Written By: Tuesday, April 18th 2017

We’re finally kicking the grilling season into high gear with the arrival of double digit temperatures.

Oh I know, some people like to stand outside all winter long in minus 15 with the snow and wind pelting them as they wait for the grill to get hot….but I am not one of them.

I am a fair weather griller and not ashamed to say it.

Most of us LOVE to BBQ.

There’s something primal about putting large slabs of bloodied meat on top of fire and making our families eat it.  (with apologies to the vegetarians in the crowd).

For most of us city slickers, its the closest we come to our cave-man beginnings.

So get out there and start cremating with a few tips and recipes from the pros.

1. Get the right grill – one of the top tips from most BBQ aficionados is GET THE RIGHT BBQ – meaning charcoal, not gas. Most of us in Canada have gas BBQ’s.

They’re quick, easy and clean but foodies, like chef Jamie Oliver will tell you charcoal is better to get that smokey flavour on the meat.

If you do choose charcoal, its recommended that you get additive-free lump charcoal, which is simply charred wood.

Conventional briquettes may contain wood scraps and sawdust as well as coal dust, sodium nitrate, borax and additives like paraffin or even lighter fluid which can all leave residue on food.

2. Make sure its hot – Preheat your grill 15 to 25 minutes before you start cooking to make sure it reaches the right temperature.

Your grill should be 400-450°F for high, 350-400°F for medium-high, 300-350°F for medium and 250-300°F for low heat.

A grill that’s properly heated will ensure the food sears and helping to keep the inside nice and moist.

If you’re using charcoal on a simple BBQ and don’t have a temperature gauge, you can still get an idea of the temperature of the grill by holding your hand over it.

Place your palm about 5 inches above the grill rack. If you have to move your hand within 2 seconds, your grill is high, medium is 5 seconds and low is 10 seconds.

3. Direct vs Indirect heat – basically the rule is if your meat takes less than 20 minutes to cook, direct heat is fine.

Anything more than that and you should be using indirect heat. Whether you’re using a Hibachi from Canadian Tire or the Big Green Egg, most outdoor cooking tastes best if you use the indirect heat technique.

According to Amazingribs.com the most common mistake is using too much direct heat.

That’s how we make hockey pucks.

If meat is exposed to very high heat for too long the proteins get their undies in a bunch and shrink, squeezing out the liquids, and the result is tough dry meat.

4. Seasonings and Marinades – be delicate when applying rubs.

If you rub seasonings hard into the food, you can damage the meat fibers and texture and run the risk of over-seasoning according to Better Homes & Gardens .

Also while marinading infuses food with lots of flavour its also an inhibitor of the formation of potentially carcinogenic properties which form when grilling ‘muscle meats’ like poultry, red meat and fish.

Marinading can reduce this formation by more than 90%

5. For the love of God – LET IT REST – while it can be hard to sit there and look at your beautiful, succulent steak when it comes off the grill, you must resist the temptation to dig in immediately.

Let your grilled meat rest on a clean platter, tented with foil, for about 10 minutes before carving so juices can redistribute evenly.

Some great BBQ recipes you may want to try this spring –

Bobby Flay’s sliders


Kansas City Ribs


Chicken legs with Caribbean BBQ rum sauce


Grilled Balsamic Vegetables