Carbon bar dinner
Photo by Inga Rumun

Chef Hidde Zomer’s top tips for grilling

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Toronto chef Hidde Zomer is the brains behind Carbon Bar’s new Cottage Life menu, and he’s also a BBQ enthusiast. He made sure almost everything on the menu was grilled, charred, or smoked to perfection—including dessert!

We asked the BBQ master to share his top tips for preparing dinner on the grill.

Tip one: prepare your meat well in advance

Chef Zomer starts with a super basic step: “I always take my meat out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature before I grill it. This allows the heat of the grill to penetrate the meat much more easily.”

He also recommends that you pat your meat dry before adding a rub. You can use the most basic of home staples to accomplish this step: paper towel.

Tip two: don’t skimp on flavour

“To maximize the flavours of Cottage Life’s Zesty Chicken spice rub, add some good olive oil, fresh rosemary, thinly sliced garlic, and dried chilli flakes.” Zomer also recommends that you let the chicken marinate overnight so you get maximum infusion before grilling.

If you’re slow-cooking or smoking your meat, make sure everything is well dressed. Zomer suggests you rub the meat with vegetable oil first, then add the spice rub so that it really sticks.

“Don’t be too moderate; you really want to cover the meat with the rub.”

He recommends the Sweet Mesquite rub for pork: “After five hours in the smoker the flavours are just incredibly smoky and sweet.”

Tip three: add some kick to your sides

“After experimenting with the Sweet Mesquite rub we found it’s great to dust on corn.” Zomer suggests brushing it on right after you’ve coated the cob in a healthy layer of melted butter. It’s a nice complement to the sweet taste of the veg.

You can also spice up your appetizers: “We dust our fresh tortilla chips with the spice right after we fry them. It tastes great with some fresh guacamole.”

The Cottage Life menu is available at the Carbon Bar throughout the month of August. You can find out more information about the menu here.