Re-Thinking The Summer Barbecue

May 15, 2020 | Food and Culture

Hotdogs, hamburgers, the odd skewer of meat and/or vegetables, maybe a steak or chicken breast and baked potatoes. When you think about having a summer barbecue some or all of the things I just listed probably popped into your mind. But what if I told you there was more…much more that you can do with your barbecue? What if I told you that you have been missing out? Well, there is and you have been.

Today we are going to look briefly at a few things I have cooked on my barbecue in the last few weeks. Things that maybe you have seen, maybe you haven’t. However, this post is not going to be definitive. It is simply the beginning of what I think will be the most exciting series that we have done on the blog thus far. Over the course of the summer, we are going to really focus on the barbecue and all the unique things that can be cooked on it. It’s my hope that by the end of the summer we will all be pitmasters.

What makes this so exciting for me is that for the last decade or so I have lived in apartments without any outdoor space, meaning no barbecue. Now, I have both and we are all going to take full advantage. What do I mean by that? Well, as I said we are going to focus on barbecue, but not just the old propane grill. We will look at cooking with charcoal, with smoke, and on an open fire as well. And I am going to be learning a lot of new things right along with you. Will you join me?

With that, let’s take a look at what I’ve been up to over the last few weeks. These items were just everyday meals that we had and were never really inteded to be focus points on the blog. It is my hope that in sharing them you you will get a quick glimps at what the blog will look like over the next few months. Just to be clear, not every post over the next few months will be about Barbecue, but a lot of them are going to be.

Alright, let’s take a look.


One my my favourite things to cook on the grill at the moment is whole chickens. I take the back bone out and flatten them, this is called spatchcock. Doing this allows the chicken to cook quicker and much more evenly. The chicken in the picture above is actually Piri Piri chicken that Suzanne and I teamed up to make for dinner lastnight. I spatchcocked and cooked the chicken, she made the marinade. What’s great about this is that you can marinate the chicken however you’d like or not at all.

Part of the reason I love cooking the whole chicken on the grill rather than just legs or breasts is that the chicken stays much more moist. The fat from the skin and the moisture in the bones helps prevent the chicken from drying out. Another great side effect of this is that you get more flavour out of the chicken as well. It also looks cool. I call that a win, win, win. Or to put it another way, winner winner chicken dinner!

Pork Chops

Something truly magical happens to pork chops when they are cooked on a grill. The fat takes on this ridicouls flavour, along with this light crispness. The meat get’s a little caramelized, and the whole thing just becomes something truly special. As with the chicken it doesn’t really matter how you marinate the pork chops, or what sauce you put on them, as long as they arn’t over cooked that are going to be delicious. The only thing I will say is that if you are using a sweet BBQ sauce only apply it in the last half of cooking otherwise it may burn which no one wants.


Often when we think about cooking on the barbecue we think of fairly thin cuts of meat. However, there is no reason that you can’t cook a roast on the grill. I did just that a few weeks ago with a 3 lb beef rib roast. And yes if you are wondering, it tasted just as good as it looked.

The trick to cooking large pieces of meat on the grill is that same as the trick for cooking them in the over. Start them on high heat to get a nice sear, turn the heat down and cook them on low for the rest of the way. Also, while the roast is cooking all the sides can be prepared on the grill as well. Even though the roast in the picture above is beef there is no reason that you can’t do this with pork, lamb, or anything else you can think of.


Anything that can be cooked can be booked on the barbecue. Here I cooked a whole butternut squash and some baby red potatoes. I did this without any fancy pans or tinfoil. Just straight on the grill.

I think that a lot of people get caught up trying to over complicate sides (and everything) when it comes to barbecue. The really beauty of cooking over a fire is that the fire adds so much of it’s own flavour that you really don’t need to do much else. A little olive oil, salt and pepper, and some fire will take you very, very far.

Of course, other vegetables like green beans, asparagus, onions, sweet potato, carrots, cabbage, all of it can be cooked on the grill. Don’t believe me? I’ll say it again, anything that can be cooked, can be cooked on the barbecue.


I hope that you are looking forward to this series as much as I am becasue I am very excited. If you have an idea for a barbecue post let me know and you may just see it right here. Also, what are you favourite things to grill? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Thank you everyone, have a great weekend and remember to subscribe to the blog so you never miss a post again.


  1. Gina Macdonald

    Another great post! (Ps – the house dead centre across the River is where I grew up.)

  2. Chef Ben Kelly

    Thank you Gina, it is such a beautiful area. Your lucky to have grown up here

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