Tag Archives: barbecue

One Humble Can of Black Beans, Six Different Meals to Remember

With summer in full swing, grab a can of black beans from your pantry and make these six super simple recipes for your next barbecue night. Black beans are loaded with nutrients and are oh-so versatile. From grilled black bean burgers to a seasonal black bean salad, I am sharing a variety of recipes you can create with a humble can of beans. Just be sure to rinse and drain the can of beans before using to remove any excess liquid or sodium. OK — here we go!

Related: One Humble Can of Chickpeas, Six Different Meals to Remember

Spicy Black Bean Nachos
Nachos are the ultimate snack food: you can keep them as simple as you’d like or load them up with ingredients and flavour. Next time you whip up a skillet of nachos, try sprinkling them with smoked cheddar cheese, diced corn, black beans, taco seasoned ground meat (optional) and sliced jalapeños. Don’t forget to serve them with a side of salsa, guacamole and/or sour cream for dipping.

Black Beans and Rice
Rice is a staple side dish for just about any meal, but instead of serving plain white rice, why don’t we jazz it up a little bit? Mix steamed rice with black beans, olive oil, grated garlic, chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. This will pair wonderfully with grilled chicken, pork or beef.

Fried Egg With Black Beans and Toast
This quick toast is one of my go-to recipes for breakfast or an afternoon snack. A fried egg served with pureed black beans, diced tomatoes and cilantro. Serve over a taco shell or slice of toast.

Related: The Tastiest Things You Can Put on Toast (That Isn’t Avocado)

Black Bean and Corn Salad
Nothing says barbecue season like a colourful bean salad. It can be made a day ahead of time and travels really well for a picnic in the park. This one features black beans as the base with diced tomatoes, diced corn, minced red onion, grated garlic, olive oil and freshly squeezed lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Black Bean Burger
In my house, burgers are on high rotation during the summer months. If you are looking to reduce your meat intake, turn a can of black beans into homemade veggie burgers! You can mash just about any flavour into these burgers. Start by sautéing minced garlic, onion and peppers until softened. Add them to a food processor with a can of black beans, cup of panko bread crumbs, two eggs, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. For extra flavour, add paprika, cumin and a pinch of cayenne. Pulse until mixture comes together and shape into patties. Chill for 30 minutes to firm before pan frying or grilling.

Related: These Vegan Burger Recipes are Perfect for Grilling Season

Black Bean Dip
Turn a can of black beans into a flavourful summer dip to serve with tortilla chips. To make, simply blend a can of black beans with minced garlic, olive oil, jalapeño (seeds removed), cumin, fresh lime juice, salt and pepper. Add a splash of water until desired consistency is reached. Garnish with tomato, mango or corn salsa if desired.

Want to cook with more pantry staples? These canned salmon recipes and tortilla recipes might do the trick!

banh mi burgers

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)

banh mi burgers ingredients

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.

banh mi burgers veggies

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.

banh mi burgers ingredients in food processor

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.

three banh mi burgers ready to serve

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.

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.

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.

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.

Cider Can Chicken is the New (and Better) Beer Can Chicken

We’re all familiar with the classic beer can chicken recipe. We’re taking this fantastic summer staple to the next level by swapping out beer and replacing it with a dry Canadian cider. The result is a juicy chicken with notes of sweet apples. In case that isn’t enough, we finish the recipe by taking all those delicious chicken drippings and making a sweet and savory cider-based gravy that’s so good, you’ll earn the must-deserved title of grill master.

Cider Can Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 4lb whole chicken
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 473 mL can of dry cider
2 sprigs rosemary
1 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard

Cider Can Chicken

Directions:
1. Remove neck and giblets from chicken. Rub entire chicken with olive oil and season with salt.
2. Pour out 1/3 of the cider (or drink it) and place the can into the cavity of the chicken. Arrange the chicken so it balances on top of the can.
3. Place a cast iron pan over indirect heat on a grill preheated to medium-high. Place the can with chicken in the centre of the pan.
4. Place rosemary sprigs in the cast iron pan. Close the lid of the grill and let cook until juices run clear from thigh and chicken is golden brown, about 1 hour.
5. Remove chicken and can from pan and let rest. Move the cast iron pan over direct heat. Let liquid reduce by half, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, remove rosemary and stir in mustard until combined. Remove can from the chicken, carve chicken and serve with gravy.

Cider Can Chicken

 

Want more delicious beer recipes? Watch this video for 5 Things to Make with Beer

 

Chef Michael Smith on How to Throw a Labour Day BBQ

Food Network star Michael Smith is one of Canada’s best-known chefs — and also a barbecue fiend. The Chopped Canada judge recently launched Fireworks, a restaurant celebrating everything barbecue, and is Prince Edward Island’s hottest new eatery.

“We have every live fire cooking method known to man,” he says. “We have a smokehouse, a hearth, and a wood-oven. It allows us to do different techniques, and every single one using live fire and coals.”

If you can’t make it to Prince Edward Island to enjoy the fine barbecue at Fireworks before the end of summer, don’t worry. Chef Michael shares his top tips for throwing an amazing Labour Day barbecue at home. Before you get grilling, read this!

888_michael-smith-labour-day-party

 

Start with the right equipment.

It may seem old-fashioned, but Chef Michael swears by the power of cast-iron cookware for grilling.

“Cast-iron is a revelation to us,” says Chef Michael. “It radiates heat so evenly; things just don’t burn in it! We cook with cast-iron every single thing we do. Dutch ovens, skillets, planchas. That’s one big take-away: consider using cast-iron.”

Cook with live fire (if you can).

Whether you’re a first timer or a barbecue master, Chef Michael encourages those with backyard space to use “real wood fire” for grilling.

“Have one fire that’s generating your coals,” says Chef Michael. “Then sweep the coals over to the other side of the hearth — that’s where you do your cooking.”

The type of wood matters too; always use dried-out hardwood over softwood, which tends to leave an oily film on food, spoiling the flavour. “Hardwood burns hotter, slower, and tastes better,” says Chef Michael.

Maple Planked Salmon

Don’t cook over a flame.

When grilling, avoid direct contact between flame and food. Instead, let the flame die down to a hearty, thick bed of coals, no matter what fuel source you’re using. “We don’t cook over flame,” says Chef Michael. “Flame scorches food, and leads to black.”

Dress to impress (your meats, that is).

Add a gorgeous aroma by smoking meats with fruit wood chips like apple, available at most hardware stores.

“These are the caviar of wood,” says Chef Michael. “The wood has a distinctive flavour, tasting fruity. Reserve this special aromatic wood if you’re smoking food.”

It’s easy; just let the fire burn down to embers, and then top dress with fruit wood at the last minute. Or for a flavour-packed punch, consider brining your meats.

“If you’re really looking to amp up your barbecue game, brine,” says Chef Michael. “Chicken and pork in particular really benefit.”

It’s all in the technique.

To master the art of barbecuing, follow Chef Michael’s essential grilling tips:

  • Pre-heat your grills: “It’s probably the biggest tip of all. Food will not stick to hot metal. It sticks to cold metal.”
  • Sauce at the end: “Never, ever put barbecue sauces on your food before you grill it! Many sauces are packed with sugar, and immediately burn. Brush your sauces on towards the end of the cooking process.”
  • Be patient: “Often, we rush the process and miss the opportunity to fully cook the meat. If there’s a little tugging or sticking, that’s the meat saying, ‘I’m not ready to flip yet!’ Take your time — it’s very much in your favour.”
  • Understand the process: “The whole point of searing meat is to build flavour. Searing meat encourages juices to come out of the meat. If you’re rushing and not pre-heating, then you’re not adding flavour.”

Grilled Pineapple Salad

Have fun with the menu.

Lots of foods are grill-able, and consider broadening the barbey beyond burgers and hot dogs. Chef Michael suggests smoking freshly-shucked oysters on the grill for 2-3 minutes, top dressed with fruit wood. Or make a Grilled Pineapple Salad, Chef Michael’s “all-time favourite.” For drinks, seared lemon or lime make great garnishes, or whip up a pitcher of grilled lemonade. Best of all, barbecued fruits work beautifully as a fiery dessert.

“Use the grilled fruit component as a simple dessert,” says Chef Michael. “Big thick rings of grilled pineapple served with some kind of funky ice cream. I like to grind up fresh cilantro and sugar in a food processor, and then sprinkle it onto grilled pineapple — delicious stuff!”

Chill out.

Last but not least, invite plenty of friends and family, and “don’t worry so much about the food.”

“It’s really about who’s at the table, not what’s on the table,” says Chef Michael.

All this talk of food got you hungry? Check out Michael Smith’s Best Seafood Recipes.

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.

10 Fun Facts About Kids BBQ Championship Host Camila Alves

On the series premiere of Kids BBQ Championship, eight talented young grill masters will be battling for the chance to win a $20,000 cash prize and the coveted title of champion. Mentoring and judging them through all the challenges will be winner of Food Network Star season 11 Eddie Jackson and newcomer Camila Alves.

Here are 10 fun facts about our newest Food Network star.

1. Camila was born in Minas Gerais, Brazil. She first came to America when she was 15 years old. After falling in love with Los Angeles, she decided to stay permanently.

2. Food Network star Rachael Ray helped Camila cook her first fish. Camila says she’d often watch Rachael on the channel, and go to the bookstore and look through her cookbooks to get recipe ideas.

Getty Images

Getty Images
Getty Images

3. She’s the wife of Academy-Award winner Matthew McConaughey. They met in 2007 before getting married in 2012. They have three children together: Levi, Vida and Livingston.

4. Her and her family live in Austin, Texas, home to countless barbecue joints every smoked-meat and grill-loving person on the planet needs to eat at! It’s no wonder they called her up to co-host a show like Kids BBQ Championship.

5. The one food item she absolutely cannot live without is a juicy rib-eye steak. “My body literally craves it,” she tells Food Network.

6. Move over Goop, Camila has launched her own lifestyle and DIY website, Women Of Today. It’s chock full of tips, kid-friendly recipes, crafts and beauty posts for busy moms and women around the globe.

7. This is not her first rodeo. Camila, a former model, has hosted other programs including Shear Genius, a hair-styling competition show that ran in 2007.

8. Even better, Camila has already experience judging kids. Ted Allen invited her to be a guest judge on an episode of Chopped Junior, where the young chefs were tasked with creating a dish using cereal and meat.

9. Camila is crafty! Her and her mother started making handbags, and eventually launched Muxo, a collection of handmade bags designed by the duo themselves.

10.  She loves to give back. Her and her husband Matthew co-founded the Just Keep Living Foundation, dedicated to empowering high school students by providing them with the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices. Right now, JKL is featured in 24 schools across the U.S.

Catch the series premiere of Kids BBQ Championship Sunday, May 29 at 8 E/P.

12 Great BBQ Joints in Canada

There isn’t a time of year where a good plate of barbecue doesn’t feel right. Here are a few spots to hit up across Canada where you can find authentic Southern-style barbecue and some smoky, finger-lickin’ good meals.

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Brisket Burnt Ends (left) and Pecan Pie (right) from Barque Smokehouse

Barque Smokehouse (Toronto, ON)

There’s a lot to love about Barque — from their lively yet family-friendly atmosphere and wide array of Southern-inspired dishes that aren’t afraid to step outside the box (try the Cuban corn, that’s grilled and finished with feta and lime). The Sunday night dinners offer up an abundance of barbecued goods perfect for sharing with friends. And their brunch? Well, who could say no to Barque’s spin on eggs benny with cornbread, barbecue hollandaise and beef brisket?

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John Catucci Visits Big T’s BBQ and Smokehouse on an Episode of You Gotta Eat Here!

Big T’s BBQ and Smokehouse (Calgary, AB)

A Calgary favourite (and You Gotta Eat Here! alum owned), this barbecue spot now has two locations, as well as a stand at the Calgary Farmers’ Market. You can buy all sorts of Big T’s smoked meats like sausages and bacon or, in my opinion, one of the best breakfast sandwiches in the city, topped with brisket, homemade barbecue sauce and all the fixings.

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Burnt End Poutine from Boneheads BBQ

Boneheads BBQ (Halifax, NS)

What do you mean there’s no lobster on the menu? This is Halifax! Some may scream East Coast blasphemy, but I’m sure if we stuffed some pulled chicken or bacon-wrapped jalapeno peppers in their mouths, there wouldn’t be much complaining. Save some room for dessert here, as the lemon lime icebox pie will call out to you like the sirens to Odysseus.

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Pile of Ribs via Bookers Barbecue + Crab Shack

Bookers Barbecue + Crab Shack (Calgary, AB)

Bookers’ fairly extensive menu goes well beyond the sandwich or smoked meat platters, covering everything from appetizers (like deep-fried pickles!) to crab and shrimp boils, and jambalaya. Any Calgarian will tell you that Sunday night is the best day of the week to visit Bookers, where you can opt for either all-you-can-eat crab or ribs.

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Electric Mud via BlogTO

Electric Mud (Toronto, ON)

Sister restaurant to the taco-centric Grand Electric, Mud is all about embracing Southern cuisine and having a little fun with it. Shrimp and grits, pork ribs and smoked sausage links make for a perfectly meaty start here, but don’t forget to order a side of pickled green tomatoes and charred broccoli salad with red eye gravy for something a little less conventional.

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Kitchen Sink Spud from Hogtown Smoke 

Hogtown Smoke (Toronto, ON)

With a bricks and mortar location on Queen Street East, as well as a food truck by the same name roaming the streets, chances are you’ve stumbled by Hogtown more than once this summer. While the food truck can only offer so much on the menu, look to the restaurant to get a more intense barbecue fix with dishes like the Jack Daniels pulled pork grilled cheese, brisket and pulled pork chili and gigantic beef ribs.

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Pig Out Platter from Hogtown Smoke

Le Boucan Smokehouse (Montreal, QC)

If you find yourself in Montreal and craving some smoked meat (not the deli kind that the city is famous for) and whisky, then Le Boucan should be on your dining agenda. Expect to be served fairly traditional barbecue in a hipster-chic environment, with a nice selection of whiskies and bourbons to choose from.

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Lovey’s BBQ via Bake Eat and Grow/Wordpress

Lovey’s BBQ (Winnipeg, MB)

Head to Lovey’s for a casual meal or grab some barbecue to take home for the family. The smoked chicken wings, brisket, pulled pork, farmer’s sausage and “burnt ends” (essentially the really crispy bits found on the edges of a well-smoked brisket), are all available by the pound to go.

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Meat via Eating is the Hard Part

Meat (Edmonton, AB)

Located just off of the busy strip that is Whyte Avenue, this slightly upscale meat-centric restaurant (if the name didn’t tip you off) serves up those big, smoky flavours of the south in a slick-looking room. No matter what you decide to eat, make sure to slather it in their house-made sauces, and wrap your meal up with one of Meat’s popular Bourbon Banana Splits.

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Memphis Blue Barbeque House via Sean’s Adventures in Flavor Town/Wordpress

Memphis Blues Barbeque House (Kelowna, BC)

Okanagan wineries may steal the limelight in this area of the country, but downtown Kelowna has got some gems too. Just a few blocks from the water, you’ll find this busy establishment serving up their take on Southern barbecue with big, messy brisket and pulled pork sandwiches with sides of pit beans. Grab some food to go and enjoy the sunshine on the beach — but remember to bring some napkins with you!

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Re-Up BBQ via Sean’s Adventures in Flavor Town/Wordpress

Re-Up BBQ (New Westminster, BC)

Originally a food cart in downtown Vancouver, Re-up BBQ made quite the name for itself before relocating and upgrading to a food counter/commissary outside of the city centre. Pop by for a big bucket of fried chicken, some Southern sweet tea, house-made cola (say, what?) and much more.

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Schryer’s Smoked BBQ Shack vua Facebook

Schryer’s Smoked BBQ Shack (Saskatoon, SK)

You’ll have to drive through the North industrial area of the city to enjoy these barbecued goods, but once you arrive, you’ll see it was worth the journey. Find anything to fit your appetite here, from pulled pork to smoked chicken and everything in-between, including their signature Schryer’s Fries that are topped with smoked meat, barbecue sauce and slaw.

Dan-Clapson-Avatar Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.