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BBQ tips for summer grilling (like a pro)

BBQ season is here in all its tasty glory. And we’re hungry! This year, take your grill skills up a notch with these tips and tricks. Whether you’re barbequing a rib-eye or pineapple kebabs (why not!), learn how to perfectly grill your favourite proteins and veggies (and fruits) every time.

Prepare for grilling greatness

  • Before you light up your BBQ, check for cobwebs, spiders, critters and leaves. And don’t forget to wash the grates—you don’t want to eat burgers that taste like last year’s charred salmon.
  • Clean your BBQ with a good, flexible cleaning brush and check for defective parts. Replace any part that’s damaged or rusty.
  • Check for leaks by spraying soapy water on your connections and supply lines. If you see bubbles, gas is escaping—turn off your tank and reconnect your hoses.
  • Need a new BBQ? Check out Coast Appliances, where BCAA Members earn 4% in CAA Dollars®.

Your phone is your BBQ buddy
Download a helpful grilling app (BBQ apps for iOS; BBQ apps for Android). They’ll arm you with recipes, marinating tips and grilling wisdom.

bbq in the summer

Safety first
Place your BBQ at least one metre from anything flammable, like your house, fences or branches. Before you light the BBQ, make sure that you open the lid first, turn on the propane (spin the dial counterclockwise) and then light your grill. Always use oven mitts and long-handled utensils when you’re grilling. And, never leave your BBQ unattended—fat drippings can cause dangerous flame flare-ups. A final reminder—keep kids and pets away from the BBQ, even when not in use.

Tame your flames
Flames aren’t your friend—they’ll unpleasantly char your food. Have a water spray bottle close by, so you can dampen flare-ups without cooling your heat. Keep a fire extinguisher close, too.

Timing is everything
Before you get started, do some research. Here’s a good list of grilling times for everything from veggies to scallops to steaks. You’ll also find grilling times in your favourite grilling app (see above).

grilled food on a dish on display

Tips for veggie-lovers

The secret to perfectly grilled corn on the cob
As a summertime favourite, perfecting your corn cooking technique is a must. Here’s a quick tutorial for the best sweet, smoky grilled corn every time. Tip: if you grill your corn with the husks on, make sure you soak the husks first so they don’t burn on your grill.

Grilled fruit? You bet
Fruit is so good when you grill it, you’ll think you’re on a tropical vacation somewhere. Give it a try for yourself - check out these five tips for perfectly grilled fruit and add something new to your repertoire!

Delightful vegan skewer marinades
Mmmmmmm, marinades. Make veggies the star of the show with these 14 mouth-watering vegetable skewer marinades.

10 epic veggie burger recipes
Sure, there are a ton of excellent meat alternatives on the market, but when it comes to burgers, making your own can be extra-delicious (and fun)! So wow your veggie-loving guests at your next BBQ, and try making one of these nutritious and delicious veggie burgers from scratch.

girl eating a burger

Tips for meat-eaters

Start with quality (and support local)
If you can, spend a bit more money on good quality locally sourced meats. 

Room temperature > cold
Let your protein rest on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes before you grill. This will help ensure that it cooks more evenly. The exception: if you want a rare sear, like when you grill tuna, then chilled steaks are the way to go.

Get a cooking thermometer

  • Different proteins need different internal temperatures to be considered safe to eat. Ground beef must cook to 160°F, fowl and poultry to 165°F, and fresh steaks, chops and roasts to 145°F.
  • Unless you’re an ace griller, it’s hard to tell your meat’s temperature just by touching it...but if you’re interested, here’s how to do it: Touch the meat. If it’s soft like the flesh between your index finger and thumb, it’s rare. If it feels soft like your cheek, it’s medium-rare. And if it’s firm like your forehead, it’s well-done.
  • More accurate for most of us: check the temperature with a cooking thermometer. You can find one at Stokes where BCAA Members save 5%.

How to grill bone-in

  • To grill thicker, bone-in proteins like chicken legs or thighs, grill on high heat to get a nice crust, then move to indirect heat at a lower temperature. This allows for slower, more even cooking throughout without overcooking and charring the outside.
  • You can also pre-cook your chicken or ribs in an oven for 15-20 minutes, then move them to your BBQ.

Don’t squish your proteins
Sure, you love that burst of sizzling flame you get when you squish a burger with a spatula (it’s tempting). But you know what’s making that flame burst? Fat. And fat means flavour you’re squishing away.

Let it rest
Resting your proteins after grilling gives the most flavourful results. Allow to sit unsliced for a minimum of five minutes after grilling to let the juices redistribute. The larger your piece of protein, the longer it should rest. The rule of thumb is five minutes of rest per inch of thickness.

preparing fish with oil and lemons

Next level grilling hacks
Ready to become a BBQ master? Check these clever grilling tips (like how to make legendary seasoning, sauces and marinades, tricks (like grilling fish on lemon slices) and BBQ hacks like how to turn your grill into a smoker and how to make BBQ Banana S’mores.

Cool, clean and cover
When your meal is ready to eat, turn the propane tank off first, then turn off your burners. Give the grates a healthy scrape. Then let your BBQ cool completely before covering for the night.

Protect your deck and home
Fire is a powerful force, and it’s good to be covered in case of backyard accidents. Luckily BCAA offers customized home insurance policies for homeowners, condo, renters and more. Members can save up to 20%. So, you can safely grill with confidence all summer long.

Do you have any great grilling tips you can share? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.