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Summer is here — and COVID-19 restrictions are lifting — which means we can finally celebrate with friends and family for all the occasions we've missed.
As many of us roll our barbecues out of hibernation, Chef Michael Gray, M&M Food Market’s head of product innovation, is here to help Canadians avoid common grilling gaffes with helpful tips to enjoy BBQ season like a pro.
Grey told Yahoo Lifestyle Canada that it is extremely important to spring clean your barbecue.
"Cleaning is a crucial step, and grilling amateurs and pros alike tend to overlook it," Grey said.
Grey suggests removing the build-up from last season to prevent grease fire and terrible tasting food and always check to make sure your BBQ is in working order and clean before lighting it up.
"For safety reasons, wooden scrapers are ideal. Don’t have a scraper? No problem. A ball of aluminum foil makes for a surprisingly effective scrubbing tool," Grey added.
When asked for tips on having a successful BBQ season, Dara Greenberg, barbecue expert at The Home Depot Canada, told Yahoo Lifestyle Canada that grilling is all about experimenting with new ways to cook and having fun.
“Consider building your arsenal of accessories to broaden the scope of your cooking from just burgers and hot dogs to creating an entire meal. You can buy grilling baskets, rib racks, cedar planks… the list goes on," Greenberg said. "And investing in a wireless thermometer is always a great buy as it will help ensure that you cook your food to perfection!”
When it comes to shopping for gas grills, Greenberg said it is important to think about how many people you are cooking for and how often you will be using your grill.
“If, for instance, you have a family of 4 and plan on grilling 3+ times a week for the spring/summer season, then you should ensure you look at grills that have at least 3 burners and come with a strong warranty to protect your investment," suggested Greenberg.
"You should also think about the type of foods you will be cooking. As an example, if you like to make chicken, consider a grill that you can add on a rotisserie kit to, or if you like to sear your steak, look for a grill with a sear station,” Greenberg added.
We've picked out 14 products for your backyard BBQ that range from small enhancements under $50 to bigger-budget items of $1,000 and up.
Backyard BBQ must haves under $1,100
Grilling just got smarter with the launch of Weber’s wifi-enabled grills. Weber makes grilling the perfect meal easy by integrating its Weber ConnectTM technology into its top-selling Genesis and Spirit gas grill lines. These smart grills offer a precision grilling experience that caters to each griller’s individual cooking needs – from real-time food monitoring and grill notifications, so you don’t have to lift the lid of the grill, to notifications guiding you on when to flip your food, to temperature tracking and food doneness monitoring.
SHOP IT: Weber, $949
The Traeger Pro 575 uses WiFIRE® technology, which allows you to monitor and adjust your grill anytime, anywhere from the Traeger app on your smartphone. The Pro Series wifi pellet grills now start quicker, heat up faster, and put out better smoke quality giving you consistent results infused with wood-fired flavour.
SHOP IT: Trager, $1,099
Create a cozy and comforting outdoor lounge area with COSCO Outdoor Living 4 piece Malmo resin wicker patio deep seating conversation set. It has resin wicker chairs with cushions and a tempered glass coffee table with a shelf.
SHOP IT: Walmart, $830
Backyard BBQ must haves under $500
With the Ninja® Foodi™ Smart XL 6-in-1 Grill, perfect for small space living, everyone can grill this summer! Its cool air zones and cyclonic grilling technology minimize smoke, delivering a char-grilled taste. Those that don’t have space for traditional barbeques will no longer run the risk of missing out on grilled summer favourites. This easy-to-clean tool also doubles as an air fryer so you can crisp up delicious sides like homemade French fries or crunchy zucchini fries.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $399
This wireless smart meat thermometer is perfect for outdoor cooking. Monitor your food using the free app available for smartphones and tablets. It has dual temperature sensors that allow you to monitor your internal meat temperature and eternal temperature. It can also estimate how long to cook your food and help you manage your time.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $220
The YETI Tundra 35 is the perfect addition to your backyard BBQ. It has up to three inches of PermaFrost™ Insulation and rugged rotomolded construction for optimum adventure performance.
SHOP IT: YETI, $350
Backyard BBQ must haves under $100
This 3-piece tool set is made from cast stainless steel with comfortable ergonomic handles. The large spatula is perfect for steaks and other large food. The easy-lock stainless steel tongs have a comfortable grip making it easy to hold and move your food. Splash on the sauce with the silicone basting brush.
SHOP IT: The Home Depot Canada, $65
Have a barbecue party with this chrome-plated steel cooking grate that offers 332 Sq. In. of cooking area to evenly distribute heat while preventing flare-ups while grilling burgers, hot dogs, pork chops, chicken and fish. The stay-cool hood handle helps prevent burns while grilling. It has folding legs that allow for easy transport and storage.
SHOP IT: Lowe's, $100
Backyard BBQ must haves under $100 under $50
The FoodSaver Preserve & Marinate Vacuum Containers lock in freshness and seal in flavour, with two different settings to choose from. It has a vacuum mode to help keep food fresh in the freezer, fridge and pantry and marinate mode to marinate meat, fish, and veggies in minutes instead of hours. These convenient FoodSaver containers nest and stack to help keep your kitchen organized. These containers have a long-lasting vacuum seal, a flexible lid with easy-open tabs, and are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
SHOP IT: Canadian Tire, $50
Matt & Steve’s offers the most flavourful summer snacks and beverages, perfect for bringing fun to any backyard festivity this summer. These pickles will elevate a classic burger or hotdog with a big crunch and bold taste. The Extreme Pickle Spears come in two classic flavours: Hot & Spicy and Garlic Dill.
SHOP IT: MattAndSteve.com, $18 for 3
Easily turn your gas grill into a smoker with Napoleon's BBQ Smoking Starter Kit. Fill the stainless steel smoker tube halfway with the chips of your choice, submerge in water, then place on the sear plates of your grill. Preheat the grill to low, and place whatever you're smoking on the grill. Close the lid and cook low and slow for perfectly smoked flavour.
SHOP IT: The Home Depot Canada, $30
Canada’s favourite season is upon us; grilling season! Beyond Meat is the perfect option for Canadians considering cutting beef from their diet. Beyond Meat has made it easier than ever to add plant-based protein to your backyard barbeque. As a result, Canadians can enjoy the delicious, crave-able and juicy taste of a summer barbeque that is good for their health and the environment without sacrificing the taste, texture, colour and cooking experience of traditional beef burgers.
SHOP IT: Walmart, $7
These 25-foot string lights create an ambiance in your backyard, patio, or any outdoor area. Designed with a durable black rubberized cord and clear glass G40 globe bulbs, the light string is adjustable and easily bendable for installation anywhere.
SHOP IT: Walmart, $40
MASTER Chef Grill Brush with Palmyra Bristles cleans grates with wooden fibre bristles made from Palmyra stalk. The fallen bristles will burn up or char while cooking to reduce the risk of bristles being found in your food.
SHOP IT: Canadian Tire, $15