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May 1, 2021

7 min. read

The allure of grilling is its simplicity: start a fire, put some food on it and feast! But there is an art to barbecue. Get to know your cuts and brush up with some tips for grilling them—then gussy things up with your favourite seasonings and side dishes.

Barbecue Cheat Sheet

Simple ways to give your meat, fish and veggies a good grilling.


With good marbling, it’s one of the most succulent cuts of beef. Set over indirect heat, close the lid and cook 20–30 min. for medium-rare. Finish by searing over direct heat, about 2–3 min. per side.


Cut from the loin section, it has less marbling than rib-eye but is more tender. Sear both sides for a couple of minutes with hot, direct heat. Dial down to medium and cook 15 min. more (for medium-rare), turning once.

Skirt steak

Rarely more than ¾ inches thick, this muscular cut benefits from seasoning with a rub or marinade 30 min. before grilling. Sear over high heat, 5–10 min. per side. It’s a good option for fajitas and sandwiches.


Whether you choose beef or meatless patties, cook directly over high heat for 4–7 min. per side, depending on size, to reach 160 F (for beef). If you like, top with cheese for the last minute or so.


Though typically made of pork, you can find ingredients to suit every diet. Put sausages in pan of water on stove; bring to boil and simmer about 15 min. Transfer to medium-low heated grill and cook a couple more minutes.

Boneless chicken

Use a meat mallet to flatten cuts of unequal thickness for even cooking. Brush with oil; grill over medium direct heat: 4–8 min. per side for breasts (to internal temperature of 160 F), or 7–10 for thighs (to 180 F).

Rack of lamb

Prep for medium-high indirect cooking. Grill 5 min. per side over direct heat. Move to indirect zone and cook 15–30 min. more, depending on rack size and desired doneness (140 F for medium).


When choosing a fillet, make sure it’s moist, vibrant and free of brown spots. Debone, brush with oil and season. Cook with medium-high direct heat, skin side down, for 5–7 min. Flip and grill 2 min. more.


Cut head of cauliflower into one-inch thick “steaks.” Coat with oil and grill over medium heat, 8–12 min. per side, until tender. Remove and sprinkle with lemon zest and parmesan.


Loaded with fiber, this veggie makes a hearty meal. Slice and soak in salt-water brine (2 Tbsp salt in 8 cups water) for 30 min.; pat dry. Oil and salt, then grill 5 min. per side over medium-high heat.


Remove husks and silks. Grill over medium direct heat for about 10 min., turning occasionally, until kernels are lightly charred and bright yellow. Serve with butter and seasoning.


Ideal as a grilled dessert served with lime dip. Peel, core and cut into inch-thick rings. Dredge in brown sugar and cinnamon (1 cup + 2 tsp, respectively). Grill over medium direct heat, 4–8 min. per side.

Superb Smoking

Some cuts (brisket, ribs, pork shoulder) are best cooked low and slow.


Use indirect heat. Build your fire on one half; place a water-filled foil pan on the other to help regulate humidity and temperature (refill as necessary).


Hickory and fruit woods (e.g. apple, cherry) are good for all-purpose smoking. Chunks or chips work well; chips will start to smoke right away. Less is more: 1–2 handfuls should do it.


Position vent opposite heat source. Open it for airflow, which helps keep coals and wood burning. Smoke exiting vent should be white; dark smoke indicates poor ventilation.


Keep temperature between 225 and 275 F. Lift the lid only when absolutely necessary to moisten meat with a spritz of water or cider vinegar. Be aware of wind: The extra airflow can cause temperature spikes.

Spice It Up

A good steak needs only salt and pepper. But other meats could use an extra kick. Try a dry rub, like this all-purpose spice rub. Apply it 30–60 min. before setting meat on the grill.

Illustrated list of ingredients for a spice mix, including measurements for kosher salt, white sugar, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, paprika, thyme, and cayenne.
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