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Go ahead and turn your trusty BBQ grill into a BBQ smoker, a BBQ pizza oven, an indirect heat cooking source, a short-order breakfast grill or whip up desserts for family and friends. We’ve got tips, tricks, and must-try hacks and recipes for you to take your everyday backyard BBQ and transform it into a world of culinary options. Happy grilling!

Turn your BBQ into a BBQ hot smoker

Fall-off-the-bone ribs, smoky chicken, and salmon—we know how tasty smoking foods can be, and we also know that you may not want to buy another appliance to achieve this effect. Fear not, weekend griller; we’ve got tips to turn your grill into a BBQ hot smoker.

  1. You’ll need smoke chips to achieve the desired effect of smoky goodness, and you’ll want to soak a generous handful of them in water for an hour. Soaking increases the amount of smoke you’ll get out of the chips. And remember to choose hardwoods only, whose flavours vary from hickory to cherrywood to pecan to whisky-oak-barrel-aged chips. Ideally, you’ll make a few of these wood chip packets to switch out as you smoke your meat.
  2. Drain the wood chips and wrap in a few heavy-duty foil packets you make yourself, poked with fork-tine-sized holes to allow steam to vent.
  3. Lift the grill grate and place 1 or 2 wood chip packets directly on top of the burner (under the grate), then replace the grate. If you’re using a wood chip box, this sits on top of the grill with the pre-soaked chips.
  4. Note: The burners directly below the wood chips should be at medium heat only, around 107°C to 121°C (225°F to 250°F). This gives the wood chips an opportunity to heat up and smoke without the food being subjected to direct heat. Think of your grill working like an oven, where food cooks with heat trapped in the grill, not flames.
  5. Once the packets are in place and you’ve fired up that side of the grill, keep an eye on the chips. You don’t want the wood chip pack to catch fire (have a spray bottle filled with water handy in case).
  6. When the chips start to smoke, add the meat to the other side of the grill, cooking on indirect heat.
  7. Keep a meat thermometer handy and look for your chosen meat selection to reach its ideal internal temperature. Here’s our handy guide for that. And if it’s a cedar-planked salmon you’re after, here’s how.

Turn your BBQ into a BBQ pizza oven

Your favourite pizzeria is as close as your backyard! It’s a cinch to turn your grill into a pizza oven using these tried-and-true tips:

  1. Lightly oil a clean grill to keep food from sticking by scraping down the grill. Then, brush or spray it with vegetable oil and, finally, turn on the BBQ. Oiling a hot grill presents the danger of flare-ups as you work.
  2. Heat the grill to medium-high.
  3. Have any sauce and toppings ready on a tray next to the barbecue, as you’ll need to work quickly.
  4. Roll pizza dough into a rough oval shape, ¼-in. (5 mm) thick. Brush both sides of dough with 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil.
  5. Place crusts on the grill (you may have to do them one at a time, depending on the size) and cook until bubbly and rigid, 2 min. Using tongs or a metal spatula, turn crusts over.
  6. Divide the sauce and toppings over each crust, close the grill lid and cook until cheese (if using) is bubbly, and crusts are golden brown, 2 to 3 min. Remove from the grill and serve immediately.
  7. A few grilled pizza recipes worth keeping handy: Grilled Tomato Pizza with Summer Greens Pesto, Grilled Sausage & Grape White Pizza, a grilled Margherita pizza, and a Grilled Chipotle Veggie Pizza , recipe using ready-made naan bread.

Use indirect grill heat like an oven

You can use indirect heat, or heat sources, on one or both sides of the food on your grill, for a variety of applications, including cooking more delicate foods or foods that take longer than 25 minutes to cook. Why? Putting these kinds of foods on direct flames can dry them out or burn them, especially if they take longer to cook.

A whole chicken, like in this Grilled Flattened Paprika Chicken, recipe, is ideally cooked over indirect heat so you get crispy skin and juicy meat. For the best results, grease the BBQ grates well before turning on the grill, and preheat one side to medium-high, leaving the heat off on the other side for indirect cooking. You’ll start by grilling the flattened chicken, breast side down, until the skin starts to crisp and releases from the grill easily, 8 to 10 min. Flip and cook for another 10 to 12 min., then move chicken to indirect-heat side of BBQ. With the lid closed, cook for another 20 to 25 min., turning occasionally, until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of inner thigh registers 82°C (180°F).

Turn your BBQ into a short-order kitchen

You can use your gas BBQ and transform it into everyone’s favourite diner short-order kitchen. The trick is to use the right implements, like baking sheets and cast-iron skillets. Here are a few family classics that will have you declaring, “Order up!”

  1. Instead of flipping batches of pancakes over a stove, whip up a one-size-feeds-all Family-Style Grilled Pancake on the barbecue. Our favourite part? The crunchy, honeyed pecan edges!
  2. Whip up everyone’s favourite, the Caesar Salad — only this one is grilled for a smoky delicious edge.
  3. Take your grilled cheese game up a notch with this Peach & Comté Grilled Cheese recipe or swap out the stars for cheddar and apple, or pear and provolone. Call the kids to the table—they’re going to love this one.
  4. Having a summer get-together? Fire up the grill and put together a crowd-pleasing tray of Cedar-Planked Nachos and watch them disappear in mere moments.
  5. Level up your sandwich with this Croque Midi with Salami, Goat Cheese & Fried Egg —all hot off the grill!
  6. Steak and eggs? Sure! But how about as sliders that break away from the classic and are perfect for brunch?

Turn your grill into a dessert bar

Who wants to turn the oven or stove on when it’s hot outside? (We don’t.) That’s why we’ve got a menu of grillable sweet treats that make the most of summer fruit and beyond.

  • Grilled fruit and pound cake make for a heavenly delicious match. To make it even more Canadian-inspired, swap the brown sugar for maple syrup, eh!
  • Or try this grilled fruit recipe that’s sweetly layered on a crisp waffle with mascarpone for something different.
  • Who doesn’t love a gooey-good s’more or two by a campfire? Now you can have you cookie and eat it, too, with this S’mores Skillet Cookie recipe for everyone with a sweet tooth.
  • Looking for more grilled s’mores inspiration? We’ve got loads of ingenious ideas!
  • Easy-peasy and ready in under 30 minutes, this Grilled Fudgy One-Skillet Brownie hits all of your chocolate-craving notes.
  • Fruit jam and premade tart shells team up for the ultimate Barbecue Pie Pops in this super-simple recipe that gets grilled in a flash.
  • Impress guests by making this super-easy dessert using the grill at your next backyard gathering. This Grilled Banana Splits recipe will win the crowd over and leave them wanting more.

Discover more new ways to summer

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