Barbecuing. What’s not to love? It gets you outside, can be done with a drink in hand, and ends with a perfectly delicious meal. This summer, level up your grilling game by adding a few new BBQ-worthy goodies to your grocery list, as recommended by the Whole Foods Market Culinary Team.
A cut above
When you’re comparing cuts of steak, they can end up looking like the same old slabs of meat. To pick your protein like a pro, Shane Bentley, a member of the Whole Foods Market Meat & Seafood Team, recommends seeking out cuts rich in marbling—that is, white flecks and streaks of fat within the lean sections of the meat.
“Marbling adds flavour and enhances moisture content, and this is one of the main criteria for judging the quality of cuts of meat,” Bentley says. Ribeye steaks, for one, tend to have more marbling than other cuts.
Timing is everything
Like the proverbial watched pot, there’s no way to rush a perfectly grilled steak. So, think of it like a meditative moment with the added bonus of a meal at the end. For a ribeye steak, start with a room-temperature cut of meat, then give it a grill of about four minutes on each side for juicy, medium-rare results.
“Try not to flip too much,” Christopher Manners, a member of the Whole Foods Market Culinary Team, advises. And, once it’s ready, let the meat stand for five minutes (if you can resist the urge to dig in right away). “Cut into a steak too early and you’ll lose all those awesome juices!”
Burgers on the barbecue are as much of a summertime tradition as ice-cream for lunch. But the grilled favourites aren’t exactly a light summer nibble given that the saturated fat and sodium levels in a burger patty are particularly high.
Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t have it both ways. Manners recommends sneaking in some healthy veggies as part of your burger toppings, instead of sugary sauces such as ketchup and barbecue sauce. “Avocado is a hidden gem that’s fantastic on burgers and full of Omega-3s,” Manners says. But to really trim the fat from your burger time, try a patty made from extra-lean ground beef or, even better, turkey, chicken or ground bison, which Manners notes is a great source of iron.
Spice up the classic burger flavour by experimenting with your marinades. For example, try turmeric to add some heat, hoisin for an Asian-influenced soy flavour, and pear puree for natural sweetness. For toppings that stretch outside the Holy Trinity of ketchup, mustard, and relish, try incorporating a few on-trend fermented flavours. The team suggests sauerkraut, kimchi, and fermented chili pastes like Gochujang.
Barbecues: not just for carnivores. Vegetarians and vegans can also enjoy some summer grill time with entrée-worthy vegetables such as cauliflower steaks and portobello mushrooms. For vegans who love a cheeseburger, the team recommends Halloumi as a cheese that grills well. And for those who haven’t tried the buzzed-about vegetarian hamburgers Beyond Meat, they’re finally available at grocers, including Whole Foods.