5 tips for an amazing barbecue

5 tips for an amazing barbecue

© Business Images Image by: © Business Images Author: Canadian Living


5 tips for an amazing barbecue

No summer is complete without friends and family enjoying a warm breeze, good conversation and mouthwatering grub cooked on an open grill. Not only does grilling keep your home's energy costs down, it also allows you to spend time outdoors in the fresh air and gives your food a unique taste that can only be achieved with a grill.

So whether you're a suburbanite with a spacious backyard and mammoth barbecue or an urban-dweller with a mini-grill on your balcony, you can still get the ultimate summer foodie experience. Here are some summer barbecue tips that'll make your food better than you ever knew it could be.

1. Preparing the grill

"Grill preparation is a very important step that many people overlook," says Rob Rainford, former Food Network host and author of Born to Grill (Random House, 2012). The first thing to do is grab some long grilling gloves to protect your hands, then turn the grill up to high. Take a metal brush and scrape down the grill to rid it of any debris or food left over from another meal. Once that's complete, turn off the grill and rub the grates down with olive or vegetable oil to prevent sticking. 

2. Steak

"When it comes to steak, you'll want to put it on direct heat at about 400-450 degrees," advises Rainford. If you can't easily tell when a steak is cooked through, buy an internal probe to stick in the meat to determine the internal temperature (it should be at least 130 degrees). Once cooked to desired tenderness, remove from grill and place on a plate, cover in foil and let sit for five to 10 minutes before serving.

Best cut: Rainford claims rib-eye steaks to be the best cut when it comes to grilling. "Rib-eyes have the best marbling, which is important because the little bit of fat keeps the juices within the meat while it's on the grill," he says. 

Tricks of the trade: To give your steak a professional look, Rainford suggests placing it on the grill at a 12 o'clock angle, then rotating to a 3 o'clock angle to get diamond marks before flipping once.

Seasonings: For grilled steaks, Rainford likes to use what he calls the 'Rainford Twist' -- 3/4 rosemary and 1/4 thyme for a fragrant and earthy seasoning.

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover great tips for barbecuing with chicken and fish on page 2.
3. Chicken

"Cooking chicken doesn't need to make you nervous, especially when heating on a high-temperature grill," assures Rainford. "Just take an internal probe and make sure the middle of the meat is cooked to a high enough temperature to avoid any sort of contamination." Breast meat should be cooked to 170 degrees to ensure no salmonella is present, 180 degrees for thighs, and should be grilled on direct heat and then indirect, to avoid drying out.

Poultry seasoning: "When it comes to seasoning chicken, the combinations are endless and it really depends on your personal preference," says Rainford. His favourite poultry seasoning is a mixture of smoked paprika, chili, garlic powder and sage. 

Perfect pairings: "It's all about preference, but there's nothing like chicken paired with a cold beer like a pilsner in the summertime," says Rainford. To give the chicken itself a subtle beer flavour, place a drip tray filled with your favourite ale under the meat so the flavours rise in the steam.

4. Fish

"Fish is a little bit trickier to determine when it's fully cooked as the filets are thinner and it's easy to over-grill," warns Rainford. While fish doesn't have the same airborne germs that chicken might have, it should still be cooked to a temperature of about 140 degrees. Keep a sharp eye on the grill though, as a fish like tuna could easily be ruined by an internal temperature of 150 degrees.

Simple seasonings: "I like the taste of fish to speak for itself -- you don't need to overpower it with seasonings," says Rainford. For a subtle flavor, he rubs the grill with olive oil and sprinkles a pinch of salt and pepper over the filet. Keep in mind that the outside of the filet needs to sear before flipping, or the skin will stick to the grill.

Best grilling fish: Rainford suggests many varieties of fish that are excellent for tossing on the grill in the summer -- mackerel, tuna, salmon, mahi mahi and sea bass to name a few. "Fish is a perfect, light summer grilling meat, especially when paired with a cold wine, like a Pinot Grigio or Riesling," he says. 

5. Desserts

While the grill is mainly used for cooking savoury meats, it can also give a nice flavour to sweets. "There are a lot of fruits that you can toss directly on the grill and then present to your guests over ice cream," says Rainford. He suggests pineapple coated in cinnamon or peaches drizzled with maple syrup and sugar for a tasty treat after dinner.

Heed these helpful barbecue tips and you won't be able to keep the guests away!

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5 tips for an amazing barbecue