There is a lot of outdoor cooking time left in the eastern Canadian fall. As the air continues to cool, your barbecue grilling cooking times will lengthen and your grilled food-to-table timing should shorten.
This may sound obvious and simplistic, but it is actually being aware and acting on the obvious that makes a great cook/chef/host. It’s a great time to review some quick and logical tips about maximizing flavour when working with heat, through this barbecue grilling guide.
- Source and choose fresh, juicy foods. Lots of times that means working with seasonal ingredients produced close to home.
- Use quality equipment and utensils. Ask for directions! Quality kitchen and outdoor kitchen stores can speak to your quality execution.
- Cook even-sized pieces of food.
- Watch, check, listen, smell, taste, think about and touch your food. Use all your senses, even your sixth sense! Replace your battered BBQ gloves with new, safe ones.
- Rotate/flip/circulate/stir. Maximize even heat on your BBQ grill but don’t overdo it. Work the grill like a chess game but know when to let the food BE too.
- Follow recipe guidelines, but do NOT follow recipes verbatim. Be flexible with temperatures and time based on the conditions of your day, ingredients and equipment.
- Test for doneness. Done is DONE. Done is not overdone or underdone. Find the sweet spot.
- Hot food can continue to cook even after it is removed form the heat source. Factor heat and heat retention into your serving times. Have tinfoil and warm plates ready.
- Be organized. Organization uses your time to good advantage.
- Use common sense. Trust your instincts. Your BBQ is speaking to you! Your food and BBQ are giving you cues!
- Make the BBQ work for you. Pre-warm that BBQ to the ideal temperature but not over-hot! Moistness loves low, medium, or medium-high heat and indirect heat. Blasting BTUs are usually not your friend.
- You are only as good as your last BBQ cleaning. Clean it regularly.
- Engage and disengage. The grill-master can enjoy the party but the number one priority is the food. Set a timer…set a reminder person…set your mind to the hot BBQ even while being hospitable.
- Develop a repertoire of seasonings, sauces, salsas and juicy sides. Cooking classes can help here too! Trust your taste buds and create! Make-it-your-own seasonings and sides can help disguise some small barbecue grilling mistakes and elevate your cooking to a new level.