BBQ

Best BBQ Cookbooks

For many Canadians, bbq season marks the unofficial start to summer. (At least for those who aren’t grilling all year round in the snow.) For some it’s a cooking style, for others it the eponymous name for a meal, but no matter how you look at it the principals are the same. Vegetables, proteins and even fruit are cooked by wood or charcoal by an open flame, either directly in flames or coals themselves, or directly on a grill or surface above or adjacent to the flames. There are four distinct bbq techniques: smoking, roasting, braising, and grilling. While smoking and roasting bbq setups are becoming more frequently seen and employed in domestic uses, grilling is still the easiest and most common in backyards, parks, and vacation homes, requiring less setup and space. Still, when trying out new bbq ideas and recipes, it’s always good to understand the basics, and know what you can and can’t try.

Smoking:

Depending on the methods used smoking preserves, flavours, browns, or cooks food for consumption. While meat and fish are most commonly cooked using this technique, cheese, nuts, vegetables and fruit can also be smoked. A slower method of cooking, food is cooked through the smoke, so while there is a fire present, the cooking does not happen through direct contact with a flame. Different woods can be used to infuse the meat with different flavours, and maintaining different temperatures can cook the food to different levels. For instance, cold smoking will ensure that the food remains raw, so it is used to infuse ingredients with flavour before cooking it thoroughly, or is employed as one part of a curing method. Warm smoking or hot smoking will cook food thoroughly, and depending on the elapsed time will make food taste “smokier”. Smoking can be done in large smokehouses, or in smaller home-use boxes, drums, or pellet smokers.

Roasting & Pit BBQ:

Roasting and pit bbq is when meat or vegetables are cooked in a contained masonry oven, large pits, or even buried or subterranean pits. Using direct and indirect heat, the purpose of roasting and pit bbq is to allow an open flame to flavour the food, but convection to cook it faster. While it’s most commonly associated with roasting whole animals or making large batched of food, a wood-fired oven liked the ones for pizzas could be considered bbq!

Braising:

Considering making bbq ribs, pulled pork, or chicken? Incorporating a braising technique can bring added flavour and texture to your finished dish. Braising involves placing a covered pot or container on the grill and allowing it to simmer for hours. Browning the meat on the grill before braising and/or finishing it on the grill can really add the wow factor to a meal.

Grilling:

Cooking with quick, direct, and radiant heat from flame or coals with a grill placed above it is grilling, and likely the first thing to come to mind when you think of bbq. Grilling can be done covered or uncovered, using charcoal, wood, or gas.

Common BBQ Foods:

You can really bbq anything – from meat to fish, fruit and vegetables – but for bbq ideas for lunch and dinner, focusing on meat, and vegetables is probably the easies way to put a meal together and on the table quickly!

BBQ Chicken:

One of the most popular bbq dishes worldwide is chicken, with many regional recipes, styles and ingredients. Preparing the chicken first in skewers, individual parts or pieces, or other techniques is the first step. From there skill and technique is important. One of the biggest hazards in cooking chicken is cooking it too fast or unevenly, leaving portions of the meat raw, or cooking it too long and drying out the meat. Rubs, sauces, and marinades are a great technique to use when cooking bbq chicken. When used correctly, they allow you to keep the meat on the bbq longer, adding flavour without losing moisture.

BBQ Pork:

Pork is also cooked using individual parts or pieces, but is more versatile in terms of technique. Pork can be smoked, roasted, pit bbq’d, braised, or grilled. One of the most popular bbq recipes when it comes to pork is bbq ribs. Ribs can be tough, and require time to cook properly. Some recipes will ask you to marinate or rub the ribs up to a day a head of time to help with keeping the meat moist. Almost all recipes will ask you to bake the ribs in the oven, and finish them on the grill, so think of the bbq as being a finisher when it comes to ribs.

BBQ Beef:

Individual parts or pieces of beef sometimes called “cuts”, are also a versatile bbq meat. Perhaps the most classic of all is the bbq steak, what many people likely picture when they envision bbqing. There are many different recipes for cooking beef using different techniques, but grilling is often the preferred and most desired method.

BBQ Fish:

Smoked fish has a long tradition, and is often best with some delicate fish as it is more controlled. Grilling fish can be fantastic, but fish cooks fast on a grill! The right amount of preparation with marinades, rubs, and sauces can help ensure a successful meal.

BBQ Vegetables:

For many, meat is what they think of whenever bbq is mentioned, but vegetables are also delicious smoked or grilled. When eating healthy, they are a great meat alternative when you are still craving that flame-cooked flavour. Cooking vegetables on a grill is also a great way to make sure you time your meal correctly when making multiple dishes at the same time.