Tag Archives: bbq

Big Food Bucket List Burgers

The Best Burgers: John Catucci’s Picks for 2019

With a job that takes him to some of the best spots and hidden gem restaurants across North America in search of crave-worthy dishes, John Catucci knows what it takes for a burger to be great.

In the first season of Big Food Bucket List, he gets to explore fresh and unusual takes — from a sweet and savoury version using a classic Chinese snack to a place that glazes their bacon strips with yellow mustard — to more standard versions of the beloved hamburger.

The only thing Catucci’s favourite burgers have in common? They all feature a beef patty (or several) on some sort of bun. Beyond that, only the chef’s creativity is the limit — even if it’s a version that honours the burger in its most classic form.

At Hamilton’s Hambrgr, the burger patties are made from a mix of chuck and inside round beef cuts, giving them a lot of juice and flavour. That signature mix is formed into a ball before it gets smashed against the sizzling hot flat-top grill, causing a Maillard reaction — similar to caramelization — that creates a golden crust. Those patties are paired with slices of bacon slathered with standard yellow mustard before they’re grilled on the flat top — adding an extra level of tang to the meaty #Hamont creation.

Hamont Burger Hamburgr

Get the recipe for The #HAMONT Burger

Burgers cooked on a flat top, especially with processed cheese, have a flavour that just can’t be recreated, says Catucci. “There’s something about that thin, flat, smashed Maillard effect… and the processed cheese that works so perfectly. It’s everything you want in a burger,” says Catucci. But, for nostalgia’s sake, Catucci likes a good charbroiled version. “It reminds me of the burger place my parents would take me to as a kid. That’s the flavour of childhood.”

Related: Big Food Bucket List Restaurant Locator

Hodad’s in San Diego comes by their relatively classic take on a burger honestly. Now owned by the third generation of the same family, this spot has been dishing up burgers for decades. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t done some tinkering. Forget slices of bacon, Hodad’s creates a patty from the salty pork to slide between their smashed beef patties — however many you’d like. “It’s a delicious mess,” says Catucci. “Your shirt is going to be ruined, but you’re going to be happy.”

Hodad's Burger
Hodad’s Double Bacon Cheeseburger

When it comes to burger toppings, Catucci goes for the standards: lettuce, tomato, mustard and relish. But he appreciates a burger that goes off the beaten path for condiments. There is no rivalry between classic and inventive for the Bucket List host — all burgers are welcome.

That’s one of the reasons why Catucci likes what Patois in Toronto is doing. At this spot, known for bringing foods and flavours from different cultures together, the burger veers from any classic version. First, there’s no ordinary mayo spread on their signature Chinese Pineapple Bun Burger, it’s oyster mayo. And the smashed patty is topped with not just lettuce and tomato, but a handful of smoky potato sticks for salty crunch. What really sets this burger apart, though, is a sweet Chinese pineapple bun takes the place of a regular version, creating a salty-sweet concoction. “It almost tastes like steak,” says Catucci. “It’s unlike any other burger I’ve had.”

Patois Chinese Bun Burger

Get the recipe for Patois’ Chinese Pineapple Bun Burger

Meanwhile, at Saltie Girl in Boston, MA, traditional bacon is replaced with a slab of golden-crusted pork belly for their namesake burger, which also eschews American cheese for gruyere and gets a spicy kick from their ‘Angry Sauce’ spiked with sriracha. No smashing here, the fist-sized patty is cooked in cast iron to get a nice crust and the whole thing is capped off with deep-fried chunks of lobster.

Get the recipe for Saltie Girl Burger

It’s juicy patty and size leaves Catucci needing more than one napkin. “It’s a complete mess of a burger, but that’s part of what makes it a bucket list, he says.”

While the burgers on this round of Big Food Bucket List are generally beef based, Catucci says he’s enjoyed several veggie or vegan burgers in his travels and he hopes to see even more in the near future as restaurants expand their offerings. “It’s amazing what you can do (with veggie burgers),” he says, noting there is still an appetite for vegetable versions that echo of their meaty counterparts. (The Beyond Meat version, for example, is making serious inroads.) “I’m hoping if there’s another season, I’ll get to eat more of those, for sure.”

Watch Big Food Bucket List Fridays at 9 PM and 9:30 PM ET.

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? 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 must-know tips for grilling safely this BBQ season!



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

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.

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).

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.

Related: 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.

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.

5 Budget-Friendly Cuts of Beef and How to Cook Them

As grocery prices mount, it’s a bonus to find cheaper alternatives, especially when it comes to meat. One area where you can save big and find some great new favourites is by seeking out inexpensive cuts of beef, a typically higher-priced protein. These new cuts of beef are as delectable and easy to cook as some of your old standbys, but far more affordable. Before you head to the butcher this week, take note of what to ask for and how to cook it with this handy guide.

chuck-steak-in-pan

7-Bone Steak or Chuck Steak

Often thought of as the ground meat in a good burger, chuck steak is akin to a rib steak in its fattiness and makes an excellent, cheaper alternative cut. If prepared correctly, it provides the perfect balance of marbling and highly flavourful meat. Because it contains bones, you’ll also benefit from the richness they impart.

How to Cook: Best marinated to tenderize, this steak yields greatest results when grilled over high temperature just to medium-rare doneness – overcooking will lead to a chewy, dry steak.

Bavette Steak

Also called a flap steak, this cut comes from the bottom of the sirloin. This inexpensive option boasts major flavour and benefits from being marinated and scored as you would a flank steak.

How to Cook: After grilling it should be seared at a high heat for a short time and rested before slicing against the grain. A perfect cut for a steak salad, sandwiches or tacos.

Petite Filet with Wasabi CreamGet the recipe for The Pioneer Woman’s Petite Filet with Wasabi Cream.

Shoulder Tender or Petit Tender

The consequence of being difficult to cut from the animal, the shoulder tender is an underused piece of beef. Similar to filet mignon and pork tenderloin, only more flavourful, it’s a very tender cut of beef weighing about 8 to 12 oz. Like pork tenderloin, it occasionally has a silverskin that can be easily cut away.

How to Cook: Try it seared and finished in the oven, cut into medallions and grilled or cut into strips for a fast stir-fry. It’s best cooked no further than medium to maintain tenderness.

Merlot Steak

Perfect for grilling, broiling and stir-frying, the merlot cut is known for its flavour, but is also a lean steak, making it one that needs proper attention to avoid dryness and toughening.

How to Cook: It’s recommended to cook this cut over high heat for only a few minutes per side, which helps maintain flavour and tenderness. Like the shoulder tender, keep this steak below medium doneness.

oyster-steak-with-chrimp

Oyster Steak

The oyster steak’s higher fat content and exposure to air means bigger, beefier taste. It’s called oyster steak because this cut’s interesting fat pattern looks a bit like an oyster shell.

How to Cook: Deeply flavourful, this little 6 oz gem is another steak benefiting from higher temperature for a shorter period of time, about 3 minutes per side.

Get ready for barbecue season with our essential tips for grilling any cut of steak perfectly.

Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebabs, Two Ways (Skewers and Sliders!)

Heat up your BBQ menu with a little help from these grilled lamb koftas. These juicy kabobs are made with a ton of fresh herbs and a dash of spice, before being threaded on a skewer and grilled. Serve it as I did here with an unbelievably fresh-tasting tabbouleh salad and you’ve got a pretty stunning summer meal. While I’m aware my variation on this salad may get tabbouleh enthusiasts furling their brow, the addition of torn grilled pitas and crunchy baked chickpeas is beyond worth venturing off the path. You can also use the same lamb mixture and shape into mini patties for a take on the ultimate summer favourite — the almighty slider. Smear on a spoonful of hummus, some thinly sliced cucumber for an open-faced version.

Grilled-Lamb-Kofka

Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebabs

Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 9 skewers or sliders

Ingredients:

1 lbs ground lamb
½ large onion, minced
½ cup parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ Tbsp harissa
1 tsp ground cumin
Black pepper

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine ground lamb with the rest of the ingredients. Form ¼ cup-sized portions into an oval shape and thread onto a metal or soaked bamboo skewer. Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.

2. Cook on a medium-heat BBQ and grill kofta kabobs until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.

Tabbouleh Salad With Baked Chickpeas and Grilled Pita

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup olive oil + extra
1 Tbsp harissa
2 large pieces of pita bread, grilled
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
½ cup bulgur
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 cup cucumber, chopped
1 cup parsley, chopped
¼ cup mint, chopped
⅓ red onion, minced
¼ cup sliced black olives (optional)
½ cup lemon juice

Related: Healthy Middle Eastern Recipes You’ll Make on Repeat

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse and drain chickpeas and pat dry. Toss with olive oil and harissa and bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring once at halfway point.

2. Brush pita bread with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill on both sides until crispy.

3. Combine bulgur and 1 cup warm water in a bowl and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse thoroughly and transfer to a large bowl along with remaining ingredients and toss to combine.

Lamb Kofta Sliders

Lamb-Kofka-Sliders-Mini-Pita

Ingredients:

1 lbs ground lamb
½ large onion, minced
½ cup parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ Tbsp harissa
1 tsp ground cumin
Black pepper
Mini pitas
½ cup hummus
½ large cucumber, sliced thin

Related: Recipes That Prove Harissa Paste Belongs in All Your Meals

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine ground lamb with onion, parsley, olive oil, harissa, cumin and black pepper. Form into ⅓ cup-sized patties. Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.

2. Cook on a medium-heat BBQ and grill lamb kofta sliders until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, brush mini pitas with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill until warmed through.

4. Spread pitas with hummus and top with sliced cucumber and lamb. Garnish with more chopped parsley and a sprinkle of harissa.

Published May 27, 2015, Updated May 29, 2018

These Are the 5 Best Meatless BBQ Skewers You’ll Ever Eat

Standard grilled vegetable skewers grow old pretty quick. That’s why we’ve developed five creative, crowd-pleasing vegan versions worthy of any backyard BBQ. We promise they’ll satisfy even the most discerning palates.

1. Candied Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprout Skewers with Red Onion

Brussels sprouts aren’t your typical BBQ fare, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how incredibly flavourful and gorgeous they are. Think of them as vegetable lollipops that have been caramelized in sweet maple and balsamic. You can also feel good knowing that you’re eating one of the most nutritious veggies out there. Cue the cravings!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:
1 lb brussels sprouts, halved
1/2 red onion, sliced into 1-inch squares
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt

Toppings:
Drizzle of maple syrup
Squeeze of lemon juice
Chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, toss in the brussels sprouts for 1 minute until tender. Remove them, rinse under cold water and pat dry with a towel.
2. Place the brussels sprouts in a bowl with red onion and the rest of the ingredients, toss so the veggies are well coated in the marinade.
3. Arrange the sprouts onto the skewers with red onion in between them – there should be about 4 brussels sprouts per skewer. If using wooden skewers, soak them first. 

4. Pour any remaining marinade left in the bowl over the skewers.
5. Place the skewers onto your BBQ or grill that’s set to medium heat. Cover and grill for about 5 minutes per side, until a nice browning forms.
6. Brush with a little extra maple syrup, a squeeze of lemon juice, fresh parsley and enjoy.

2. Tofu Peanut Satay and Cucumber Skewers Topped with Toasty Peanuts and Fresh Mint

Peanuts, tofu and coconut are a classic combination, and when paired with crisp cucumber ribbons and fresh mint, you get an unbelievably refreshing summertime dish. The satay sauce is creamy, sweet, zesty and salty – we recommend generously drizzling it all over your skewers.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 block firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 English cucumber, peeled into long thin ribbons

Tofu Marinade:
1 Tbsp peanut butter
3 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 clove garlic, minced

Satay Sauce:
1/4 cup coconut milk
3 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)
2 tsp maple syrup
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes or dash of hot sauce (optional)
Pinch of sea salt

Toppings:
1/2 cup toasted peanuts, roughly chopped
1 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped

Directions:
1. Make the marinade in a bowl and let the tofu sit in it for 10-15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, wash off the cucumber well. Use a vegetable peeler to peel long, thin ribbons, going from top to bottom. You should have 16 long cucumber ribbons. You will have leftover cucumber, so slice it into sticks to snack on.
3. Stir together the ingredients for the satay sauce until smooth.
4. Thread the marinated tofu onto skewers. If you’re using wooden skewers,  make sure you soak them first.
5. Place your skewers onto your BBQ or grill that’s set to medium heat and lightly oil with about 2-3 teaspoons of coconut oil. Grill the tofu for 3-4 minutes per side until you see a nice browning.

6. Once cooked, carefully remove the tofu from the skewers, except for one tofu cube. Then begin threading on the cucumber ribbons, interchanging between tofu and cucumber. You’ll need to fold the cucumber back and forth several times so that it’s easy to thread onto the skewer.
7. 
Top with chopped peanuts, satay drizzle and mint leaves. You can also dip each skewer into the satay sauce.

3. Coconut Crusted Tempeh Skewers with Mango Salsa

Tempeh is often a mysterious ingredient, and many people aren’t quite sure how to cook it. This is the perfect recipe if you’re new to the tempeh game – or if you’ve been eating it for years. The coconut provides a nice crisp coating and the mango salsa adds a refreshing, sweet and zesty component.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:
1 brick of tempeh, sliced into 1-inch cubes

Tempeh Marinade:
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 1/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt

Mango Salsa:
1 mango, cubed
1 green onion, sliced thinly
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lime, juiced
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of pepper

Topping:
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
1. Melt the coconut oil and whisk together with coconut milk.
2. In a separate dish, like a wide bowl or pie plate, combine the shredded coconut, sesame seeds and sea salt.
3. Slice the tempeh into cubes, dip them in the coconut liquid mixture and then into the coconut coating, place them on a plate.



4. Repeat until all cubes are well coated. Work quickly so the coconut oil doesn’t harden, then thread the tempeh onto skewers. If you’re using wooden skewers, make sure you soak them first.
5. Heat your grill or BBQ to medium and oil well with coconut oil.
6. Place the tempeh on your grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, don’t cover the grill. The coconut coating on the tempeh will burn if it’s left on the grill too long, so don’t overdo it.
7. Meanwhile, combine the salsa ingredients together.
8. Garnish the tempeh skewers with fresh cilantro and serve with mango salsa on the side.

4. Sticky Cauliflower “Wing” Skewers with Sesame Seeds

This is a really creative and delicious way to eat more cauliflower: a versatile and superfood vegetable that’s rich in antioxidants. Although there’s a bit of prep work before these skewers hit the grill, the sticky, sweet and spicy result is worth every minute. While we offer a simple BBQ sauce recipe, you can always swap for store-bought.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:
1 small head of cauliflower, chopped in large sized florets (approx. 4 cups)

Cauliflower Marinade:
1 cup spelt or all purpose gluten-free flour
1 cup dairy-free milk
1/4 tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper

BBQ Sauce:
1 cup crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp molasses
4 tsp tamari
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 tsp hot sauce (add to your preference)
1 tsp garlic powder
Pinch sea salt

Toppings:
2 green onions, sliced
Handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Chop the cauliflower into large florets.
3. Combine the flour, milk, sea salt and pepper in a bowl, whisk until smooth and thick.
4. Coat each cauliflower floret into the flour mixture and place on the baking sheets – don’t overcrowd them. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until crisp on the outside.

5. Meanwhile, make the BBQ sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring it to a simmer and let cook for 15 minutes, stirring every so often, until it thickens.
6. Let the cauliflower cool, then drizzle the BBQ sauce over and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Save some sauce to be served on the side of the skewers.
7. Place 3 to 4 cauliflower florets on a skewer. If you’re using wooden skewers, make sure you soak them first.
8. Heat your grill to medium and oil it well. Place the cauliflower on the grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side, no need to cover.
9. Remove from the grill and top with chopped green onions and cilantro. Sprinkle some extra sesame seeds over top. Serve extra BBQ sauce on the side.

5. Pineapple, Banana, Strawberry Skewers with Salted Chocolate Drizzle

Grilled fruit is the perfect summertime dessert. We love the combination of caramelized bananas, jam-like strawberries and sweet pineapple, but feel free to use your favourite fruit or better yet, whatever is in season.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients:
2 cups pineapple, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 -inch cubes
2 bananas, sliced into 1 1/2-inch thick circles
8 strawberries
2 tsp coconut oil
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut

Directions:
1. Thread the pineapple cubes, banana circles and whole strawberries onto your skewers. If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them first.
2. Turn the grill to medium and rub the fruit with coconut oil to prevent them from sticking.
3. Place the fruit skewers on the grill and cook for 2 minutes per side, uncovered.
4. Remove the fruit from the grill and place on a plate.

5. Make the salted chocolate drizzle by heating the chocolate chips, coconut oil and sea salt in a double boiler. Continue to stir the chocolate until it becomes creamy, then drizzle it right over the fruit.
6. If you don’t drizzle it all over top, serve on the side for extra dipping.
7. Sprinkle toasted shredded coconut on top, and voila!

Craving more warm-weather recipes? Check out these 20 Foods to Keep You Hydrated This Summer.

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.

grilled-steak-and-papaya-salad

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.

Great Canadian Burger

Get Ready To Taste The Great Canadian Burger

This weekend, celebrate Canada’s extra-special birthday with a big, bold burger. Wildly delicious, moose is a lean meat endless in versatility. And this recipe brings the majestic animal out of the woods and onto your barbecue in the tastiest way possible. The key to juicy moose is to mix it with Alberta beef before it hits the grill. Slather in wild blueberry and red onion jam for a crave-worthy-burger that’ll make you proud to be Canadian.

Great Canadian Burger

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp wild blueberry jam
1 lb(s) ground moose meat
1/2 lb(s) medium ground beef
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 ciabatta buns
1/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup baby arugula, lightly packed

Directions:
1. Heat butter in a small pan over medium. Add in red onion and cook until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add in vinegar and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in blueberry jam and simmer for 5 minutes or until mixture is thick.
2. Combine moose meat, ground beef and salt in a bowl. Divide meat into 4 portions and form patties using your hands. Pack tightly, but do not overwork meat.
3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add in oil and gently place burgers down. Cook until a golden brown crust forms, about 4 minutes per side.
4. Cut ciabatta buns in half. Smear 1 Tbsp of Greek yogurt on to the bottom of each bun. Place burger on top of yogurt. Divide onion jam among burgers. Top with arugula and close with top bun.

Watch this Burger Edition of You Gotta Eat Here! where host John Catucci enjoys some of the craziest burgers out there.

perfect bbq chicken tips

8 Tips for Making the Best Barbecued Chicken Ever

Chicken is one of this most popular items to grill during BBQ 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

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.

Related: Best BBQ Chicken Marinades

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.

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Peach Glaze

Get the recipe for Bobby Flay’s Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Peach Glaze

6. Get Saucy at the End
Many BBQ 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 Thermometer
It’s difficult to tell when chicken is cooked by looking or touching it. Use a meat thermometer 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.

Your Guide to Grilling Game Meat Like an All-Star

Game on: A spot in the Top Chef Canada: All-Stars finale came down to the competitors knowing their way around wild game and a grill. The grill is easy to master, and eager Canadians cook this way year round. Game meats, on the other hand, are tricky. Unlike beef, pork and poultry, game meats are incredibly lean and, therefore, easy to overcook, which means the difference between a juicy piece of meat and something akin to cardboard are not far apart when it comes to grilling.


Dennis Tay grilling up bison in Episode 9.

Keep a few tricks in mind when throwing these on the grill and you’ll have a winning meal. First, let’s break down the three most common game meats — cooked up on last night’s episode — and some of their best cuts.

Bison, the most common game meat, is easily found in butcher shops and even chain grocery stores these days. In the winter, braised short ribs or slow-cooked roasts are the way to go, but tenderloin and striploin steaks are where it’s at for summer grilling. Of course, the richly flavoured meat also makes a fine burger.

Bison-Steak-Getty
This bison steak looks very similar to a beef steak.

Like beef, bison steaks are great when grilled. Try this recipe for Grilled Bison with a White Currant BBQ Sauce.

Blair-Lebsack-Grilled-Bison
Grilled Bison with White Currant BBQ Sauce

Short ribs aren’t just for slow braising in colder weather. Bobby Flay shows how to grill up some sweet and spicy bison short ribs, complete with a matching barbecue sauce. Get Bobby Flay’s recipe for Spice Rubbed Bison Short Ribs with Orange Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce.

QF0302H_spice-rubbed-grilled-american-bison-short-ribs-with-orange-honey-chipotle-bbq-sauce-recipe
Bobby Flay’s Bison Short Ribs

How about a surf and turf bison burger, topped with crab and a spicy banana pepper jam? Get the You Gotta Eat Here! recipe for the Wild Fennel Bison Burger.

You-Gotta-Eat-Here-Big-Feast-Bison-Burger
Wild Fennel Bison Burger

Venison — meat that comes from deer — is often thought to be quite, well, gamey. Meat from wild deer does tend to be, but that from farm-raised venison, which is what we see in butcher shops, is less so. The flavour can be beef-like, but is generally richer. Incredibly lean, when it comes to grilling, it’s best to stick to steaks or the tenderloin.

Venison-Steak-Getty
This venison steak is extremely lean and has a rich red colour.

Simplicity showcases the meat at its best with this straightforward recipe for a rack of venison. Get Martin Picard’s recipe for Grilled Rack of Deer with Rosemary.

Martin-Picard-Grilled-Rack-of-Deer-Rosemary
Grilled Rack of Deer with Rosemary

Summer isn’t the same without at least one round of burgers on the grill. Switch out the standard beef for venison for this recipe from You Gotta Eat Here!

Boar is similar to its relative the pig, in both flavour and texture. The difference is that the meat tends to be darker in colour and is slightly richer. A larger animal than its pig counterpart, expect bigger cuts. Chops are great for grilling.

Wild-Boar-Chops-Getty
These look like well-sized pork chops but they’re actually wild boar chops.

Elk, although not one of the ingredients the final four chefs were tasked to cook with, it’s also a great game meat. While similar to venison — cooking tips are the same for both — elk has a cleaner, almost slightly sweet, flavour. Its meat is dark red, almost like beef, and very tender. Roasts and steaks are some of the best cuts.

For an elk loin, Top Chef Canada Season 2 winner Carl Heinrich uses the technique of roasting the meat in the oven before transferring to the grill. Get Carl Heinrich’s recipe for Roasted Elk Loin.

Carl-Heinrich-roasted-elk-loin
Carl Heinrich’s Roasted Elk Loin

Because game meats are lean, the main trick for grilling them is not to cook past rare or medium-rare. When cooked past that point, the meat will become dry and chewy — not a Top Chef Canada-worthy result. For venison and bison, that means taking the meat off when it has an internal temperature of 120°F to 125°F; wild boar should be removed from the grill at 145°F.

Starting the meat in the oven with a quick roast, then using the grill to get that signature flavour and markings are a good way to keep the meat from overcooking. As is brining or marinating first, using wet rubs or wrapping game meats in bacon, which will help keep them from drying out.

Looking for more ideas? Learn the rules of the game from our 11 Tips for Grilling Great Game Meat.

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

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