Everyone enjoys summer BBQ in our backyards, while camping, or at a park. Here are a few tips to ensure a delicious experience:
▸ Ensure BBQ is clean from the previous cook;
▸ Wipe away dust and cobwebs; ▸ Check to ensure no furry animals are making a home in your BBQ;
▸ Use a brush or ball of aluminum foil to scrape off any remnants of a previous cook on the grill; This is best done as the BBQ is warming up, as remnants will slide off easily.
Food safety is just as important when BBQing. Alberta Health Services advises:
▸ To keep food cold — at 4°C (40°F) or colder.
▸ Keep food hot at 60°C (140°F) or hotter.
▸ Have a small fire extinguisher available and ready. If you were to have a fire, it would likely be the grease that catches fire.
▸ An instant-read or digital thermometer is a priceless tool to ensure you cook chicken thoroughly and steaks to everyone’s preferred doneness.
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Prized for its flavour, Skirt steak is a thin, long cut with visible grain that comes from just under the rib.
EQUIPMENT: Grill/ BBQ/ Smoker, sharp knife
▸ Skirt Steak
▸ Your favourite spice rub or salt & pepper
1. Remove membrane by fileting with a sharp knife or pulling off with a paper towel.
2. Season 30 minutes to 1 hour before with salt and pepper or your favourite spice rub, low in sugar content. (Sugar burns.)
3. Meanwhile, warm up grill/ BBQ/ smoker to high searing heat 450–500°F
4. Sear one side for 5–8 minutes when caramelized; 5. Flip and sear on the other side for 5–8 minutes when caramelized.
6. Remove from grill/ BBQ/ smoker to assess internal temperature. Ideally, 120-125°F for medium-rare or 125-130°F for medium.
7. Rest at least 15 minutes.
Serving Preparation: Cut into 3-4 inch sections parallel to the grain. Cut each section ACROSS the grain into thin slices.
Braai-Q’s BBQ Pork Ribwich
This recipe courtesy of Darrel Seskin of the Braai-Q - BBQ competition team.
MAKE THIS IN YOUR OVEN, YOUR SMOKER OR ON YOUR BBQ.
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
2. Lay the ribs on a long sheet of aluminum foil. Mix well all the ingredients for the dry rub in a small bowl, eliminating any lumps. Remove the membrane from the ribs. Coat the ribs evenly on both sides. Completely seal the ribs in foil. (The juices of the ribs must stay inside the foil to keep the ribs moist during cooking.) Bake the ribs for 3–3 1/2 hours until tender.
3. Unwrap the ribs carefully, then wiggle the bones out slowly. If you’re having trouble removing the bones, use a knife to make small cuts in the meat to aid their removal.
4. Preheat the broiler on your oven.
5. Combine the barbecue sauce and honey in a small bowl and generously brush both sides of the deboned slab of ribs, carefully handling the ribs since the meat will be super tender and hot. Broil the ribs for about 5 minutes until the glaze is bubbling and starting to brown.
6. Slice the bread loaf in half lengthwise, then butter both sides of the bread and toast under the broiler for a few minutes. Keep a careful eye on it as it will burn extremely quickly.
7. With two long spatulas or knives, carefully transfer the glazed ribs to the bottom bread half, then top with the fried onions, parsley, and the top half of bread. Cut into sandwiches if you want to share or hunker down yourself.
Says Darrel: “I prefer to make this in the smoker as it adds more smoky flavours from woods like apple, cherry and maple.”
▸ 1 rack of pork ribs (side or back)
▸ 1 loaf bread, like sourdough
▸ 2 large onions
▸ 2 Tbsp brown sugar
▸ 2 Tbsp paprika
▸ 2 tsp salt
▸ 1 Tbsp pepper
▸ 1 tsp garlic powder
▸ 1 tsp onion powder
▸ 1 tsp cumin
▸ 1 tsp chili powder
▸ 1 cup barbecue sauce (290 g)
▸ 1/4 cup honey (85 g)
▸ 1/4 cup butter, melted (55 g)
▸ Fried Onions
▸ 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
▸ 2 large onions, thinly sliced into half-moons and small rings
▸ 1 cup buttermilk
▸ 1 cup all-purpose flour
▸ Kosher salt
▸ Freshly ground black pepper
▸ Vegetable oil, for frying
1. In a medium bowl, soak onions in buttermilk for 10 minutes.
2. Add flour to a separate medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
3. Working in batches, grab a handful of onions with tongs. Shake off excess buttermilk then toss onions in flour mixture until fully coated. Set aside and repeat with remaining onions.
4. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat about 1” oil. When oil is shimmering, add onions, working in batches, and fry until golden, about 2 minutes.
5. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and season with more salt.
As I sit down to write this, the snow is receding, the grass is greening up, and calving is in full swing. I cannot tell you how happy I am, as spring always brings with it renewed optimism and hope for better times ahead. Particularly this year as we start to come out of our on-again-off-again lockdowns. With more home time this past year, I finally got around to reading more, putzing around the farm more, and, thanks to Terri, was introduced to the Joe Pickett series. Above all else, I was introduced to wood-fired grilling and was hooked. →
Every spring, I look forward to re-honing my BBQ skills and amazing everyone with a new season of taste sensations — at least in my mind. After close to 40 years of mastering a gas BBQ, I was surprised to find wood-fired grills are not only gaining ground but are highly-touted as the “ultimate grilling experience.” What intrigued me most was that wonderful quest for the perfect smoke ring and fall-apart tenderness.
There are many choices in wood-fired grills today, but after looking them over, I decided that this summer, cooking would be done with the Traeger Ironwood 650. Why? They are the original; I like the construction details, the close-it-and-forget-it method and the Wi-Fire™ technology. This app allows me to check and adjust temperatures from my office or in the field, knowing I would have a perfect meal when I returned home — or at least that is the promise.
Once the grill was delivered, we tore into the box and started assembly. Instructions were clear, and in no time flat, we had it assembled and ready to fire up. Best yet, we downloaded the Traeger app and found it was comprehensive and so easy to follow. The app included clear video instructions on grill assembly and detailed recipes that allow even a novice to serve up great results.
Gearing up for a full season of grilling, we decided to go to town and buy a few different types of pellets, Traeger spices and sauce. (see sidebar for pellet chart). We planned for short ribs and chicken wings but decided to go to our own grassfed, hormone-free beef for our first smoker session. We could easily compare the process and taste as we have years of BBQ experience.
After we seasoned the grill as per instructions, we were ready. We filled the hopper with pellets, prepped the roast with Traeger seasoning, and we were underway. The Wi-Fire technology is awesome! Once the lid was closed, we could completely monitor progress through my smartphone. Grill temperature, internal meat temperature, countdown timer, pellets remaining status, turn on “super smoke,” keep warm or manually adjust the temperature (or leave it on automatic), and finally, shut down at the end.
We were thrilled when we cut into the roast and first saw the smoke ring. My quest was over — there it was! The meal was wonderful; the beef was super tender and a hit at the family dinner.
Wish me luck on my quest for the perfect smoke ring and wood-fired grilling experience this summer. While I will focus on beef — chicken, pork, bison, salmon and wild game will also play a role. I will be keeping notes, and this fall will return with my favourite recipes, plus a comprehensive review of what worked best for us and what did not.
If you have some favourite smoker recipes or tips, please share them with me at email@example.com. c
Wood Pellets Explained
▸ mild flavour and aroma
▸ large amount of smoke
▸ best with chicken, fish, or baked goods
▸ light, fruity smoke
▸ best with poultry and pork, and apple pie
▸ hearty smoke flavour
▸ best with beef
▸ strong flavour
▸ often mixed with a milder pellet, like oak or apple
▸ best with pork
▸ mild with a hint of sweetness
▸ best with pork, and especially turkey
▸ hearty smoke flavour
▸ best with Texas BBQ recipes
▸ middle range smoke intensity
▸ best with fish and veggies, and shish kabob
▸ nutty and a little spicy
▸ best with beef, pork, or poultry
▸ adds great depth to baked goods
3-2-1 BBQ Baby Back Ribs
By DANIELLE “DIVA Q” BENNETT
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Our famously easy 3-2-1 ribs recipe will make your rib game the envy of the neighbourhood. This super simple recipe takes all the confusion out of making ribs without sacrificing any flavour. Start by smoking your ribs for 3 hours, then cook inside foil for 2 hours, and finish by removing from foil and brushing on the sauce for up to an hour.
2 RACK BABY BACK PORK RIBS
▸ 1/3 cup yellow mustard
▸ 1/4 cup apple juice
▸ 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
▸ Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub
▸ 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
▸ 1/4 cup apple juice
▸ 1/3 cup honey, warmed
▸ 1 cup Traeger ‘Que BBQ Sauce
Remove the thin silverskin membrane from the bone-side of the ribs by working the tip of a butter knife or a screwdriver underneath the membrane over a middle bone. Use paper towels to get a firm grip, then tear the membrane off.
In a small bowl, combine Part 1 (mustard, 1/4 cup of apple juice (reserve the rest) and the Worcestershire sauce.) Spread the mixture thinly on both sides of the ribs and season with Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub.
When ready to cook, set Traeger temperature to 180° and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes. Smoke the ribs, meat-side up for 3 hours. After the ribs have smoked for 3 hours, transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet and increase the grill temperature to 225°.
Tear off four long sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Top with a rack of ribs and pull up the sides to keep the liquid enclosed. Sprinkle half the brown sugar on the rack, then top with half the honey and half the remaining apple juice (Part 2). Use a bit more apple juice if you want more tender ribs. Lay another piece of foil on top and tightly crimp the edges so there is no leakage. Repeat with the remaining rack of ribs.
Carefully remove the foil from the ribs and brush the ribs on both sides with Traeger ‘Que Sauce. Arrange the ribs directly on the grill grate and continue to grill until the sauce tightens, 30 to 60 minutes more. Let the ribs rest for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Return the foiled ribs to the 225 ˚F grill and cook for an additional 2 hours.
Smoked Midnight Brisket
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 hours
This particular recipe for brisket is our foolproof, go-to method for cooking the perfect brisket. A combination of low and slow cooking, plus a long braise in its own beefy juices, makes this brisket a ribbon winner.
Part 1 sauce:
▸ 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
▸ 1 tablespoon Traeger Beef Rub
▸ 1 teaspoon Traeger Chicken Rub
▸ 1 teaspoon Traeger Blackened
▸ 1 (4-6 lb) flat cut brisket
▸ 1 cup beef broth
For the Sauce: Whisk Worcestershire sauce and Traeger rubs together in a bowl. Rub the mixture into the meat.
Set Traeger temperature to 180° and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes. For optimal flavour, use Super Smoke if available.
Place brisket on the grill until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160°, about 5 to 7 hours.
Remove from the grill and double wrap tightly with foil, add 1/2 cup to 1 cup beef broth, and return to grill.
Increase grill temperature to 225° and place brisket back on grill 4 to 5 hours until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 204°.
Remove from the grill and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing against the grain. Serve with your favourite Traeger BBQ sauce. Enjoy!