Food for Thought Column: 5 tips for your next barbecue

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(NC) Get out on your deck and enjoy a delicious meal with friends and family and your grill favourites. John Thomson, Canada’s national barbecue champion, shares his tips and tricks to make sure your next feast is easy, fun and delicious.

Pick the best cuts of meat. To prepare the best dishes, you need to start with the right cuts of meat. Always look for pieces that have some marbling to them. Fat serves two purposes, adding both flavour and moisture to the meat. As it melts, fat moisturizes the meats. When the drippings hit the hot coals underneath, you add a different level of flavour. Try the Real Canadian Superstore, they carry a large selection of grilling meat, cut fresh from AAA beef, including the line of PC Free From meats that are raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones.

Brine your meats. Dry-brine your steak by sprinkling kosher salt over each side, then put it on a wire rack and let it sit in the fridge for two hours prior to cooking. 1/2 tsp of kosher salt per pound of meat is a good ratio. Pork and chicken can be wet-brined for a couple of hours in a simple brine of 4 liters of cold water, 3/4 cup of kosher salt and 2/3 cup of sugar. To increase flavour, add herbs and spices.

Keep rubs simple. Thomson’s simple go-to rub is four parts salt, two parts granulated garlic and one part black pepper. This versatile rub is great on all your classic barbecue meats and is especially good on beef. It’s also a great base if you want to develop your own rubs; simply add other ingredients like cumin, sugar, coriander seed, chili powder and ground thyme.

Try the reverse sear technique. Cook slowly and then finish on a hot grill to ensure you have tender, flavourful and eye-catching meat. Thomson calls this the reverse sear, and it’s a technique that is starting to catch on.

Use the right tools. You don’t need gadgets and gizmos, just a solid pair of barbecue tongs, a long-handled spatula and an instant-read thermometer.

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