A version of this article was first written for Bota Bota, spa-sur-l’eau’s The Porthole.
We haven’t had the best of summers and although the end of it may seem close, there’s still plenty of time to make great use of your barbecue. You can basically keep grilling until the first snow, which is hopefully still very far away. To help you become a grill master or perfect your skills, I asked my 5 favourite barbecue professionals for their best tip.
David Ferguson, chef/owner Restaurant Gus, Montreal
“Let the meat come to room temperature first, 20 minutes or so, so you can have more control over the cooking. If the meat is cold and the heat high, it will char on the outside and not cook on the inside. Vice versa, if your grill is not hot enough, the meat won’t get that crispy exterior. It’s also a great idea to have a safe zone on your grill so you can move things to the side if the cooking gets out of control.”
Favourite thing to grill: butterfly whole chicken or a saddle cut.
Brian Jameson, chef de cuisine Blackstrap BBQ, Montreal
“Slow and low would be my advice. You don’t want to cook anything on a grill that’s too hot, especially if it’s a big cut of meat. For fish on the other hand, a super hot grill will sear the skin immediately so it won’t stick. It also helps to grease your fish and your grill properly.”
Favourite thing to grill: whole fish.
David McMillan, chef/owner Joe Beef, Liverpool House and Le Vin Papillon restaurants, Montreal
“Don’t be afraid of using foil. Foil is your best friend when barbecuing. You can grill a piece of meat or fish on high heat to get grill marks on it then wrap it up in foil with some aromatics and let it cook slowly so it stays juicy. Not everything has to be “grilled”; for example, mushrooms are great wrapped in foil and cooked on top of the grill. Foil is also a great way to “hold” food and keep it warm. Make a foil “basket”, fill it with your cooked meat or veggies, season with butter, olive oil and/or fresh herbs and keep it on the grill until you’re ready to eat.”
Favourite thing to grill: standing pork rack
Marc Cohen, chef and butcher Boucherie Lawrence, Montreal
“Buy on the bone meat, whether it’s steak chops or chicken wings. It will keep the meat moist and will give you a natural handle to hold the meat and eat with your hands.”
Favourite thing to grill: lamb leg steaks or lamb neck chops
Julien Hébert, chef/owner Pas d’cochon dans mon salon foodtruck, Montreal
“Slow and low is the key, take your time, have a drink with your friends, grilling is an all-day affair. Use a spray bottle with clear apple juice (or even plain water) in it to spray your meat, especially towards the end of the cooking time. It will keep the meat moist and give it a nice, slightly sweet glaze and will replace the moisture that escapes the grill every time you open it.”
Favourite thing to grill: pork ribs