgian Bay area.

Do you have any food-inspired tattoos?

I do actually! A pineapple skull — I don’t know why. A bottle of whiskey or rum flying away. I’ve got a bowl of noodles on the inside of my index finger.

What has been your most delicious travel memory?

A lot of the really good memories, you’re just in these places you’d least expect. The little hole-in-the-wall joints. The first thing that jumps to my mind is Hong Kong. I have a favorite noodle place there called that Tsim Chai Kee. This is the bowl of noodles that all noodles shall be rated against in my mind. It’s just super simple. It’s an egg noodle with chicken broth and these dumplings the size of a golf ball. You get three of them and they’re just chock-full of shrimp.

What’s the easiest technique someone new to grilling should learn to master first?

Indirect heat — that’s where you start something on a relatively high heat on one side to get the sear you want and then move it to a side that’s on low while the high heat is still running. It allows you to rest the meat while you continue to cook it. I think that’s the one thing most people don’t understand. Everybody just goes in hard and fast with high heat and you end up with overcooked or dry food.

What’s the most overused ingredient in grilling?

Beef tenderloin. I really enjoy it, but I think there are so many other cuts that can be similar in texture and tenderness that don’t cost you as much and pack a little more flavour.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Chefs Test Their Grilling Skills Against All-Star Judges in New Show, Fire Masters

Ready, set, GRILL! Food Network Canada’s all-new BBQ series, Fire Masters, is the epitome of trial by fire. The sizzling grilling competition premieres Thursday, March 21 at 10 E/P.

Each week, with the clock ticking, three chefs will have their grilling skills put to the ultimate test as they embark on a fiery three-part culinary challenge that requires them to create a variety of mouthwatering dishes. One chef is eliminated during each of the first two rounds, with the last remaining chef going head-to-head against one incredibly formidable opponent — one of the Fire Masters judges! In the thrilling final round, with a championship title and $10,000 cash prize on the line, the chef and judge fight fire with fire to create a sumptuous three-course meal — with only one victor.

Hosted by Canadian chef Dylan Benoit, who will supervise the grill masters during their challenges and add his expertise to the judges’ deliberations, Fire Masters highlights culinary talent from across North America, including competitors from Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Mount Pearl, among others.

The  judges appearing in the inaugural season of Fire Masters are:

  • Kevin Bludso, Los Angeles, CA (Bludso’s BBQ)
  • Mike Callaghan, London, ON (International Pitmaster)
  • Connie DeSousa, Calgary, AB (CHARCUT Roast House, charbar, Alley Burger, Rooftop Bar @ Simmons, Top Chef Canada, Season 1 and All-Stars)
  • Tiffani Faison, Boston, MA (Sweet Cheeks, Tiger Mama, Fool’s Errand)
  • Nicole Gomes, Calgary, AB (Nicole Gourmet Catering, Cluck N’ Cleaver, Top Chef Canada, Season 3 and All-Stars winner)
  • Andy Husbands, Boston, MA (The Smoke Shop)
  • Eddie Jackson, Houston, TX (Rose Hill Beer Garden, Fit Chef Studio, Food Network Star, Christmas Cookie Challenge)
  • Ray “Dr BBQ” Lampe, St. Petersburg, FL (Dr. BBQ)
  • Dale MacKay, Saskatoon, SK (Ayden Kitchen & Bar, Little Grouse on the Prairie, Sticks and Stones, Avenue Restaurant, Top Chef Canada, Season 1 winner)
  • Hugh Mangum, New York City, NY (Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque)
  • Amy Mills, Murphysboro, IL (17th Street Barbecue, OnCue Consulting)
  • Andrea Nicholson, Toronto, ON (Butchies, Top Chef Canada, Season 1 and All-Stars)
  • Devan Rajkumar, Toronto, ON (ChefDev Catering Company)

Fans of other Food Network Canada series will spot a few familiar faces among the judges. Watch for Top Chef Canada alumni such as Le Cordon Bleu-trained culinary master Connie DeSousa, Calgary restauranteur Nicole Gomes and Saskatoon chef Dale MacKay, among others, as they weigh in with their decades of culinary expertise as guest judges.

If you can’t get enough of watching competitors blaze their way to the top, read on to meet the talented chefs who will be taking on the scorching challenges this season.