Summer BBQ tips

Whether on a patio, at the beach, on a dock, in a tent, or simply sitting in the backyard watching the grass grow, summer is all about getting outside to savour the sunshine. What better way to enjoy the great outdoors than with a BBQ! As chicken fans, we’re keen to cook up chicken breasts, thighs or drumsticks as part of a mixed grill. If we have a little more time, we’ll go for a whole chicken cooked over a beer can. With so much fresh produce in season, we might make up some chicken skewers that incorporate seasonal vegetables. And of course there’s always room for wings on our grill.

To help you enjoy a season of tasty and safe al fresco dining, here are some BBQ food safety tips.

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Storing raw meat in the refrigerator
At home, store raw meat in the refrigerator immediately after you return from the grocery store. Freeze raw poultry or ground beef that won’t be used within one to two days. Freeze other raw meats if they won’t be used within four to five days.

Storing raw meat in a cooler
If you are storing your meat in a cooler before barbecuing, make sure that the cooler is kept cold with ice packs. Keep the cooler out of direct sunlight and avoid opening it too often, because it lets cold air out and warm air in. Ensure that your meat products are well sealed and that ice water doesn’t come in contact with stored meat products. This can lead to cross-contamination with others items in the cooler. You may also want to use two coolers, one for drinks (as it may get opened more often) and another one for food. Whether you are storing the meat in the refrigerator or a cooler, always remember to keep food out of the temperature danger zone of 4°C to 60°C (40°F to 140°F). Bacteria can grow in this temperature range. In as little as two hours in this range, your food can become dangerous.

Marinate meat in the refrigerator, not on the counter. If you want to save some of the marinade to baste cooked meat or use as a dipping sauce, make sure to set some aside in the refrigerator that hasn’t touched uncooked meat. Don’t use leftover marinade that has been in contact with raw meat on cooked food.


Keep hot food hot
Remember to keep hot food hot until served. Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill, not directly over coals where they can overcook.

Serving food
Use a clean plate when taking food off the grill. Remember not to put cooked food on the same plate that held raw meat. This prevents it from being re-contaminated by raw juices.

Cool food by using shallow containers, so that it cools quickly. Discard any food left out for more than two hours. On hot summer days, don’t keep food at room temperature for more than one hour.

For a guide to safe cooking temperatures for various meat cuts, and for other safe BBQ cooking tips, visit the Government of Canada’s website.

Need some BBQ inspiration? Check out this recipe for Sambal Glazed Chicken Wings. Or try our new fresh organic chicken burgers.

Curry-Rubbed Smoked Chicken Thighs with Sorghum-Chile Glaze

Curry Rubbed Smoked Chicken Thighs

SERVES 4 to 6

1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder, plus more for garnish
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground fennel
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon chile de àrbol powder
1/4 cup canola oil
Sorghum-Chile Glaze (Recipe Follows)

Sorghum-Chile Glaze
3/4 cup sorghum
1 teaspoon chile de àrbol powder
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper


[1] To make the brine, bring 4 cups of cold water, 1/2 cup of the salt, and the sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan and cook until the salt and sugar are dissolved, about 2 minutes. remove from the heat and let cool completely.

[2] Put the chicken thighs in a bowl, add the cooled brine, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Remove from the bring, rinse well, and pat dry with paper towels.

[3] Combine all the spices with the remaining 2 teaspoons salt in a small bowl. Rub each chicken thigh with some of the spice rub, put in a zip-top bag, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.

[4] Soak 1 cup apple or hickory wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator for 30 minutes before cooking.

[5] Heat your smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If using a charcoal or gas grill, set up a drip pan with water on the bottom grates and heat the grill to low for indirect grilling. For a charcoal grill, put half of the drained wood chips over the hot coals, add the cooking grate, and close the cover. For a gas grill, add the wood chips to a smoker box or foil pouch, put on the cooking grates of the grill toward the back, and close the cover. For both grills, open the vents halfway and maintain a temperature around 250°F. Let smoke build for 10 minutes.

[6] Put the chicken in the smoker or grill over the pan filled with water. Smoke for 40 minutes. Add the remaining drained wood chips, add more water if needed to the drop pan — and hot coals if needed — and continue to smoke the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh registered 165°F, about 1 hour more. During the last 15 minutes of smoking, brush the thighs with some of the glaze.

[7] Remove the chicken from the grill, tent loosely with the foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve brushed with more of the glaze and sprinkled with ancho powder.

Sorghum-Chile Sauce

[1] Whisk together the sorghum and chile de àrbol powder; season with salt and pepper.

[2] Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Excerpted from Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction.  Copyright © 2013 by Bobby Flay. Published by Clarkson Potter..  Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.