Spring BBQ: 5 tips for getting it just right

Angie Quaale, founder of the Barn Burner BBQ competition in Chilliwack, shares her tips.

Angie Quaale, founder of the Barn Burner BBQ competition in Chilliwack, shares her tips

Knowing when to barbecue and when to grill is important, as is knowing the difference between a marinade and a barbecue sauce, says expert Angie Quaale. (Getty Images)

The Barn Burner BBQ competition at The Farm Store in Chilliwack is now in its second year and is the brainchild of Angie Quaale, who owns Langley gourmet food store Well Seasoned.

Barbecue expert Angie Quaale owns Langley gourmet food store Well Seasoned. (Well Seasoned)

Through her store, Quaale has been running barbecue competitions in the Fraser Valley for a decade now, ever since first falling in love with "low and slow, southern-style barbecue."

Quaale joined host Gloria Macarenko on B.C. Almanac to provide some tips to get the best out of the grill:

1. Know when to barbecue and when to grill

"Here in Canada we call almost everything barbecue, but really the difference is the way it's done," Quaale said.

"Barbecue is done low and slow over wood or charcoal, there's no gas or propane involved," she said, adding that technique is good for large roasts.

"Grilling is something you would do with something like a steak or burger that's higher heat and can be done with your propane or gas barbecue."

She said barbecuing gives the meat a "smoky, wood, charcoal flavour" and can take a long time — a pork shoulder for example can take 14 hours.

2. Marinade tougher cuts of meat

The acid in a marinade will help break down the meat, Quaale said, but said if one marinates for too long with a very acidic marinade (i.e. one with lemon) the meat will turn out "very mushy."

"It depends on what it is you're marinating and what's in the marinade, but if you marinating a couple of hours before you're going to cook it, for most things I'd suggest that's probably sufficient."

She also said it is important to know the difference between a marinade and a barbecue sauce.

"A marinade is generally a combination of some oil, some acid, to infuse some flavours into the meat before you cook it.," she said.

"Barbecue sauce is meant just for finishing. If you use your barbecue sauce as a marinade, because there's a lot of sugars like maple syrup and brown sugar in sauces, it will burn if you're adding it too early.

3. Cooking cold meat is a big no, no

Bring the temperature of the meat to room temperature before you start cooking it, Quaale said.

She added that the warmer the meat is to begin with, the faster the cooking heat reaches the core without burning the surface.

4. Check the temperature

Get a meat thermometer, which can be purchased in most stores for under $20, Quaale said.

That will allow one to get the meat just right. For example, pork should be grilled to 140 degrees F and then taken off the heat to rest.

Quaale said to let the juices redistribute through the meat for at least five minutes before slicing.

"And fear not — a little bit of pink in a cooked pork chop is okay, you want it to stay moist."

5. Let the meat rest

As mentioned, when barbecuing, meat should be left to rest, Quaale said.

"Rested meat does not bleed out all over your cooking board. [It] soaks in the flavour of the rubs or sauces, and the meat looks juicy and lovely when sliced."

With files from CBC's B.C. Almanac

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Barbecue expert Angie Quaale gives her tips for getting the grilling just right.


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