Barbecuing adds the flavours of summer

Proper preparation can make even tough meat tender

Some people say that a true Canadian is someone who barbecues year round. Myfriend Greg certainly qualifies — it’s not unusual to see him outsidein the middle of a snowstorm, flipping steaks. But for most of the restof us, the warm weather signals the start of barbecue season and welove to throw everything from ribs and steaks to burgers on the grill.

Almostevery culture has some form of cooking over an open flame. In Australiait’s a barbie; in Brazil a churrasco; in Japan, it’s called yakiniku;in Jamaica it’s jerk; and in South Africa it’s braai. In Canada,backyard chefs are happy to turn on the gas grill, but most culturesprefer wood or charcoal. In the Southern U.S. — birthplace of truebarbecue, according to most authorities — you aren’t really barbecuingunless there’s a closed lid and wood smoke involved. And it should takeseveral hours as the smoke permeates the meat, tenderizing even thetoughest cut and adding a glorious flavour.

“Grilling is quickand relatively easy, but not nearly as satisfying as low and slow,”asserts Kerry Knoll, co-owner of Highway 61, a Southern style barbecuerestaurant in Leaside. “If done properly, even cheap cuts of meat suchas brisket or pork shoulder can come out amazingly tender, moist andflavourful.”

When barbecuing, rubs and sauces are commonadditions to flavour the meat. Rubs are dry and used to season andtenderize before cooking. Barbecue sauce should only be added near theend of cooking. In the Southern US, they use mops, a sort of wash tokeep the meat moist. These are brushed on with a small mop, hence thename. Beer or cider vinegar is a frequent ingredient.

Kerry Knoll’s Rib Rub
Knollsuggests, “When buying ribs, look for racks that don’t have bonesshowing through the top. Called “shiners” in industry parlance, thesemean the butcher has trimmed too much, and you’ll be left hungry.”

Thisis a rub that he uses when he barbecues at home. I crushed whole cuminand coriander seeds when making this. The flavour is Italian meetsIndian — entirely unique.

3 parts dry mustard
5 parts paprika
2 parts garlic powder
2 parts lemon pepper spice
2 parts basil
5 parts cumin
1 part MSG (optional)
2 parts curry powder
1 part coriander

Rubinto the ribs, both sides, preferably the night before but at leasthalf an hour before cooking. The excess can be stored for up to threemonths in a jar or zip-lock bag.

Happy barbecuing!

For more on how to prepare yummy meat and vegetables on the barbecue click here.

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Posted: Jun 10 2010 5:19 pm
Filed in: Food & Dining
Edition: Toronto