Show off your grill skills
Barbecuing tips

There’s nothing like a backyard barbecue to kick off the warmer weather (though, if you’re truly a die-hard griller you probably won’t let a few snowflakes or sub-zero temperatures come between you and your Q).

We’ve got a few tips on how you can get the most out of your grilling – and do it safely.

Find the perfect spot for your BBQ

Whether you’re into backyard feng shui or just about convenience, be sure that your barbecue is at least 3 metres from windows and doors. Also, keep it away from wooden fences and walls, combustible overhead roofs and trees with low branches.

Check the status of your BBQ

Make an assessment to see if there are any rusted-out parts that could cause issues while cooking or operating, and check if anything in your grill needs to be replaced beforehand. For example, be sure to see if your flavourize bars should be changed.

Before you start cooking – give your grill a good cleaning

If you’re serious about getting the perfect sear marks on your steak or just want to ensure your food is flawlessly cooked, it helps to start with a clean grill. Besides a spot clean after each use, do a deep clean 1-2 times a year. Grab a bucket of hot soapy water (dish soap works well), a good grill brush, an old sponge and get into every nook and cranny.

TIP: Removing grease or fat build-up from grills and trays below grill not only allows for better heat transfer, it will also reduce the risk of fire.

The propane vs. charcoal debate

Propane supporters say that cooking with gas is more convenient, makes it easier to control food temperature and does a better job at retaining moisture. Charcoal enthusiasts, on the other hand, prefer the smokier flavour and the fact that charcoal grills tend to be a lot more affordable.

TIP: If you have a propane grill, make sure you regularly check cylinder connections for leaks. To do this, apply some soapy water to the hose using a brush or spray bottle then turn on the propane tank. If there are any leaks, bubbles will appear. If there are no bubbles, you’re good to go!

Have the right tools

You don’t have to invest in a ton of barbecue utensils in order to cook like a pro. All you need are a few trusty stand-bys – a good set of tongs for flipping meat and turning vegetables; a metal spatula that you can slip under meat to ensure it doesn’t stick and check grill marks; a meat thermometer to ensure meat is fully cooked (especially for poultry and pork); and a grill brush with metal bristles to get your grill good and clean.

Direct and indirect heat

Grilling with direct heat means you’re cooking it on the grill rack directly over the heat source. You’d use direct heat when you want to sear a steak, ensure juicy burgers or get nice, crispy vegetables. The indirect heat area of your grill is close to the heat source. This is where your baked potatoes, chicken or thicker cuts of pork would be cooked.

TIP: Make sure your barbecue is never left unattended, and kept a safe distance from kids and pets. Your barbecue should only be used outdoors in an area that’s well-ventilated, away from your house and any combustible materials.

Give it a rest

We’re talking about the meat here. Rather than serving your beautifully grilled steak or roast or chicken right away, let it sit for around 10 minutes so the juices can be reabsorbed.

TIP: When you’ve had your fill of BBQ goodness, shut of the valve on the propane cylinder first to allow any remaining gas to be burned off. One the cylinder is shut off, you can then turn off the burner controls on the barbecue. Let the barbecue cool off completely before covering.

If you’ve checked off all the items on this list, you’re ready to fire up and get grilling! Be sure to safety check and clean your barbecue on the regular throughout the summer, to keep your grill in top shape. And remember, never leave your barbecue unattended to prevent injury and fire damage to your home.

Protect your home and the things you love most.