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Summer means spending more time cooking and enjoying the outdoors. Impromptu barbecue bashes and all-day patio parties will be filling up your calendar — and they call for a simple mix of good friends, delicious food and plenty of sunshine.

So what’s your outdoor cooking style? Are you a grilling guru or a barbecue pro? The terms work interchangeably, but technically grilling is a quick cook on an open barbecue, while barbecuing is done with the lid down, typically with larger cuts for longer times. Whatever your choice, put our tips and tricks to good use.

Tools of the Trade

Barbecuing isn’t fancy or elaborate, but the right tools ensure success. You will need:

  • Long-stemmed tongs to safely and easily flip food
  • An instant-read meat thermometer for testing doneness
  • A large spatula with sharp edges to easily slide under food, keeping it intact
  • A silicone brush for basting
  • A grill basket for fish, fruit and veggie slices
  • Grill mitts for protection
  • Cast-iron skillet (or aluminum foil pan)
  • A grill brush for easy cleanup

Ready, Set, Go!

Here are some essential instructions and techniques to keep in mind when prepping for the grill:

  • Check fuel and coal before cooking so you never run out
  • Preheat the grill to kill bacteria and provide a better sear
  • Brush grill with vegetable oil (olive oil burns easily) while off to prevent sticking
  • Know the kind of heat your grilling ingredients need. Thin cuts of meat, seafood, vegetables and burgers require direct-heat grilling. Larger cuts of meat and poultry benefit from indirect-heat grilling.
  • Pre-soak wooden planks and skewers for at least two hours before using
  • Clean and oil the grill while it’s hot

Cooking Times

Grilling meat, poultry and fish correctly ensures that you savour every bite. This is where an instant-read thermometer becomes indispensable. Our handy chart makes cooking easier.

Steak Beef, veal, and lamb - whole cuts Beef, veal, lamb and pork - ground Poultry pieces - whole cuts and ground Pork - loins and ribs Fish Shrimp, lobster, and crab Mussels, clams, and oysters Scallops
Internal Temperature Rare: 130°F (55°C)
Medium rare: 145°F (63°C)
Medium: 160°F (71°C)
Well done: 170°F (77°C)
145°F (63°C) 160°F (71°C) 165°F (74°C) 145°F (63°C) 158°F (70°C) 165°F (74°C) 165°F (74°C) 165°F (74°C)
Sensory Cues Use the touch test to determine doneness Temperature is the safest determinant of doneness Opaque flesh; flakes easily with a fork Opaque flesh Opaque flesh, open shells; Discard unopened shells Firm, opaque flesh
Approximate Cook Time 4-8 min. Burgers: 10-12 min.
Whole cuts: Times vary – place a thermometer in the thickest part of the meat to safely measure doneness
Whole fish: 10-40 min.
Fillets: 10 min. per inch of fillet thickness
Shrimp: 4-8 min.
Whole crab: 10-12 min.
Lobster: 18-20 min.
Lobster tail: 8-12 min.
4-8 min. 4-6 min.
Resting Time 3 min. 3 min. 3 min. None for whole cuts; 3 min. for burgers 3 min. None. None. None. None.

These quick tips will ensure cooking success

  • Press your thumb into the centre of each burger before grilling for faster, more even cooking.
  • Trim meat fat to avoid flare-ups.
  • Be sure to use separate utensils and plates for raw and fully cooked items to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Check for foreign objects in food. If you clean your grill using a bristle brush, check to make sure that no detached bristles have made their way into grilled food.
  • Brine or marinate large cuts like brisket or pork shoulder to maintain moisture.
  • To amp up smoky flavours, use a cedar plank to grill fish, vegetables or cheese.
  • Swap regular skewers with stalks of lemongrass or rosemary to infuse their aroma into pork and chicken.

Perfect Ingredients

Steak, burgers and salmon fillets are surefire crowd-pleasers. Look for thick steaks with rich marbling, or wrap leaner cuts like tenderloin in bacon for extra flavour. Our Canadian Burgers are handcrafted in-store daily and ready to grill when you are. They come off the grill with juicy, full flavours that burger lovers crave. For a fresh change, centre-cut salmon steaks are great for the grill and cook evenly.

BBQ Math

The more choices offered, the smaller each serving can be, but it’s better to send guests home with leftovers than rumbling bellies, so err on the side of excess. Plan a ½ lb of boneless meat per guest (or 1 lb per person of bone-heavy cuts, like ribs and wings), a ½ lb of salads and veggies, 1.5 cups of starchy sides like potato salad and rice, and one to two buns per person.

Choose Your Flavours

Feel free to experiment with marinades and spices to up the flavour. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Marinate ribs in cola and chili powder or rub them with paprika and cumin.
  • Create your own range of flavoured mayonnaise using Compliments Mayonnaise with Olive Oil as the base. Mix it with hot sauce, pesto, or a mix of ketchup and sweet relish.
  • Before grilling, toss chicken with Compliments Honey Mustard, lemon juice and thyme.
  • Jerk Marinade gives seafood a fuss-free aromatic punch. Finish with wedges of lime or lemon.


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