Do a thorough safety check before christening a new barbecue or firing a steak on old faithful. Charcoal and gas varieties both need more than a quick wipe-down before using.
Clean-up for charcoal barbecues is minimal. Wash the kettle inside and out with warm soapy water, then follow these three easy steps:
- Clean food grate with a wire grill brush. Wash with warm soapy water and rinse. Brush grate with vegetable oil.
- Discard ashes from bottom of kettle. Fill with fresh charcoal just before using.
- Wash ash-catcher – it’s the small circular tray just below the kettle.
There are a variety of styles of gas grills, but the clean-up is basically the same:
- Replace propane hose if there are any cracks or holes.
- Clean burner tubes – insects love to nest inside them, which often leads to ignition problems. Remove knobs and screws from control panel, then lift off panel. Pull out tubes and insert a pipe cleaner or long stiff wire brush to free any blockages.
- Clean food grate with a wire grill brush. Wash with warm soapy water and rinse. Oil grate. Wash warming rack.
- Scrape up and discard accumulated “gunk” from bottom tray. Clean or replace grease catcher. Never line barbecue with foil; grease can get trapped in creases and become a fire hazard.
- Replace any broken briquettes.
- Wash lid and outside with warm soapy water. Never use oven cleaners outside or inside a barbecue. They’re packed with industrial chemicals that may remove paint and taint food during cooking.
|Get the most from your grill by treating it right:
• Routinely check and clean your barbecue throughout the season.
• Always clean the food grate after using and cover the barbecue once it’s cool with a heavy-duty cover to protect it from the elements.
• Constantly remove ashes from charcoal kettles to prevent build-up of damp ashes that cause rust and restrict airflow.
• Keep a watchful eye on gas grease trays – empty periodically.
• Keep an extra propane tank on hand to avoid those last-minute dining emergencies!
Experts have argued that there are no significant differences in taste between charcoal and gas – insisting that smoky barbecue flavour comes from juices that drip down and create smoke. So depending on your lifestyle, choose your grill accordingly:
Now that you’re all fired up, here are some barbecue must-haves to ensure safe and successful grilling.
Wide metal spatulas Good for turning burgers and fish
Long-handled tongs Handy for turning chicken, pork and lamb chops, steaks and veggies
Grill basket Perfect for grilling cut veggies and shrimp
Instant read thermometer A necessity for checking doneness of burgers and large roasts (both must be cooked to 160F/70C)
Sturdy brush Essential for basting and brushing on marinades and sauces
Long mitts and apron Vital for reaching over a hot grill and protection from saucy splashes
Water spritz-bottle Ideal for putting out sudden flare-ups
Chimney starter No-fail solution for firing up charcoal barbecues
Craving a juicy barbecued steak? Choosing the best one for the grill can be a daunting experience if you don’t know what you’re looking for or where to go. There are a wide variety of steaks on the market and all differ in price, taste and tenderness. And then there’s the lingo – supermarkets and butchers differ slightly in what they call a steak.
Supermarket savvy A few years ago, a government-approved naming system for beef cuts was designed to make identifying different cuts easier for the consumer. So at the supermarket, you’ll find packaged steaks labeled with the cut of meat followed by the appropriate cooking method. Steaks are divided into three categories: grilling steaks, marinating steaks and simmering steaks. For barbecuing, choose grilling or marinating steaks.
Butcher smarts The major difference when shopping at the butcher is that the steak name will not include a cooking method. For example, a steak labeled “rib eye grilling steak” from the grocery store will be called a “rib eye” at the butcher. Butchers mainly carry grilling and marinating steaks during barbecue season. They will also cater to your personal needs – cut an extra-thick strip loin and answer any questions about differences in cattle breeds. Some even dispense valuable grilling tips or their favourite recipe!
Steak cuts Depending on the cut, some steaks are naturally tender while others need marinating. Both can be delicious and it’s fun to experiment with different tastes and textures. Whether you take a trip to the grocer or butcher, here’s what to look for:
Grilling steaks These require no marinating but can benefit from spice rubs or sauces for a different taste. The most flavourful, tender and juicy steaks are “marbled” with thin veins of ivory-coloured fat evenly running throughout the meat.
Marinating steaks These are usually less expensive than grilling steaks and not as naturally tender. Marinating helps tenderize the meat and gives a flavour boost, too.
From cooking tips to delicious rubs, find out everything you need to know about grilling your favourite meats and veggies. Plus, get quick pointers on skewers, marinades, bastes and rubs.
Summer’s in the air, and that means it’s time to move from the dining room to the deck for relaxed outdoor meals. Choose a grilling recipe with a twist to serve as the focal point of your menu. All of these recipes are easy to prepare and have been triple-tested in the Chatelaine Test Kitchen.
Try our tasty twists on barbecue classics, plus starters and desserts that complement. All of these triple-tested recipes take 30 minutes or less to prepare, leaving you extra time on the patio with your guests.
· Marinated feta with herbed olives (refrigerate overnight)
|Beef, pork & lamb|
· Juicy Greek lamb chops (marinate overnight)
|Chicken & fish|
· Grilled tequila salmon (marinate one to four hours)
· Coriander fish kabobs (marinate four hours)
· Citrus frozen yogurt (freeze two hours)
· Aunt Dianne’s rhubarb pie (bake one hour)
· Southern honey-lime fruit salad (marinate one hour)
|Preparation||Trim any fat. Marinate or brush with oil or salad dressing.|
|Temp/time|| med , covered, 6 to 8 min. per side.
Chicken must be cooked to 170F (77C).
|Flavour perks||Serve with grilled fruit, salsa or chutney.|
|Preparation||To prevent flare-ups, trim fat. Can partially cook in microwave.|
|Temp/time|| med-low , covered, 15 to 25 min. per side. Turn often.
Chicken must be cooked to 170F (77C).
|Flavour perks||Marinate in juice and herbs or tandoori paste and yogurt. Rub with oil and spices.|
|Preparation||Use regular or medium ground beef or pork. Mix gently to avoid tough burgers.|
|Temp/time|| med , covered, 5 to 8 min. per side for 3/4-inch (2-cm) thick.
Burgers must be cooked to 160F (71C).
|Flavour perks||Mix in drained salsa and cheddar cheese. Top with sour cream, avocado, lime pickle or relish.|
|Preparation||Bring to room temperature. Trim fat. Nick edges.|
|Temp/time||med-high to high , uncovered, 5 to 6 min. per side for 1-inch (2.5-cm) thick, medium-rare.|
|Flavour perks||Rub with oil and garlic or pepper, Worcestershire sauce or hot sauce.|
|Preparation||Trim fat. Nick edges.|
|Temp/time||med-high , uncovered, 4 to 6 min. per side for medium-rare.|
|Flavour perks||Rub with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, thyme, curry paste or sesame oil.|
|Preparation||Trim fat. Nick edges.|
|Temp/time||med , covered, 6 to 8 min. per side.|
|Flavour perks||Marinate in apple juice or white wine and herbs. Rub with vindaloo or biryani paste or salad dressing.|
|Preparation||Use firm-fleshed fish such as salmon, catfish or halibut. Marinate no more than 30 min. Rub with oil.|
|Temp/time||med-high , covered, 5 to 6 min. per side for 1-inch (2.5-cm) thick.|
|Flavour perks||Rub with honey Dijon mustard, curry paste or hoisin sauce.|
|Preparation||If frozen, rinse off ice with cold water. Shell. Devein. Pat dry. Oil. Thread on skewers or place in grill basket.|
|Temp/time||med-high , uncovered, 4 to 6 min., turning partway through.|
|Flavour perks||Rub with garlic butter, frozen orange juice concentrate, biryani paste or hot sauce.|
|Preparation||Leave husks on but remove silk. Tie husks around corn. Soak in water.|
|Temp/time||med , covered, 20 to 30 min. Turn often.|
|Flavour perks||Spread with butter mashed with garlic, cumin and chili powder.|
|Preparation||Slice into 1/2-inch- (1-cm) thick rings.|
|Temp/time||med , covered, 8 to 12 min. Turn often.|
|Flavour perks||Brush with olive oil or salad dressing. Sprinkle with thyme.|
|Preparation||Seed and cut into quarters. Oil.|
|Temp/time||med-high , uncovered, 6 to 8 min. Turn often.|
|Flavour perks||Baste with balsamic vinegar, dried basil and oregano.|
|Preparation||Partially cook. Thickly slice potatoes. Thread small potatoes on skewers. Oil.|
|Temp/time||med , covered, 10 to 16 min. Turn often.|
|Flavour perks||Brush with herbed butter, flavoured oil or curry paste.|
|Preparation||Slice in half. Squeeze out seeds. Brush with oil or salad dressing.|
|Temp/time||med , uncovered, 3 to 5 min. per side.|
|Flavour perks||After turning, sprinkle with feta, goat or blue cheese.|
|Preparation||Thickly slice lengthwise. Brush with oil and cumin, chili or curry paste.|
|Temp/time||med , uncovered, 5 to 8 min. Turn often.|
|Flavour perks||Serve with pesto, garlic pickle or salsa.|
|Preparation||Thickly slice. Oil.|
|Temp/time||med , uncovered, 5 to 10 min. Turn often.|
|Flavour perks||Baste with maple syrup or honey and rum.|