10 barbecue tips & techniques you need to know

Polish your grill, stock up on fuel and get ready for another epic season of roasting, sizzling and searing with these barbecue tips, hacks and recipes.


1. Wine Can Chicken

Beer can chicken has a brand new bag. With wine in a can so widely available, it was only natural to swap it for suds in the beloved poultry preparation. Red or white, the wine steams the bird from the inside, giving it a certain French flair. There is one caveat: Most wine comes in 250-millilitre cans, which are too small for the average chicken. They are, however, perfect for Cornish hens. 

Try Bodacious Pinot Grigio in Wine Can Cornish Hens with Parsley, Honey & Pecans.
Try Lindeman’s Shiraz in Wine Can Cornish Hens with Sumac & Pomegranate Molasses.


2. Fire Starter

If you want to fire up charcoal without lighter fluid or expensive gadgets, there is an underappreciated method used among backyard chefs. Build a mound of charcoal (lump or briquettes), and burn four hot spots with a blowtorch. To get things moving along, a hair dryer (set to cool) will huff and puff and blow your fire into white-hot coals in no time.


3. Clean your grill without a brush

If your grill brush has reached an unsightly state, you can clean your grate with two common household items. Make a ball of foil to rub over the hot grate with a pair of tongs. Or use the cut side of half an onion: The acidity and moisture act as natural cleaners, plus it flavours the grill.


4. Fish that won’t stick

Do you have trouble grilling fish without it sticking and falling apart? Here’s a simple trick: Make an aromatic bed of citrus slices and herb sprigs, and then place the fish on top, cover and grill. Winning combos include lemon and dill, and orange and rosemary.


5. Best wines for barbecue recipes

When it comes to grill-friendly wines, turn to Ontario. Here are three great picks.


Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut VQA

Delicious with fish, chicken and even lamb, this pink sparkler goes with just about everything.

Try it with Grilled “Pizza al Tonno” with Tomato & Herb Salad.


Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling VQA

This racy, off-dry Riesling is the perfect pour with pork, from slow-smoked ribs to spicy sausages.

Try it with Miso Pork & Japanese Eggplant Skewers.


Malivoire Gamay VQA

This bright, fruity red is light enough to enjoy with grilled salmon, and it has enough heft to match a juicy cheeseburger.

Try it with Wine Can Cornish Hens with Sumac & Pomegranate Molasses.

6. Turn your grill into a pizza oven

Get the right pizza making tools.


To recreate charred and chewy restaurant pizza at home, a pizza stone or steel makes all the difference. Made of ceramic or steel, it absorbs and retains the intense heat of the grill, simulating the base of a commercial pizza oven. This essential tool will transform your backyard into a neighbourhood pizzeria and turn out perfect pies every time. You can find pizza stones and steels at most housewares stores—Lee Valley carries a set of four square stones, which can be placed together for one large pizza or spaced separately for individual pies.

Try these out when making our Grilled “Pizza al Tonno” with Tomato & Herb Salad


· Rolling pin—to roll out the dough (though a wine bottle will do in a pinch). 
· Pizza stone or steel— for a crisp crust. 
· Pizza peel—a wood or metal spatula-like tool for transferring the pizza from counter to grill and back again. 
· Pizza wheel—to make quick work of cutting a pizza.



7. Grilling corn

Boiling corn for a crowd can turn into a logistical nightmare. There is a better way. Soak ears of corn in their husks for two hours. Drain and grill over high heat, turning occasionally, until nicely charred, about 15 minutes. Place in a stockpot or clean cooler, drape with a kitchen towel and cover with a lid for up to two hours. The corn stays hot while you’re grilling the rest of dinner, and when it’s time to serve, just peel and eat!


8. Plant-based proteins

There are a number of easy-to-cook plant-based proteins to throw on the grill. Cut extra-firm tofu into chunks and thread onto skewers with veggies and a bold marinade. Pick up a package of Impossible Burger, a vegan faux mince for next-level veggie burgers. Or grill a hunk of seitan (a.k.a. wheat gluten), glaze with teriyaki sauce and slice it like a steak.


9. Missing link

Hot dogs and other precooked sausages have a tendency to dry out on the grill. For moist, juicy links every time, give them a bath first. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add your dogs, cover and remove from the heat. When they’re hot, drain and quickly grill to crisp and char the exterior. Once you’ve embraced this two-step method, there’s no going back.

10. The art of the skewer

Get your global grill game on

Many of the world’s delicious street foods are meat and vegetables on sticks google “street food skewers” for a world of inspiration!

Try these Miso Pork & Japanese Eggplant Skewers.


Take your kebab game to the next level

Choose a protein that will produce tender skewers, such as beef and pork tenderloin, boneless chicken thigh and breast, shrimp, scallops and thicker, firmer fish such as salmon and halibut.

Cut meat across the grain and into pieces of equal thickness so they cook evenly.

Make sure vegetables with a high water content, such as zucchini and mushrooms, are firmly bookended on the skewers by ingredients that will hold them in place.

Marinate your meat beforehand to add flavour and tenderize.

If using a sweet marinade, be sure to grill over a low heat and check often to prevent burning.

Use two skewers for foods that tend to shift, such as fish and shrimp. Run the skewers side by side through all the ingredients— this keeps everything uniform and in place.

Stick it to ’em!


· Bamboo skewers, while disposable, are biodegradable.
· Metal skewers are solid and reusable, and last a lifetime. 
· Shaped like a small sword, a Middle Eastern kebab skewer is flat, which is great for encasing with seasoned ground meat. 

PRO TIP: To eliminate the 30-minute soaking time for bamboo skewers, place in a glass baking dish with enough water to cover. Microwave on high for 2 minutes and then drain, let cool and start skewering!

A little dip can’t hurt


Depending on the type of skewer you make, think about having a side sauce to dip into. Tzatziki, hummus, raita, hot barbecue sauce, ajvar and aïoli all make great options.