Take Your Grilling to the Next Level With These Tips and Tricks, Plus a Recipe for Guyanese Pepperpot Wings
From new ways to cook to new ideas for your grilling and backyard decor, we take a look at some tips to help you elevate your next backyard gathering. Photo: 10'000 Hours/GettyImages
Looking for better barbecue tips? We asked a few experts to give you their top tips for all the grill seekers out there — along with a South American take on chicken wings to challenge your palette with something new.
“Without question, we are seeing more people looking to either acquire their first or upgrade their existing grill,” says Stephen Schroeter, co-Chief Executive Officer of Napoleon. “Across the industry, sales are up an estimated 15 to 20 per cent. We are barely keeping pace with the demand.”
Here, a few emerging trends of which Schroeter and his team are taking note:
Experimentation: Instead of going out, people are looking inside their refrigerators to see what they can put on the grill. It is leading to some new flavour combinations and the growing realization that the grill is for much more than just cuts of meat. It is great for vegetables, can be used as an oven for pizzas, or to get creative with desserts.
Style: Matte black is all the rage. For years, stainless steel grills lined showroom floors, then coloured lids were introduced. This year, Napoleon’s Phantom Series is redefining the look of the barbecue with the classy and luxurious look of a silky matte black finish.
Accessories: The list of accessories for the grill is long, starting with the tools (tongs, spatulas and brushes) and running to rotisserie kits. To get the most versatility out of your grill, consider adding a few game changers to the arsenal:
A rotisserie basket makes grilled chicken wings so much easier. No need to flip each wing individually — just toss them in the basket and let them slow cook.
Adding a pizza stone creates so many new ways to use your grill. Pizza is the most obvious, but it can also be used to bake cookies or bread, cook frozen foods and even make quesadillas.
Smoker tubes and boxes bring new flavour experiences to your dishes, without having to invest in a whole other barbecue. Pack the smoker tube or box with the woodchips of your choice, place on the grill and close the lid. The Napoleon charcoal and smoker tray gives the owners of gas grills a chance to bring classic charcoal flavours to their meals too.
Tech: The key to good eating is making sure the temperature is spot on. You don’t want to under roast that chicken or turn your expensive steaks into overdone shoe leather. At the same time, when cooking or smoking a big cut of meat, you want to keep the lid closed to trap both the heat and smoke inside the grill. A Bluetooth thermometer not only allows you to set your cooking targets and send temperatures to your smartphone, but some models can also be used for multiple cuts of meat or to measure the ambient temperature in your grill or smoker to ensure you are cooking at the right level.
The outdoor experts at Home Hardware suggest that you think about transforming your backyard into an oasis as a start. Of course, we all know how good it makes us feel to be outdoors, but elevating a space can elevate your mood, as well. Having an outdoor place to unwind and relax is vital. Focusing on design elements that spark relaxation is a good place to start.
Having an outdoor dining space tops the list of summer must-have items. If space is at a premium, look for durable table and chair options that can easily fold up for a space-saving solution.
Make your outside area just as cozy as the inside by using pillows, throw blankets and comfortable seating set beside a fire pit for warmth. An L-shape sectional is the perfect piece of outdoor furniture that simply creates a welcoming space.
New Ways to ’Cue
According to a recent survey by The Home Depot Canada, cooking is the top activity keeping Canadians busy, with 46 per cent planning to increase the number of meals they make at home. Additionally, 19 per cent of Canadians are planning to take much more time off for 2021 staycations, making barbecue season and backyard oases more important than ever.
But let’s take it up a notch. Summer cooking isn’t just about propane barbecues anymore. Look for new options, including pellets and smokers, which provide diversified meals and flavours and an elevated summer staycation experience.
“With Canadians staying at home, we have seen more people turn cooking into their at-home hobby. Barbecuing is an easy way for people to add flavour to their daily cooking routine while enjoying the outdoors,” says Dara Greenberg, barbecue expert at The Home Depot Canada.
Here, Greenberg’s top grilling tips:
Be prepared — prior to heating your grill, scrape away any debris from your last meal. Then, season the grates with high heat cooking oil to prevent sticking. Remember, a little goes a long way! Also make sure you have extra propane on hand in case you run out.
Invest in a cover if the pellet grill is stored outside. Water can get into the hopper and clog the machine. Make sure to clean and remove ash from the firepot on a regular basis.
Once on the grill, leave your food alone and keep the lid shut. Try not to move it around — food only needs to be flipped once!
The Home Depot Canada has also partnered with barbecue expert chef Devan Rajkumar, also a judge on the Food Network show Fire Masters.
Chef Rajkumar also has a few tips of his own when it comes to the grill:
“Cooking with barbecues and smokers help push the boundaries of cooking while keeping the mess outside,” he notes.
- For barbecues, look for even heat distribution. When you are cooking multiple items, like eight burgers, ensure the ones in the front are being cooked the same as the ones in the back.
- For smokers, you want to ensure the smoke stays trapped inside, so look for a smoker that seals well. To amp up the smoking flavour, try different blends of wood. His favourite combination is apple, cherry and hickory wood.
Chef Dev’s top tip for cooking Guyanese Pepperpot Wings: when cooking wings on the smoker, make sure to oil the grates so they don’t stick.
Remember, low and slow breaks down the connective tissue for more tender wings. Check out his Guyanese Pepperpot Wings below.
Guyanese Pepperpot Wings
2 lbs chicken wings, skin trimmed
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp ginger, pureed
½ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ground cloves
1-2 Wiri Wiri or 1 scotch bonnet pepper
1 orange, zested
1 tsp all spice powder
2 tbsp brown sugar
4-5 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
¼ cup Cassareep
1 tbsp thyme, leaves picked
Prep in Advance:
Chicken wings should be marinated for a minimum of one hour for best results overnight.
Leftover marinade should be reserved for basting.
- Large mixing bowl
- Food processor or hand blender
- Heat safe spoon or spatula
- Chef’s knife and cutting board
1. In a bowl or food processor, add cassareep, onion, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Mix well to incorporate then add brown sugar, orange peel, thyme and wiri wiri peppers. Blend in a food processor or with a hand blender to form pepperpot marinade.
2. Trim the skin on the chicken wings. Toss the wings in the marinade, coating them evenly.
3. Marinate the wings and leave for one hour minimum, for best results overnight in the refrigerator.
4. Preheat the grill to 300F. Place chicken wings on the grill, reserve marinade left in the bowl.
5. Grill for 30-35 minutes and flip once basting with the remaining marinade. Cook for another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160F – 165F.
6. Plate at a height and garnish with thyme leaves and orange zest. Serve immediately.
Make Sure You Marinade It
Did you know that, in 2020, according to a poll done by Ipsos, there was a five per cent uptick in Canadian’s barbecuing compared to 2019? And if this summer is any indication, the staycation and the backyard cookout is going to gain even more traction. Canadians are looking for safe, outdoor gathering options.
And, to make it all just that much tastier, you need to baste and marinade for maximum flavour. But looking for a new twist on the same old barbecue sauce? We asked the experts at Melitta Canada to share a coffee-inspired marinade. You’ll look at your morning java a whole new way.
Hot ‘n’ Saucy BBQ Mop
8oz Melitta® Colombian Supreme coffee, brewed and chilled
12-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. In a large non-reactive saucepan, combine the cooled coffee, tomato paste, water, mustard, horseradish, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, butter, pepper, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper.
2. Bring the sauce to a quick boil over high heat.
3. Stir and blend well. Reduce the heat and simmer over very low heat, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes. Can use as a marinade or as a sauce to top steaks, pork chops, chicken or ribs hot off the grill.
4. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container.