Barbecuing is a summer tradition in Canada. We take advantage of the nice weather and gather outside to share a meal. There is so much more to cooking on the BBQ then just throwing on a steak (although that sounds delicious too!). Dianne shared safety tips, handy ticks, and some of the unconventional ways to use the BBQ at our Grow Cook Learn Session back on July 26th. Scroll down for tips, recipes, and ideas for using the BBQ!

Food Safety – Making sure your food is cooked thoroughly is always important. When using the BBQ, ‘eyeballing’ when meat is cooked can be tricky because the outside gets charred easily when cooking over a flame.  It is important to use a food thermometer to ensure safe internal cooking temperature. Healthy Canadians has great Food Safety Tips for Barbecuing, including;

  • When shopping, buy cold food last.
  • Keep raw meat separate from other grocery items to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Always refrigerate perishable foods (dairy, frozen foods, etc.) within one to two hours, especially in warm weather. Chicken_Breast_Raw
  • Bring an insulated cooler bag to hold your perishables.
  • At home, store raw meat in the refrigerator immediately after you return from the grocery store.
  • Freeze raw poultry or ground beef that won’t be used within one to two days. Freeze other raw meats if they won’t be used within four to five days.
  • Marinate meat in the refrigerator, never on the counter. Don’t use leftover marinade that has been in contact with raw meat on cooked food.
  • Store meat in the refrigerator or a cooler, always remember to keep food out of the temperature danger zone of 4°C to 60°C (40°F to 140°F). Bacteria can grow in this temperature range.
  • Use separate utensils, cutting boards, dishes and other cooking equipment when handling raw and cooked meats. Raw juices can spread bacteria to your safely-cooked food and cause food borne illness.
  • Wash your hands carefully with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat.
  • Thawing of meats should be done in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Sealed packages can be thawed in cold water. Microwave defrosting is acceptable if the food item is placed immediately on the grill.
  • Cook thoroughly and use a digital food thermometer. Meat can turn brown before all the bacteria are killed, so use a digital food thermometer to be sure.17710-food-thermometer-pv
  • To check the temperature of meat that you are cooking on the barbecue, take it off the grill and place it in a clean plate. Insert the digital food thermometer through the thickest part of the meat. For hamburgers, you should insert the digital food thermometer through the side of the patty, all the way to the middle. Make sure to check each piece of meat or patty because heat can be uneven.
  • Remember to always clean your digital food thermometer in warm, soapy water between temperature readings to avoid cross-contamination.

Internal Cooking Temperatures

You can’t tell by looking. Use a digital food thermometer to be sure!
Food Temperature
Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts)
Medium-rare 63°C (145°F)
Medium 71°C (160°F)
Well done 77°C (170°F)
Pork (pieces and whole cuts) 71°C (160°F)
Poultry (e.g. chicken, turkey, duck)
Pieces 74°C (165°F)
Whole 85°C (185°F)
Ground meat and meat mixtures (e.g. burgers, sausages, meatballs, meatloaf, casseroles)
Beef, veal, lamb and pork 71°C (160°F)
Poultry 74°C (165°F)
Egg dishes
Egg dishes 74°C (165°F)
Others (e.g. hot dogs, stuffing, leftovers) 74°C (165°F)
*Information directly from

 Fun BBQ Ideas – A few years ago, we ran a Summer BBQ Sizzler session with Chris Lyons from Chris’ Country Cuts at the Covent Garden Market. Here were some of the fabulous dishes we prepared on the BBQ. 

Making pizza on the BBQ is easy, and delicious! There is a certain flavour that goes along with it, similar to a wood oven. Make sure you cook the dough first – on a grill pan or tin foil – so that it doesn’t slip through the grill racks. As far as toppings are concerned – there are endless combinations!

BBQ Chicken Pizza


Roasted Vegetable Pizzapizza


Roasting Portabello Mushrooms

Roasting Zucchini

Grill the vegetables first, separately, so they are partially cooked prior to going on the pizza. They don’t need to be cooked entirely at this point – they will cook again with the pizza.

Grill the crust on a stovetop grill or grill pan on a BBQ until it is firm.  Next, top with you favourite roasted vegetables, or meat toppings, and cheeses then place back on the grill for another 5 minutes or until cheese it melted. SO GOOD.


Grilled crust

484005_10151527472356712_1852955857_nGRILLED FRUIT & HOMEMADE WHIPPED TOPPINGplum-with-whipped-cream

Grilled fruit is a great option for a summer dessert. Grilling the fruit brings out the natural sweetness and flavours. Just cut the fruit in halves and grill until soft and warm.We recommend peaches, plums, apricots, or pears!

Marinades and Rubs – Not only do they add flavour to your barbecued delights, but marinades and rubs can improve the quality and texture of your meats.

Dianne’s Dry Rub for Pork/Chicken


Note: This recipe makes a quantity that may be larger than you need. It can be stored easily in an airtight container for a month or two.


½ cup brown sugar (or organic sugar)

2 tbsp. kosher salt

1 tbsp. dried cumin

1 tbsp. paprika

1 tbsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp. onion powder

2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. cayenne or red pepper flakes (optional)


Mix ingredients together and sprinkle over meat. Rub it in and allow to sit for a few hours (refrigerated), if possible.

Maple BBQ Sauce



1 tbsp. good quality oil (olive, grapeseed,etc.)

1 medium onion, diced

2 or 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 ½ cups ketchup

1/3 cup maple syrup

red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard or grainy mustard

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 ½ cups apple cider, beer or hard cider

¼ cup soy sauce


In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat and sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook for a minute or two. Add a bit of salt and pepper, but not too much. Soy sauce is quite salty!

Add ketchup and maple syrup. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture becomes caramelized and quite thick and brown.

Pour in remaining ingredients and allow to simmer until thick and mixture is the desired consistency.

After the mixture is reduced, taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, vinegar to balance the flavour.

Because the mixture reduces, the flavours concentrate, so leave the adjustment of seasoning to the end of the process.

    BBQ Pulled Pork



1- 4 or 5 lb. pork shoulder roast. (Bone in has more flavour, but boneless is more convenient!)

Prepared dry rub (see above)

Prepared smoke pouches

Prepared drip tray


Rub pork shoulder generously with dry rub and set aside in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, if possible.

To prepare drip tray:

Place a shallow foil pan under the grate where the roast will sit, preferable at the back or to one side of the barbecue. Pour liquid, such as beer, apple cider or even water into the pan to a depth of about 1 inch. Don’t fill the pan to the top to allow for fat and juices dripping from the roast.

Peel 2 or three garlic cloves and smash them a bit and add to the pan with sprigs of herbs such as rosemary, thyme, bay leaf.

To prepare smoke pouches:

Soak about 1 cup of apple wood chips for about ½ hour in water.
Make a foil packet (I use a double sheet of foil) with 2 cups dry apple or cherry wood chips on bottom and soaked chips on top.

Seal the foil package tightly and poke holes with the tip of a paring knife all over the package.

Heat one front or side burner on the barbecue and place the smoke package under the grate on the hot side of the grill.

Meat will be on the ‘cool’ side of the grill, not over direct heat!!

Replace the grates and wait until the packet begins to smoke.

The foil drip pan should be on the ‘cool’ side of the barbeque.

Place the roast over the drip pan, close the lid and adjust the burner to provide a steady heat of about 275 degrees.

Allow the pork shoulder to smoke for about 3 or 4 hours.

At this point, you can continue smoking it until the meat is tender and falling apart or you can wrap it in foil or put it in a pot with a tight lid, with some herbs and apple juice or beer and cook it at the same temperature for another 2 or 3 hours.

I find it more convenient to use the pot because it is easier to check for tenderness.

You are looking for the meat to literally fall apart, so it can be ‘pulled’ easily.

When the desired degree of tenderness is achieved, remove the roast to a large bowl and allow to cool until it can be handled safely.

Pull the meat apart, discarding large pieces of fat, if you prefer.

Combine with enough Maple BBQ Sauce (see above) to moisten and flavour the meat and serve.

A BBQ is note complete without a summer salad!  But why bring the same old potato or pasta salad to your party?  Here are a few new ideas to take your next BBQ to the next level.

Rainbow Slaw

rainbow slaw


2 tbsp. liquid honey or maple syrup

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. pepper

¼ cup good quality mayonnaise

Whisk together and adjust seasoning


1 apple, cored and cubed

1 carrot, grated

1 ½ cups finely grated green cabbage

1 ½ cups finely grated red cabbage


Grated celery root, finely sliced red, yellow or green peppers, grated jicama

Add vegetable mix to dressing and toss well. This salad keeps well for a couple of days. You can even serve this slaw on top of delicious Maple BBQ Pork Sliders (see above).


Green Bean and Grilled Corn Salad

This salad includes watermelon radishes. This bright pink, crisp, beet-like root vegetable has a mild flavour without the hot bite of a radish.

radish salad


1 lb. fresh green and/or yellow beans, washed and blanched just until tender-crisp.

2 or 3 cobs of fresh sweet corn, brushed with oil and grilled on the barbeque and kernels sliced from the cob

½ red onion, thinly sliced and soaked for a few minutes in salted water

3 or 4 watermelon radishes, thinly sliced

small package of goat cheese torn into pieces

Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tbsp.)

Salt and pepper

¼ cup good quality olive oil or avocado oil

1 tsp. Dijon or grainy mustard


Prepare vegetables and cool to room temperature.

In bottom of large bowl, combine dressing ingredients.

Taste and adjust seasoning

Add vegetables, toss and sprinkle goat cheese on top.

Note: This is a good make-ahead salad for a barbecue, because it doesn’t wilt quickly in the dressing!

 Don’t forget dessert!  Dianne shared a timeless recipe with us for Blueberry Pie. But this special recipe does not have a pie-crusted top, and uses FRESH blueberries and less sugar!  Seasonal, and delicious.

    Ma-mère’s Fresh Blueberry Pie


1- 9 or 10 inch prepared, baked pie shell

5 or 6 cups fresh, washed blueberries

zest of 1 lemon

2 tbsp. lemon juice

½ cup sugar (less if the berries are very sweet)

2 tbsp. corn starch

½ cup water


Wash and drain blueberries well.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch and whisk to combine. Add water and whisk until smooth. Add 1 cup of the blueberries and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook until the mixture is clear and quite thick. Add lemon zest and juice.

In a large bowl, combine the fresh blueberries with the prepared glaze and fill the pie shell.

Chill for at least 2 hours before serving with whipped cream or ice-cream.