My husband says you can barbecue an old boot and it would probably taste good. No doubt about it — the aroma of food sizzling on an outdoor grill is always heady and wonderful. But I’d be willing to bet that 99 percent of us barbecue the same-old-same-old: steak, hamburgers and hot dogs. Fess up! Then step on the wild side.
When our son Luke MacGregor was married at our home a couple of summers ago, he invited his good friend Patrick Fougere to grill fresh shark. Patrick is the Banquet Chef at Atlantica Hotel Halifax, so he knows a thing or two about food, and he loves to barbeque.
“It has a rawness to it you only get from cooking on fire. I also like it because it adds a smoky hint that gives the food a nice earthy feel,” he says.
Patrick made a homemade BBQ sauce by mixing together some hot sauce, honey, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. After he cooked the fish for two minutes each side, he then coated the fish with the sauce and cooked four more minutes each side.
I recently asked Patrick for some BBQ advice. He says:
If your food is sticking to the grill give it time. Food will just pull right off when it is ready.
Try mixing opposites like sweet and hot, salty and sour. If you make sauces or marinades this is the way to go. It lets the food speak through the flavors.
If you’re in a rush, get the grill as hot as you can and throw the frozen food right on the grill. You’ll be surprised how moist the food will be.
Special Way with Salmon
Soak a cedar plank in water overnight. (To submerge, anchor down with a can or rock.) When it’s time to cook the fish, place on the plank, lace the salmon with lime juice, then sprinkle it with sea salt, pepper, paprika and summer savory. Partially close the lid of the BBQ and cook for 10-12 minutes. Do this by propping up the lid with a rock or utensil so you can see if the board catches on fire.
Tip: Have a squirt jar of water on standby to douse any flames. “You want heat and smoke,” Phil says, “not flames!” Around 8-10 minutes, test with a small fork by inserting into the thickest part of the fish and giving a twist. “When cooked, salmon flakes easily,” Phil says. It’s as simple as that.
At this point I’m sure you all have some BBQ tips to share, so don’t be shy. Check out the fun recipes below, get your grill going, then jump into the conversation.
Sandra’s Spiced Veggie Kebabs
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 tbsp ketchup
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
Vegetables: baby tomatoes, small mushrooms, and chunks of green and red peppers, onions, broccoli, zucchini. Thread vegetables onto a skewer. Brush vegetables generously with the sauce. Grill for 10-12 minutes, turning frequently. Baste while cooking.
Pull back corn husks and remove strips of silk. Spread each ear of corn with a tablespoon of peanut butter, cashew butter or nut spread. Spiral a piece of bacon around the cob and fold the husks back over the bacon and corn. Place on grill. Should be done in 15-20 minutes. Turn frequently.
1 large eggplant
2 large tomatoes
lots of chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp soya sauce
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
Slice eggplant lengthwise into ½ inch strips. Brush olive oil on both sides. Grill until golden on each side. Meanwhile, thinly slice tomatoes. Make dressing with vinegar, soya sauce and garlic. Layer cooked eggplant, basil and tomatoes then pour the dressing on top. Serve at room temperature.
“Patrick Fougere gears up to BBQ fresh shark” © Heather Avery
“Phil Tower douses flames while cooking planked salmon” © Sandra Phinney
“Margo MacGregor BBQs a mess of her mother’s Spicy Kebabs” © Sandra Phinney