Summertime Tips for Enjoying the Perfect Barbecue

Lac du Bonnet’s Tim Aitken (left) and Brad Behin know a few things about barbecue.

Tim Aitken of Lac du Bonnet and Brad Behin are a couple of enthusiastic barbecue experts. See for more info on the art of barbecuing!

Barbecuing vs. Grilling: What’s the Difference? We often use the terms barbecuing and grilling interchangeably, but in fact they are two distinct styles of cooking outdoors.  Barbecue is done using indirect heat with wood smoke either from a wood fire or wood chips. Grilling is done over a high heat source.

Thermometers: The most important tool an outdoor chef needs is a good thermometer. A properly calibrated thermometer is the only way to accurately determine if food is done when cooking outside.

Keep your Grates Clean: Food won’t stick to a clean grate; use a wad of aluminum foil and scrub the grates. Never use a wire brush.

Avoid Food Sticking: Don’t oil your grates when cooking; if you must use oil, apply it directly on the meat, not the grate.

Keep Meat Moist and Juicy with Brine: For moist flavourful poultry or pork, try a brine. To make a simple brine, add about two tablespoons of table salt per liter of water/liquid.

Reverse Sear: If you really want to have that perfect steak, chicken breast, or pork chop off the grill, Google a technique called reverse searing.

Sauces, Water Pans and Mops: Apply sauces only at the very end of your cooking, allowing the sauce to ‘set’ and brown. Adding a pan of water, (or juice, wine, or beer) inside your cooker will add moisture to the air that is circulating around the cooking meat. If you wish to keep meat moist during a cook, you can apply a mop. Mixing some of your barbecue rub with water, juice, or beer will make a simple mop.  Apply a mop using a spray bottle or barbecue brush at regular intervals during your cook.

Food Safety and Cooking Temperatures: Food safety is very important when you cook outside. Proper food storage and preparation outside has its challenges. Be prepared to keep food cool and utensils and cooking surfaces clean. Always cook meat to the proper temperature as measured by a digital thermometer.

Maintain a Proper Cooking Temperature: Always make sure you have enough fuel on hand for the entire cooking time. Make small vent changes and wait 20 to 30 minutes to check the results. Temperature changes should be slow and steady, without spikes.

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