One of the best things about summer is firing up the barbecue and eating outdoors.

Bryan Goulet, executive chef at Creative Quality Catering & Bistro, and Sierra Bilton, Rat Creek Press writer, offered some tips and favourite recipes for this barbecuing season.

Goulet said he uses nothing but the finest products. “I use what is called Sterling Silver [premium beef], and it’s the top eight per cent. The marbling in it is unbelievable,” he said.  “I cut my own meat. I take off the sides—that’s all the tough parts.” Sterling Silver beef is exclusive to Sobeys, where the butchers will help you get the cut you want.

Marinades are also important. Goulet states, “A lot of people just use Kraft BBQ Sauce. That is crap. You don’t really taste the meat.”

When Goulet was 15 years old and working at Ernie’s Steak Pit in Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre, he created a compound butter, which is a “mixture of fat, butter, and seasonings.” He bastes his meat with it instead of barbecue sauce. Goulet’s compound has the appearance and texture of peanut butter. He sells it for $7 per eight ounce container. For seasoning meat, he suggests using whatever spices you prefer.

Goulet said using indirect heat is the most important part of barbecuing. Set the two sides of the barbecue at two different temperatures because too high of heat will burn the sauce. At first, sear the meat and “when you begin to baste the meat, move it over to the lower heat.” Using indirect heat to finish cooking the meat will prevent the sauce from burning.

Rat Creek Press writer Sierra Bilton suggests using citrus (such as orange, lemon, or pineapple juice) in your marinade, and letting meat soak in the marinade overnight. Citrus acts as a meat tenderizer and adds a great flavour. To add a smoky flavour, Bilton suggests “throwing some wood chips into the barbecue (cedar is my favourite).”

Bilton also suggests cooking fish on a pre-soaked cedar plank. Adding beer, wine, cider, and herbs to the water while soaking the plank adds additional flavours. Once the plank is soaked, dry it, coat it with cooking oil and add any seasonings you prefer.

To keep chicken moist, Bilton suggests brining chicken in a mixture of salt, sugar, soy sauce, and olive oil in water overnight in the refrigerator.

Complement the main course by barbecuing vegetables. If you have a garden or know someone who gardens, grilled garden-fresh vegetables are delicious. Peppers, onions, mushrooms, butter, and some soy sauce wrapped in tin foil and cooked over the barbecue is a great addition to any main dish.

As a side, my wife makes a tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, and balsamic vinegar salad that is devoured in less time than it takes to make.

IMG 2 Grilledpeaches SierraBilton
Grilling fruit like peaches is a great idea for dessert. Credit: Sierra Bilton

For dessert, grill fruit like pineapple, peaches, and nectarines and serve, as Bilton suggests, “with ricotta, honey, hazelnuts and mint…heavenly.”

Header Image: Bryan Goulet shows the beef he prefers for barbecuing. Credit: Stephen Strand