We sat down with Rich Graham, a spokesperson for Broil King Barbecues, to chat about one of our favourite summer topics: Barbecuing. Rich told us what prospective barbecue shoppers should be looking for in a grill, and why it’s worth investing in a natural gas-powered unit for your summer grilling needs. With ONGA and Broil King’s Canada Day barbecue giveaway contest coming to a close, here are some tips from Rich that barbecue aficionados everywhere can keep in mind as they celebrate with friends and family this summer.
Q: What are some things prospective barbecue buyers should be keeping in mind when they go shopping?
A: They should try to get the best possible quality of barbecue, regardless of their budget. You can get a well-built barbecue that performs for $199 just as easily as a $1500 barbecue that isn’t worth a hill of beans. Look for a cohesive cooking system – burners and vaporizers should work together to distribute heat evenly and it should have heavy cooking grids. Cast iron or stainless steel are both great. There are numerous bells and whistles to add after that, but a good cooking system is a must.
Q: What advantages does Broil King have over other brands?
A: Broil King Barbecues offer incredible cooking performance. We stake our reputation on that. You can get smaller, space conscious barbecues like our Monarch or spring for the Imperial XL with over 1000 square inches of cooking space. But you will always get the same great cooking performance from any Broil King. Our cooking system is designed for great performance – both high heat, and precise temperature control, and we make all of our barbecues in North America.
Q: What are the advantages to using natural gas for your barbecue?
A: Natural Gas makes life easy. You don’t have to worry about running out of propane and having to refill the tank at the most inopportune moment, i.e. when company is over for dinner, naturally.
Q: What are some cool trends you’ve come across for barbecues? How are grills evolving and what can we expect to be standard in the next few years?
A: Working in the barbecue industry for more than 10 years, the growth in overall cooking and barbecue knowledge has been incredible. Some things we have really enjoyed recently is the addition of a stuffed burger press in our accessory line, allowing you to put various toppings inside the burger. Mushroom and Swiss Cheese; Spinach, Sundried Tomato and Feta; Cheddar Cheese and Bacon; whatever you can come up with really. It’s an interesting twist on an old favourite. Other than beef, turkey and chicken burgers offer a wide range of flavour profiles to build on, too. Finally, finding a solid veggie burger recipe has been difficult, but there are some really good ones out there if you dig deep. Another personal project has been finding a good way to get crispy skin on barbecued chicken wings. It turns out that dusting them with a mixture of baking powder and salt (10 parts powder to one part salt) and letting them dry overnight in the fridge really crisps the skin when you put them on the grill. It’s a healthy alternative to deep frying.
Q: With summer now officially here, many will be curious about the best way to clean their grill after a long winter. Any tips?
A: Seasonal cleaning is the most important thing you can do to prolong the life of your barbecue. Light your barbecue, leave the burners on high for 20 minutes. Take your barbecue brush (Broil King makes some fantastic stainless steel bristled grill brushes) and scrub the cooking grids clean on both sides. Remove them and set them aside safely. Then brush down your vaporizers. The preheating should turn any food debris or grease into ash making it much easier to clean. Finally, remove the vaporizers and brush down the inside of the cook box. Depending on the design of the grill, this ash debris may be easy to remove from a removable grease tray in the bottom of the grill, or you may need to let it cool completely and clean it up using an industrial vacuum or a delicately handled putty knife or small pan to collect the debris. This type of seasonal maintenance ensures your barbecue will perform ideally for a number of years. If you identify any damage, it’s worth stopping in to see your local barbecue dealer. Even if you don’t need parts, they will certainly have some new accessory items that might inspire you to cook something new and interesting, which is never a bad idea!
Q: Any parting tips for our readers as they embark on another season of backyard barbecuing?
A: The biggest thing I can encourage people to do is be safe when barbecuing. Food safety is easy if you take a moment to plan out how you will cook and serve a meal. A good food thermometer is incredibly valuable in determining when foods are cooked. Undercooked food is a leading cause of food-borne illness, and it’s so easy to avoid. Last, but not least, barbecuing is a fun way to cook. Get outside with friends and family, enjoy the summer weather, and fire up that barbecue!