With the warmer weather nearing, the smell of grilled food starts to waft from the backyards of Canadians from coast to coast. Barbecue season has arrived. How many of us, though, have served up tough, dried out, tasteless fare from the grill? I'm betting more than would ever admit. Alas, it doesn't have to be that way. Following a few simple suggestions will have you turning out delicious dishes from your barbecue before the crickets start to chirp.
Roasting meat on the barbecue
Roasts of all kinds can be done on your barbecue just as easily as in your oven. These helpful hints will guide you through the process from start to finish.
- Sear your roast. Always sear your roast first at a high temperature (pre-heat barbecue to 500 F). This seals in the juices and the flavour. Searing should only take about five minutes or so (you want grill marks and a nice brown colour on all sides). Reduce heat to around 325 F (low-medium) immediately after searing.
- Keep flare-ups to a minimum. Putting foil under your meat (when you turn the heat down) will keep flare-ups in check. If your barbecue is getting too hot, prop the lid open an inch or so.
- Rest your meat. This cannot be stressed enough and is often the step that gets skipped! Remove your meat from the grill and allow your roast to rest back in the kitchen for 20 minutes before carving; this allows for the final cooking of the meat as the juices are absorbed back into the meat, keeping it tender and tasty. Resting is important for steak, as well. A 1- to 2-in. steak should rest for about five minutes before serving.
Keep your costs down
A great meal from the barbecue doesn't have to be expensive. The following tips will help you keep your costs down, but still allow you to turn out mouth-watering dishes that will keep your guests coming back for more.
- Don't pay for what you don't need. Get your butcher to cut off the excess fat and skin before he weighs the meat.
- Try a cheaper cut of meat. Cuts that are less expensive can be just as tasty (if not more so) than their higher-priced counterparts. For example:
- Pork roast (picnic shoulder or Boston butt). See recipe.
- Beef brisket with a wet rub. The key is to make sure it has sugar and acid. Use cider vinegar and brown sugar, plus your favourite spices. Experiment, don't be a wimp.
- Flank steak. Marinate overnight in Kahlua and espresso with some of the tasty barbecue sauce you've made.
- Keep in mind all of these cuts should be done 'low and slow.' This means your barbecue should be barely on (remember: WARM not HOT).
- Use medium ground beef, especially for burgers. A mix of meats is even better (i.e. beef, pork, veal).