In Quebec, summer isn’t complete without a few barbecues! When the good weather finally shows its face, there’s no bad reason for spending time outside! Cooking in the summer is wonderful because we have so much fresh produce at our disposal. Plus, the unique taste of food cooked on the grill, paired with good company, make barbecues a summer must. No matter the occasion, the weather or the tools you have, cooking on the grill is extremely versatile and delicious.
Starring Quebec produce
What really makes summer cooking special is all the seasonal produce, harvested by locals. The first step to a successful BBQ is making a trip to a farmer’s market or a roadside fruit and vegetable stand. The abundance of fresh local veggies, the amazing Quebec strawberries and the array of herbs grown on our balconies all provide great opportunities to eat healthy and local. Learn something new and get inspired by these incredible ingredients, or try new ways of preparing them. That’s the joy of summer cuisine!
Use the right tools
Make sure there is enough gas in your tank, or you have enough coal. You wouldn’t want to run out in the middle of cooking! Also, have some tongs and a spatula that are long enough to keep your hands from getting burned and a Teflon baking sheet, available in all hardware stores. Here’s a barbecue professional’s trade secret: place the baking sheet directly on the grill, which it should almost completely cover. Not only does this spare you the annoying task of scrubbing your grill, it also makes your barbecue even more versatile. This way, you can sauté directly on the grill and save the delicious meat juices, while grilling the food as usual.
Whip something up in a heartbeat!
So you received a surprise visit from the in-laws? Spent the day soaking up the sun? Just moved in? Don’t fret—you have quite a few options! First, try “reverse marinating,” which consists of pouring a strong marinade on the meat after it is cooked. Delicious results guaranteed!
A mix of oil seasoned with fresh herbs from the garden with a hint of balsamic vinegar to pour over meat or vegetables can be prepared in the blink of an eye.
Also, to speed things up a bit, you can use pre-made sauces from the grocery store. For example, salsa verde, Asian sauces, the famous Worcestershire sauce, and even store-bought vinaigrettes can be used on their own!
Papillote cooking is another interesting option, and it will save you time both cooking and doing dishes. Put an herb, a protein, an onion and a type of fat onto a piece of tin foil. Wrap it all up and place it right in the flames.
To make an Oriental style papillote, use green onions, sesame oil and ginger. For a French version, opt for herbes de Provence, French shallots and butter. When it is ready, bring the foil packet to the table, and open it right before serving. If you have time during the week, marinate meats, tofu and vegetables ahead of time before throwing them on the grill.
The possibilities of the BBQ are endless: kebabs, sautés, grilled or stuffed meats and vegetables—all that matters is that the food and company are good. After all, inviting family and friends over and cooking with them is what summer cooking is all about!