Barbecue Basics

The characteristic barbecue flavour that we enjoy is created by the smoke that results from fat and juices dripping onto the barbecue heating medium, such as charcoal, lava rocks, ceramic briquettes or flavourizer bars.

Cooking on a gas barbecue is very simple, but the following factors can influence cooking times and techniques:

 

    • The closer the grids to the heating medium, the more intense the heat.
    • The food temperature at the start of cooking will affect the length of cooking time. Cold meats taken directly from the refrigerator will take longer to cook.
    • On a cold or windy day, a higher flame and longer cooking time will be needed. On a hot or windless day, a lower flame and shorter cooking time are adequate.
    • Cooking with the lid opened or closed is a matter of personal preference. There is a greater concentration of heat and smoke if the cover is closed. In general, close cover for cooking large cuts of meat such as roasts and whole poultry, and when barbecuing in cold weather.

 

Use of a gas barbecue will vary with the design and features available on each model.ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW MANUFACTURER?S INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.

Getting Started:

Lighting

    • Open barbecue lid completely.
    • Check that lava rocks or ceramic briquettes are arranged in a single even layer with a little space between them. Piling will create cold spots.
    • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for auto ignite or use a butane barbecue lighter. Ignite burner through matchlight hole, then turn lighting control on to HIGH. Burner should light automatically. After burner is lit, remaining heat controls may be turned on.
    • Check to make sure all burners are ignited, then close the lid.
    • Should burners fail to ignite, turn off controls. Leave lid open 5 minutes before attempting to relight.

 

Preheating

    • Preheating is done with the lid closed and all controls set on HIGH for 10 – 15 minutes. This is necessary to heat the lava rocks/ceramic briquettes thoroughly so that heat will radiate from rocks to food.
    • Turn controls to desired heat setting once preheating is completed.
    • To prevent food from sticking, grease the COLD grids generously with shortening, lard or bacon fat. Do NOT use oil or cooking spray as this can cause fat to lacquer onto grids.

 

Methods of Barbecue Cooking:

Direct Cooking

In this method, food is cooked in direct contact with the heat directly below the food. Food can be grilled with the lid opened or closed depending upon the food being prepared and environmental influences. This method of cooking is generally used for faster cooking foods such as steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken pieces and fish.

Indirect Cooking

This method of cooking can only be done on barbecues with more than one heat control.

Preheat both burners on HIGH. After food is seared, the burner directly below the food is turned off and the opposite burner is adjusted to a moderate heat setting. Close barbecue lid. This method is particularly effective for foods requiring a long, slow cooking time, such as roasts and whole poultry, or for baking. With the barbecue lid closed, heat is radiated from the operating burner to the opposite side of the barbecue where the food is placed.

Safety:

Flare-ups

Expect and encourage a moderate amount of flare-up and smoke when grilling. Smoke provides flavour and flaring gives a rich, brown colour to food. Excessive flare-up may be the result of:

    • Barbecue heat setting too high
    • High fat content in the food being grilled
    • Lava rocks or ceramic briquettes saturated with fat drippings

 

    • If excessive flare-up occurs, close the lid of the barbecue and turn off the gas.
    • Never use water to extinguish the flames as this will create excess steam, causing burns and possible damage to your barbecue.
    • Baking soda should not be used to smother flames – in combination with melted fat, it can clog burner ports.
    • Ensure grease catcher beneath barbecue is emptied on a regular basis.

 

Barbecue Safety

    • Ensure barbecue is approved by the Canadian Standard Association.
    • READ AND FOLLOW MANUFACTURER?S INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY. It contains important information on assembly, troubleshooting and maintenance procedures.
    • The gas barbecue is designed for OUTDOOR USE ONLY. Do not use in a garage.
    • If using a propane barbecue, the tanks must be used and stored outdoors in a well ventilated area and away from direct sunlight. Keep stored tanks out of reach of children.
    • Do not store flammable or combustible materials or liquids near the barbecue.
    • The barbecue lid must ALWAYS be OPEN when lighting.
    • Do not lean over barbecue when igniting burners.
    • Do not move barbecue when burners are ignited.
    • Ensure grease catcher located beneath barbecue is emptied on a regular basis. This can ignite when overfilled with grease.
    • Check for gas leaks every time you disconnect and reconnect any gas fitting. Wet hose and fittings with water. Rub liquid dish soap over surface. With lid open, turn on gas. If bubbles form anywhere along the hose or fittings, a leak is present. Turn off gas and do not use until serviced. Refer to owner’s manual.
    • Do not leave barbecue unattended when in use. A fire could start at a moment’s notice if fat has saturated the lava rocks or ceramic briquettes, or if a drip pan happens to overflow. Excessive flare-up can happen quickly and without warning.
    • Dress properly. Roll up sleeves, tuck in shirttails and make sure scarves, belts or apron strings do not dangle over the grill. Wear a heavy apron and long oven mitts.
    • Use long handled utensils when grilling to avoid burns.

 

Care of Your Barbecue:

General Care

If you barbecue frequently, take time once a month to clean the cavity of your barbecue. Remove everything out of barbecue cavity. Clean burners with a stiff brush to remove any cooked particles of food. Open any clogged gas ports with a wire or metal poultry skewer. Brush out bottom to remove food ash.

Once or twice a year, a thorough cleaning of your barbecue should be done. Refer to your owner’s manual.

Grids

After each use, leave burners on HIGH, lower the lid and let the food particles cook to a char for about 10 minutes. When barbecue is cold or before next use, remove the grids and brush off the char with a brass bristle brush. Do not clean grids while on the barbecue. Do not clean barbecue grids in a self-cleaning oven as the grids may warp or melt.

Lava Rocks or Ceramic Briquettes

To prevent excessive flare-up, lava rocks and ceramic briquettes should be turned over and rotated around the barbecue area every so often to avoid fat accumulation, and to burn off charred food particles.

    • Ensure a bit of space around each lava rock or ceramic briquette to allow for even heat distribution.
    • Lava rocks should be replaced if they are deteriorating noticeably in size. Replace one layer deep only.
    • Never wash lava rocks or ceramic briquettes as any excess moisture may cause them to explode, or resulting steam could cause serious burns.

 

Rotisserie

To ensure a longer life for your rotisserie motor, remove and store indoors when not is use. When in use, the motor is designed to bear no more than 12 lb (5 kg) of food. The food should be well balanced so the motor does not run under stress. If the food is an irregular shape, use a counterbalance to offset the uneven weight.

Exterior

High temperature and weather resistant spray paints may be used to touch up or restore the painted exterior surface of the barbecue. The use of a vinyl cover will help the painted finish last longer.

READ AND FOLLOW MANUFACTURER?S INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.

Great Grilling Tips:

  • Hamburgers should be turned only once during grilling. Turn when the hamburgers offer little resistance and can be lifted easily off the grid.
  • Select steaks and chops that are of even thickness to ensure even grilling.
  • Turn meats using tongs only. Use of a fork to pierce the meat will release juices giving a less tender, less juicy product.
  • Soak bamboo and wooden skewers in water for about 30 – 60 minutes to avoid excessive burning.
  • When making kebobs, leave a little space between each piece of meat to allow for even cooking.
  • Trim excess fat from meat to prevent excessive flare-up. A thin strip of fat around the edge of the meat should be slashed several times to prevent curling.
  • Grill chicken pieces over low or medium heat to ensure a moist, thoroughly cooked product.
  • When marinating, use glass containers or disposable plastic bags. Avoid metal containers which may react with the acid in the marinade.

Dijon Flank Steak

1/3 cup Dijon mustard 75 mL
2 tbsp soy sauce 25 mL
1 tsp dried leaf thyme 5 mL
1/4 tsp ground ginger 1 mL
1/4 tsp black pepper 1 mL
1 1/4 lb flank steak 0.6 kg
    1. In container suitable for marinating, combine mustard, soy sauce, thyme, ginger and pepper. Add flank steak; turn to coat.
    2. Cover; marinate in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
    3. Preheat gas barbecue on HIGH 10 – 15 minutes.
    4. Grill flank steak about 6 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer steak to cutting board; tent with foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes to allow juices to redistribute. Slice diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Serve immediately.

 

Yield: 4-6 servings

Honey Mustard Chicken Wings

3 lb chicken wings, trimmed and separated 1.5 kg

Baste:

1/2 cup honey 125 mL
1/4 cup Dijon mustard 50 mL
1/4 cup grainy mustard 50 mL
1 tsp curry powder 5 mL
    1. In small bowl, combine Baste ingredients.
    2. Preheat gas barbecue on HIGH for 10 – 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
    3. Grill wings until golden and dry, about 30 minutes, basting frequently.

 

Yield: 4 servings

Pouch Potatoes with Mushrooms

4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced 4
1 medium onion, thinly sliced 1
10 oz can sliced mushrooms, drained 284 mL
4 tbsp butter or margarine 50 mL
salt & pepper to taste
heavy duty aluminum foil
paper towel
    1. Cut 4 pieces of foil 18″ (45 cm) square. Fold each in half. Place a folded, wet paper towel between the double thickness of foil. Set aside.
    2. For each pouch, layer half of one potato, a quarter of the onion, a quarter of the mushrooms, 1 tbsp (15 ml) butter, seasonings and remainder of the potato.
    3. Seal pouch by folding down top, and rolling in sides. To ensure even cooking, the pouch should be quite flat.
    4. Preheat gas barbecue on HIGH for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to MEDIUM.
    5. Cook 20 – 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender, turning pouches after 10 – 15 minutes.

 

Yield: 4 servings