It’s just not summer without a BBQ. Whether you’ve been BBQing for years or have just bought your first BBQ we can all learn something from the pros. We asked Brian Misko from House of Q to share some of the secrets he uses while competing in BBQ cooking competitions. Brian and his partner Glenn Erho compete together, teach BBQ classes and have even created their own line of sauces and rubs. Talk about a local expert! Here are some great tips from Brian.
Q. Should you always marinate meats for the BBQ? How long should they be marinated for?
A. If you are getting good meat at the store, marinating often takes the back seat. Good meat should be flavorful, tender and just simply awesome by itself without adding a lot of other flavors. This track of thought is exactly what I teach when talking about beef steaks – source great beef first and there is no need for marinades. For awesome steaks just use olive oil, salt and pepper.
Chicken on the other hand is a great meat to marinade. My favorite for chicken wings, believe it or not, is simply hot sauce like Frank’s or Tobasco, that’s it. Let it sit for a few hours, or even a day, then grill them up.
Q. Can you share one of your favorite marinade recipes?
A. A favorite marinade of mine is 1/2 cup House of Q Slow Smoke Gold mustard sauce, 1/2 cup white wine, fresh rosemary and garlic and then a rack of lamb cut into chops. Ya-ha-hum!
Q. Is there a way to determine how well a steak is cooked besides cutting it open?
A. Cutting into a steak when it is cooking is a huge NO-NO of international BBQ proportions! Here’s why… when meat cooks the meat fibre tightens just like a coil. Surrounding the meat is collagen and fat and while cooking this dissolves into juice. However, once the meat is removed from the heat the meat fibre loosens up once again thus allowing more room for the juice to “fill in the space”. If you cut into the meat, all that lovely, tasty juice escapes. So if you are one of the knife users at the grill – stop it – save the knife for the table.
To determine how well a steak is cooked there are two methods: 1) temperature and 2) touch. Touch takes a bit of practice to get down but it’s a skill that once mastered you take with you everywhere. When using the temperature method, a medium-rare steak is done and ready to remove from the heat at 135F.
Q. BBQ’s are for more than just grilling meat, what kind of vegetables work well on the grill?
A. Name it. I’ve grilled everything from the usual suspects like potatoes, asparagus, peppers and mushrooms to the more unsuspecting vegetables like beets, carrots, green beans, raddichio and even romaine lettuce.
With vegetables and in most instances, coat them with olive oil and salt and pepper. That allows the vegetables to sear, char and carmelize the natural sugars that are in the vegetables
Q. What are some of your favorite things to grill?
A. I am a huge sucker for homemade sausage especially made with fresh ground pork. Pork is fantastic to take on flavors, is easy to cook and is amazingly tasty. There are recipes for making hand-made sausage recipes (http://www.houseofq.com/recipes.html?p2_articleid=22) on my web site and if you can make a burger, you can make sausage.
Q. What are some common mistakes you people make on the BBQ.
A. Over-cooking is a frequent culprit for challenged BBQ cooks. Turn down the heat, keep control of your cooking plan and know your meat temperatures. Buy a good digital thermometer and use it! A medium-rare steak is done and ready to remove from the heat at 135 F, chicken/poultry needs to get to 165F and a pork loin can rest at 145 F.
Thanks, Brian for the great tips! Readers, maybe this year we can all give Dad a break on the upcoming Father’s Day, and try out our new skills! Pick up some premium steaks from The Town Butcher and voila – a perfect Father’s Day meal.