The Meal Plan – Happy Thanksgiving

Hey there and welcome to another instalment of the Meal Plan. Well folks, today is Thanksgiving for we Canadians, and while we don’t celebrate it with nearly as much enthusiasm and patriotism as our American cousins, I’m sure each and every one of you is going to celebrate this holiday in your own special way. We here at Hawley Crescent hope to help you out by providing you with some context for the holiday and some ideas for its most iconic dish: turkey.

Despite the similarities to the U.S. holiday, Canadian Thanksgiving’s roots come from ancient European traditions. Since ancient times, Europeans would give thanks every fall for all their prosperity they’d had that year. Traditionally this holiday was held in the month of October.

The first recorded Canadian Thanksgiving was held in 1578 by an English explorer named Martin Frobisher, who arrived in Newfoundland 43 years before the pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Frobisher’s journey to Newfoundland was a tricky one, filled with storms and ice. So when he and his fleet of ships finally made anchor in the New World, he wanted to give thanks for the safe journey.

Canadians continues to unofficially celebrate Thanksgiving for the next few hundred years until it was made a national holiday in 1879. It was decided that it would be celebrated on November 6th every year, but after the world wars, Canadians found themselves celebrating Thanksgiving on the same week as Remembrance Day. On Jan 31st, 1957, the Canadian parliament declared that the second Monday of every October would be the new day to celebrate Thanksgiving, which they declared, “a day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.”

So as you can see, while we share the same name as the holiday held in the United States, our two countries have completely different reasons for celebrating. For the States it’s to remember the pilgrims arrival, but for us it’s a time to give thanks for our fortune, which makes more sense when you remember that Canada is further north than the States. Winter arrives sooner for us than it does for them, so our forefathers would have needed all the time they could get to bring in their harvests. And sure, we might not have the same hardships they did (let’s face it, ours are probably worse), but it’s always good to take a moment to step back and focus on all the good things that have happened in our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

And as we all know, big social get-togethers hinge on the right food being served. Since its Thanksgiving, we’re going to talk turkey about turkey.

Turkey is a large wild fowl native only to the Americas, though they are more prominent in North America over South America. The specimen seen on the market is generally domesticated turkey, though it is possible to buy some wild turkey depending on where you get your meat.

Turkey has always been regarded as an excellent source of protein, but recent studies have given light to new nutritional values as well. For one, it is believed that eating skinless turkey can actually help to prevent pancreatic cancer. This can probably be linked to turkey’s overall nutritional value; a three ounce serving of boneless and skinless turkey meat has approximately 28 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, and 0 grams of saturated fats, making it a much healthier alternative to red meats. These high levels also allow your body to stabilize insulin levels after consuming a hefty meal, which in turn helps keep your blood glucose levels in check.

There are dozens of ways to prepare a turkey, and I’m sure everyone has their own home made tried and true recipe. But for those of you maybe wanting to step outside of your usual methods, here’s a beautiful whole turkey recipe to cut your teeth on from

Maple Turkey

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  • 2 cup apple cider
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 (12 lbs) whole turkey, neck and giblets reserved
  • 2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 ½ cup chopped celery
  • 1 ½ cup chopped carrots
  • 3 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup apple brandy


  • Combine apple cider and maple syrup in a saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until reduced to ½ cup, then remove pan from heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon thyme, 1 tablespoon marjoram, and lemon zest. Stir in butter until melted, and season with salt and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate until cold.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place rack in lower third of oven.
  • Place turkey on a rack set in a roasting pan. Reserve ¼ cup maple butter for gravy, and rub the remaining maple butter under the skin of the breast and over the outside of turkey.
  • Arrange onion, celery, carrots turkey neck and giblets around the turkey. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon thyme and 1 tablespoon marjoram over vegetables. Pour 2 cups broth into pan.
  • Roast turkey for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Cover entire turkey loosely with foil. Continue roasting for about 2 ½ hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Transfer turkey to platter, and let stand 30 minutes.
  • Strain the pan juices into a large measuring cup, and then remove any excess fat. Add enough chicken broth to pan juices to measure 3 cups. Transfer liquid to a saucepan, and bring to boil. In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup maple butter and 1/3 cup flour until smooth. Whisk flour and butter mixture into broth mixture. Stir in remaining thyme and the bay leaf. Boil until reduced to sauce consistency, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix in apple brandy, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Makes 12 servings.

I hope you give this recipe a try sometime – it is a real Canadian style turkey recipe that I’m sure that the entire family will love.  We at Hawley Crescent would like to wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving, enjoy your turkey – leave room for some pumpkin pie!


The Meal Plan – Quail and Other Game Fowl

Hey there and welcome to another installment of The Meal Plan. Boy, October sure did greet us with a bang, didn’t it? We’ve gone from such a warm and beautiful summer to BOOM, autumn in a hurry. But don’t let the bad weather get you down; there’s still lots of festive meals that can be cooked up while you’re keeping warm indoors, such as today’s golden bird, the quail.

The name quail is actually a term used to describe a large number of medium-sized game birds. They generally resemble a smaller, less robust partridge, though some species like the California quail have the trademark overhanging feather that is often associated with quails. There are two families of quail; the Old World Quail, who are native to Europe, and the New World Quail, native to North America, and the group that we are most familiar with.

When it comes to nutrients, quail is very similar to duck in many ways, particularly with their high fat content located in the skin of the animal. They also contain a high amount of protein; approximately 19 grams in a 3-ounce serving of quail meat, which is close to 35{a908f3cfa73a8de8bf6f2b96e240bb7c9d3f5bad987c2ee76ba0db26a64817a2} of your daily protein intake. Skinless quail also has approximately 5{a908f3cfa73a8de8bf6f2b96e240bb7c9d3f5bad987c2ee76ba0db26a64817a2} of your daily fat intake. Quail also contain high amounts of the mineral Phosphorus, which is used to improve kidney functions, cell growth, and strengthening your bones. Finally, quail contains high amounts of Vitamin C, which your body utilizes to form bones, ligaments, blood vessels, and tendons.

With all these benefits, it’s a shame that most people completely skip over quail. It is one of my favourite dishes to preparebecause it has one of the most unique flavours among poultry you’ll find on the market, yet it’s ignored for one reason or another, be it too much fat, too little meat, or just through a lack of exposure. But if you do decide to try out quail this holiday season, you won’t be disappointed by the versatility that this bird offers, as can be seen in this recipe from


Spice Rubbed Quail


  • 8 semi-boneless quail
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper
  • Scant ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • Scant ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons mild molasses
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


  • Wash quail and pat dry. Stir together salt, black pepper, cayenne, and allspice and rub all over quail.
  • Arrange quail in 1 layer in a baking pan and marinate, covered and chilled, at least 1 hour.
  • Simmer broth, lime juice, molasses, and scallion in a small heavy saucepan, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in butter until incorporated. Season sauce with salt and pepper and keep warm.
  • Arrange oven rack so that top of quail (on top of broiler pan) will be 2 inches from heat, then preheat broiler.
  • Lightly oil broiler pan and heat under broiler until hot. Brush quail (on both sides) with olive oil and broil 2 inches from heat, turning once, until just cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes total.
  • Serve quail drizzled with sauce.
  • Makes 4 servings.

Since we’ve been verring on the adventurous side of fowl, I recommend that you try some of the following in the coming months:

Capon – this castrated rooster is plenty flavourful as it is bred and raised to be fattened up for eating.  It has a tasty buttery flavour to the meat and is well worth the effort, though it is more expensive than chicken because of the difficult process of casteration and raising.  You will have to go to a butcher or specialty meat shop to find it, but rest assured, it is something that you should do at least once, simply to experience.

Goose – A dish that is still popular in Chinese, Eurpean and Middle Eastern cultures, the goose hasn’t really taken off here in North America.  It has a distinct flavour that has made it a favourite Christmas dish in Europe, particularly in Germany an is often an alternative to turkey for holiday meals.

Pheasant – This game fowl has often been regarded as a nobleman’s feast because of it’s rich heritage among aristrocratic gentlemen hunters of old.  This lean gamey meat makes for a tasty autumn treat.  It has made a resurgence, so to speak, in the UK as an alternative to red meat.  It’s versatile and flavourful to boot and can be cooked in a variety of different methods that I’m sure that you’ll never grow tired.

Partridge – No, we are not talking about Keith or Danny from the 70s TV show the Partirdge Family, this meat is very lean and dark, like pheasant but not as delicate.  This is the most difficult game fowl to find and should certainly be on your cooking bucket list for that reason alone.  It has a high concentration of vitamins and nutrients, which would make it a treat for the health concsious as well.

One other fowl that doesn’t need any introduction at this time of year would be the turkey – but we’ll all be working wonders with it over the next few weeks (stay tuned)

The Meal Plan – Duck

Hey there and welcome to another Hawley Crescent Blog. Time sure does fly, doesn’t it? We’re already three weeks into September, and October is just around the corner, which means Thanksgiving is fast approaching. As such, I think it’s only appropriate to begin talking about some of the various types of birds that will soon be working their way onto your dinner tables. We’ll kick things off with one of my absolute favourite foods: duck.

Though the idea of raising ducks for food might come off as strange to some people, humans have been raising ducks for at least 4000 years. In many cultures, particularly those in Asia, duck is still raised as a popular and widely consumed dish thanks to its unique favour for a poultry dish. In western culture, we enjoy duck as a high class treat.

One of the reasons duck has remained such a sought after food is its high nutritional value. To begin, a 3.5 serving of duck meat will provide approximately 58{a908f3cfa73a8de8bf6f2b96e240bb7c9d3f5bad987c2ee76ba0db26a64817a2} of the daily protein for adults. Duck meat also contains a fair amount of zink and selenium, which combine to provide you body with enzymes needed to keep up your cell’s metabolisms. On their own, zink boosts your immune system and selenium improves your thyroid gland, which produces proteins and hormones that regulate your body’s growth rate and organ functions. Finally, duck contains Vitamin B-5 and B-12, which both help to support the functions of your nervous system, as well as protecting your nerves from damage.

Despite all these benefits, many people tend to shy away from duck under the assumption that it’s a fatty food. The truth is, what fat a duck has is all in its skin. If you’re really concerned about your fat intake, cut the skin off before you begin cooking. If you want a little bit of the fatty flavour, then keep a small amount of skin on so that only a little fat will seep into the meat.

Duck is one of those beautiful foods that have a million and one ways it can be prepared. For this blog, I’ve chosen two equally beautiful recipes for roasted duck from that are just begging to be tried out in the coming holidays. First up, here’s a recipe for duck breasts.

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Grilled Duck Breasts with Red Wine and Orange Sauce


Instructions: Red Wine and Orange Sauce

  • Combine the orange juice and honey in a large skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a syrup, about 15 minutes.
  • Add the vinegar, stir to combine, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the wine, raise the heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture reduces by half (8 to 10 minutes). Add the chicken stock and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture reduces to a syrupy consistency, and there is about 1½ cups of liquid remaining (10 to 15 minutes).
  • Remove the pan from the heat, add the pumpkin pie spice, season with salt and pepper to taste and stir to incorporate. Add the butter and gently swirl with a wooden spoon until incorporated and the sauce takes on a satiny gloss. Keep the sauce war, over very low heat.


Duck Breasts

  • Using a sharp knife, carefully remove about one-third of the fatty skin from the surface of each breast. With the tip of the knife, score the fat with a crosshatch design, being careful not to cut through to the meat. Spread the oil evenly over the duck breasts, then sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the spice mixture over each breast, a teaspoon on the fatty side and a teaspoon on the other side, and press the spices into the surfaces.
  • Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Place the duck breasts, skin side down, in the skillet, lower the heat just a notch to medium-low and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until the skin is crisply browned. Spoon out the excess fat from the pan as it is rendered. Turn the breasts and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the meat on the opposite side is lightly browned. Transfer the breasts to a cutting board and set aside to rest for 5 minutes; they will continue to cook while resting.
  • Using a sharp carving knife, cut the duck breasts in half crosswise, then cut each half into ¼ inch slices. Divide among six warmed serving plates, arranging the slices fat side up. Spoon the sauce over the duck and serve.
  • Makes 6 servings.


And here’s a recipe for a whole duck if you’ve got a bigger crowd to feed.


Cirus Rubbed Whole Duck



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Zest oranges and lemons and chop zest finely. Squeeze juice from oranges and lemons.
  • In a small bowl combine zest, juice, pepper and salt. Rub duck, inside and out, with all of the citrus-pepper mixture.
  • In a roasting pan set duck on a vertical roaster and cook about 2 ½ hours, or until well-browned and crispy.
  • Let rest, loosely covered with foil, 10 minutes before carving.
  • Makes 4 servings

It’s NFL Football Season, Welcome to Week One…

Hey there and welcome back to our Hawley Crescent weekly blog series. How has everyone been enjoying their first back to school week?  Back to school means then beginning of NFL football (hence this week’s headline).

As stated in last week’s blog, Grilling101 is going onto the backburner until next spring. But don’t worry; we’ll be putting out a selection of weekly seasonal blogs until then. We’ll still be talking about autumn and winter foods and touching on festive events like Thanksgiving and Halloween, but we’ll also be shining the spotlight on some recipes and hints and tips revolving around indoor cooking. This’ll mostly focus on the oven and stovetop, but if you have anything specific you’d like to see us talk about, feel free to message us directly with your suggestion.

To kick-start off our new blogs, let’s talk about a staple guaranteed to find its way onto your dinner tables in the coming months: mashed potatoes.  Now I know that everyone knows how to mash potatoes, but many of us can always use a tip or two to help us improve our current technique (or to find another alternative to the way we’re already doing things well).

Mashed potatoes are exactly what they sound like: potatoes that have been mashed and grounded into a near paste-like state. Traditionally the more “floury” potatoes are used, though “waxy” potatoes can easily be substituted. The difference between the two has to do with the ratio of water and starch contents; floury potatoes have a higher starch to water ratio, and waxy potatoes are the opposite. The top potato used in mashed potatoes is the Russet, because the high starch content results in a more fluffy and airy mashed potato. Russets also make for the best baked potatoes.

There are literally thousands of different mashed potato recipes, tips and secrets out there that we could probably write ourselves an entire cook book on mashed potatoes.  Some of my favourite additives include reducing the butter (yes butter) and adding broth to flavour your mashed.  Adding garlic (chopped, powdered, dried garlic seasoning blend) and using 35{a908f3cfa73a8de8bf6f2b96e240bb7c9d3f5bad987c2ee76ba0db26a64817a2} (whipping cream) along with the butter and broth are staples in my kitchen.  I also like to vary my potatoes that I’m mashing and will often mash with the skin on to give the mashed potatoes a unique texture and flavour.

The recipe from that we’re giving to you involves yellow fleshed potatoes. The most common of these is the Yukon Gold, which have a slightly mealy texture and delicious, almost buttery flavour. Yukon Gold are also considered the perfect all around potato to have in your pantry, as they are considered  by some to be waxy and are the best pick for all purpose potato cooking.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes Recipe



  • 1 ½ lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into quarters
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp milk (or more)
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Place the peeled and cut potatoes into a medium saucepan. Add cold water to the pan until the potatoes are covered by at least an inch. Add a half teaspoon of salt to the water.
  • Turn the heat on to high, and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer, and cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until you can easily poke through potatoes with a fork.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter and warm the cream.
  • When the potatoes are done, drain the water and place the steaming hot potatoes into a large bowl. Pour the heated cream and melted butter over the potatoes. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher.
  • Then use a strong wooden to beat further. Add milk and beat until the mashed potatoes are smooth. Don’t over-beat the potatoes or the mashed potatoes will end up gluey.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Makes 4 servings

I hope you give this recipe a try.  It will certainly yield a nice mashed potato side dish for your family.  It’s very similar to my  go to mashed potato recipe, though I do have several different nuances and techniques that I use.  First of all, I don’t heat my cream or melt my butter before adding to the potatoes, as the heat from the potatoes will take care of this step for me.


Secondly. and most important, I whip my potatoes, rather than mash them, in my Kitchen Aid mixer.  Of course I know how to use a potato masher, and have done so many times before, but I find that the best mashed potatoes are produced by tossing everything into the mixing bowl and whipping it up in your upright.


They are going to come out perfectly mashed / whipped and you will have people wondering if you made these taters yourself or if they are out of a box…  Be sure to give the different variations (broth, butter, garlic and cream) a try and come up with your own version of mashed potatoes that will become your very own signature side.  You can never go wrong having yourself a killer mashed potato or two that you can always fall back on and call your very own.


I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog and maybe even learned a thing or two in the process.  As always,  if you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to email, call, Face, Tweet or Gram me.  You could possibly win yourself a $25 gift card for your efforts.  Until next week – Live Tastefully!


Grilling 101 – Kebabs

Welcome everyone to another installment of our Grilling 101 blog. Well, tomorrow is Labour Day, and the unofficial last day of summer. Most of you will be packing up the grill sometime soon. Because of this, today’s Grilling101 is going to be the last one for 2015. Next week we’ll be switching up the blog to a new seasonal topic. So, as we say farewell to our grills until next summer, let’s send them off by combining many of our grillable foods into a nice kebab.


The kebab originated in the Eastern Mediterranean, though it quickly became widespread across the Middle East and Asia, reaching as far as India and China. Traditionally it consisted of a piece of lamb being cooked on a wooden stick alongside some vegetables, usually peppers, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes. As the dish traveled, other ingredients were added, including fish, chicken, pork, beef, and goat.

The beautiful thing about kebabs, and the reason they became so widespread and popular, is that they can be whatever you want them to be. You can mix and match meats and vegetables, or even toss in a few grillable fruit like peaches and pineapples. This customizability leads to many ways a kebab can be presented, especially thanks to the charring from direct cooking. Here are some recipes for kebabs from a variety of sources that show off just how widespread this food can be.

Grilled Shrimp Lemon Kebab



  • 24 medium shrimp, shells on, deveined
  • 2 lemons cut into small wedges
  • 16 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 3 yellow or zucchini squash, ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 sprigs fresh basil, torn if desired


  • Heat broiler on high. Place shrimp and lemon wedges alternately on 8 skewers.
  • Halve the squash lengthwise, and then cut into 1-inch-thick slices. Divide among the remaining 8 skewers.
  • Place all the skewers on a foil-lined baking sheet, or place all the ingredients on the sheet if you don’t have skewers.
  • Brush the kebabs with oil and season with salt. Broil, turning once, until the shrimp are cooked, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Transfer shrimp skewers to a platter.
  • Continue broiling the squash until tender, 3 to 4 minutes more. Serve the kebabs with the basil.
  • Makes 4 servings.


Spicy Chicken Kebab



  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • knob of fresh ginger, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve
  • 1 orange, grated zest and juice
  • 3 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 small skinless boneless chicken breast fillets, cut into cubes
  • 20 button mushrooms
  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 large red peppers, seeded and each cut into 10


  • Grind the garlic, ginger, orange zest and spring onions to a paste in a food processor. Add the honey, orange juice, soy sauce and oil, and then blend again.
  • Pour the mixture over the cubed chicken and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. Toss in the mushrooms for the last half an hour.
  • Thread the chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms and peppers onto 20 wooden skewers, then cook on a griddle pan for 7 to 8 mins each side or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and golden brown.
  • Turn kebabs frequently and baste with the marinade from time to time until evenly cooked.
  • Makes 20 servings


Beef Kebabs


Ingredients: Marinade

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • 1½ lbs top sirloin steak, cut into 1½-inch cubes
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 to 2 medium red onions
  • ½ to a pound button mushrooms
  • About 20 bamboo or wooden skewers


  • Mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and add the meat. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, preferably several hours or overnight
  • Soak the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
  • Cut the vegetables into chunks roughly the width of the beef pieces. Thread the meat and vegetables onto double bamboo skewers. Paint the kebabs with the remaining marinade.
  • Prepare your grill for high, direct heat. Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on how hot your grill is, and how done you would like your meat, turning occasionally.
  • Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Marinated Lamb Kebabs

marinated lamb kebab


  • 500 g quality lamb, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 6 to 8 skewers or sticks fresh rosemary, lower leaves removed, tips kept on
  • 2 red onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into 2.5cm pieces
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil


  • Combine cumin seeds, coriander seeds, sea salt, and black pepper in a pestle. Mortar until fine, then mix with the oil to make a thick marinade paste.
  • Put the lamb pieces into a bowl and cover with the marinade. Let them sit there for half an hour to an hour.
  • Spike each piece of meat alternately with red onion and peppers onto skewers. Grill for around 5 minutes, turning regularly until done. Allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.
  • Makes 6 to 8 servings.


I hope you’ve all enjoyed our Grilling101 blogs. It was a blast making them for you, and hopefully you all walked away with a little more knowledge when it comes to your favorite grilling foods. We’ll be revisiting Grilling 101 next spring, so stay tuned until then and enjoy our upcoming blogs.

Grilling 101 – Lamb

Welcome to another installment of Grilling 101. Well folks, this is it. The last weekend of August is upon us. Come Tuesday we’ll be in September territory, and the unofficial beginning to autumn will happen next week after Labour Day. For most people, this is the time of year when they begin to put away the grill, and with good reasons. The colder weather makes it harder to eat outside, and the back to school rush makes it harder to get together with friends. But before doing that, let’s send the grill out on a high note by talking about lamb.

The word lamb is used to refer to any sheep within the first year of its life. Full grown sheep are usually sold as mutton. Usually lamb is sold unprocessed, but it’s possible to buy some cuts salted or smoked.

Nutrients wise, lambs are excellent sources of protein and iron, like all red meats. However, lamb also has several nutrients that make it unique when compared to pork or beef. For starters, lamb has a high quantity of rudimentary trans fats, which are known to have beneficial effects on the body. The most common fat in lamb—conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)—is linked to the reduction of unwanted body fat mass. Of course, these are still fats, so it’s best to consume them in moderation like anything else.

Finally, lamb contains high amounts of essential vitamins and minerals for your body. Its primary vitamin—VitaminB12—is used to assist in blood cell formation and improving brain function. Aside from Iron, lamb is also rich in Zink and Phosphorus. The former is used to produce hormones, including insulin and testosterone, and the latter is used for body maintenance and growth.


When it comes time to buy yourself a lamb chop, there are three types you should consider. The first is the shoulder chop, cut from the front of the animal. This cut has a lot of connective tissues and fats compared to the others, which give more flavour at the cost of requiring longer cooking times. Following that is the rib chop, cut from the center of the animal and come with longer rib bones. This cut has less meat than the shoulder chops, and is more expensive. The trade-off is that it’s easier to cook than the shoulder chops, and comes with good presentation value, making it a prized cut of meat. Finally, the loin chop is cut from the back of the animal, between the rib and the rear legs. Their flavour and drawbacks are much the same as a rib chop, but they have larger quantities of meat.

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Once you’ve selected your cut, it’s best to prepare it for grilling by rubbing some sea salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil into the meat. This acts as brine, first drawing out the moisture from the meat and then breaking down the proteins so they can re-absorb the moisture. The end result is a more flavourful and tender final product. At around 40 minutes after salting, your chops are ready to go on the grill. The best way to grill a lamb is to start them off on the lower temperatures, then finishing them off on medium or high. This method prevents the internal meat from becoming undercooked if the outside is charred due to high temperatures. The best time to increase the temperature is about 10 degrees Fahrenheit from your desired internal temperature. For reference, an average rib chop will be medium-rare done at an internal temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit, so increase temperature at 120. And as usual always let your meat sit for 10 minutes once it comes off the grill so that residual cooking can take place.

Grilling 101 – Prime Rib

Hey there and welcome to another installment of our Grilling 101 blogs. Can you believe summer is almost at an end already? In another two weeks, it’ll be time to start thinking about back to school shopping and for many of you, turning off the grills for another year. But let’s not focus on such horrid thoughts today, for as I stated in last week’s blog, today’s food will be beef prime rib, also known as a standing rib.

Despite its name, prime ribs are actually considered whole roasts rather than ribs. They are cut from the cow’s ribs in groups of seven ribs, usually between the 6th and 12th ribs. Characteristics that set this roast apart from others are the inclusion of the “eye” of the rib, the larger fat caps compared to other roasts, and weighing at about 12 to 18 pounds on average.


Grilling a prime rib is much like grilling a normal beef roast, but there are some noticeable differences. For one, the larger fat caps means that there’s the potential for more flavour and drippings from the prime rib, so be sure to set up a drip pan underneath it in order to catch them. It’s also best to cook your prime ribs by standing them on the bone (another reason for the standing rib name).

As with other roasts, the best way to cook them is low and slow over medium heat—around 200 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit—with the grill covered so as to work like a conventional oven and cook all sides evenly. On average, your roast will need 3½ to 4 hours to be cooked to medium rare doneness. Anything higher or lower can be calculated by 12 to 14 minutes of cooking time per pound. Another way to tell the level of doneness is with an internal thermometer. For Rare, internal temperature should be 115 degrees Fahrenheit: Medium Rare is 125 degrees: Medium is 135 degrees. Medium Well is 145 degrees and Well done is 155 degrees. It’s also recommended that you remove the roast from the grill 10 degrees before their required internal temperature, as residual cooking will continue for a time after the meat has been removed from the heat source. When you serve the roast, be sure to use a boning knife to slice the meat off the bone so it’s easier to serve.


If a full prime rib is too intimidating for you, you can carve the meat off the bone and grill yourself up a rib eye steak. Rib eyes are set apart from other steaks because they have one of the rib bones still inside of them during the cooking process. It is the fattiest of high end steaks, which means it has the most flavour, but also needs the most maintenance and care during cooking.


The biggest problem with cooking rib eye steak is that the high fat concentrations could cause a flare up and ruin your steak. Despite this, it’s not too big of an issue to grill up a rib eye; you just need to pay constant attention to the meat and the fire. Also, it’s a good idea to salt up your steak prior to tossing it onto the grill, as this helps to draw out moisture that will be re-absorbed by the meat during the cooking process, adding flavour and tenderness. Then, grill your steak at approximately 135 degrees Fahrenheit, five minutes on both sides, until it’s reached its desired level of doneness. And as usual, when taken off the grill, let the meat sit for ten minutes to continue residual cooking.

grilled rib eye


I hope you found this blog helpful, as always, we love to hear from you regarding this or any other questions that you may have about grilling.  Until next week – Happy Grilling!!!

Grilling 101 – Beef Roasts

Hey there and welcome to another installment of our Grilling 101 series. If you’ve read last week’s blog then you know what the food item for today is going to be, but for the uninitiated, it is beef roasts and tenderloin.

As with pork, the majority of beef roasts come from the loin section of the animal, which covers the upper body between the ribs and legs, and the tenderloin is the softer meat found within the ribs. However, beef cuts are not only large than their pork counterparts, they’re also more expensive to boot. A 6 pound cut of beef tenderloin can sell for well over $100 depending on how it was cut and where you’re buying it from. And the larger cuts of meat can be up to three times the cost depending on their size, which often range from 8 to 10 pounds.


Many people grill full roasts on a rotisserie, which involves piercing the roast on both sides with spits and having it rotate inside your grill with the lid closed, cooking it slowly and evenly all over. Make sure your grill’s internal temperature is around 400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit depending on how large your roast is, and pierce the meat itself with an internal thermometer so you can check its internal temperature without removing it from the spits. Take the roast out once its internal temperature is 140 degrees Fahrenheit, usually after 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how well done you want the roast to turn out. But remember, beef will continue to cook even after it’s been taken out of the grill, so it’s a good idea to remove it 5 to 10 minutes early if you have a specific level of doneness in mind.


I prefer to grill beef roasts indirectly, as I’m a propoonenent of low and slow rather than on a spit.  Don’t get me wrong rotisserie cooking is wonderful (I certainly do love my Greek lamb on a spit) but for my money the indirect effort is worth it.  The beauty of indirect heat is that it allows the heat to surround the food from all sides. The result is that the food almost cooks itself. As long as you keep the heat even and consistent, you won’t need to rotate the food for it to cook evenly.  Because there is no direct flame under the meat, indirect grilling actually works like roasting or baking in the oven.  Most people simply turn off one side of the grill and allow the food to cook on the cool side, which works but the side closest to the heat source will finish quicker than the side that is furthest from the heat (similar to irregular rotisserie roasting) – my tip for you, elevate your food from the heat source (I use bricks to elevate the food to create indirect grilling) and leave all of your burners on.  This will ensure that the food will cook evenly.


Beef tenderloin, being smaller than the full roasts, can be cooked on the grill without being cut up into steaks (though it is still an option). Prepping tenderloin for cooking is simple; you just cut off the fatty parts from the meat and tie up the thicker ends in twine. This allows for all sides of the tenderloin to be cooked as evenly as possible. Grill this sucker indirectly on medium heat for around 15 to 25 minutes, turning it over at least once to get both sides evenly grilled. The internal temperatures should be around 130 degrees Fahrenheit (for mid rare) before serving, but once again, remember that residual cooking will continue for about 10 minutes once it’s been taken off the grill.

I hope that you beef lovers will find this information helpful. I will be doing another beef blog in the near future – this one will be on Prime Rib, the Daddy Of Them All.  Happy grilling.


Cover Photo and charts courtesy of