How to Properly Clean Your Barbecue

How to Properly Clean Your Barbecue

Generally, people clean their barbecue every season. Cleaning your grill is critical because you cook your food on it and, more importantly, it can catch fire if it’s not properly cared for. A fire can start at the bottom of the unit, where the grease collects, and the resulting intense heat can be problematic. Additionally, marinades, spices, salt and/or grease can slowly start to eat away at the stainless steel or metal of the unit. Maintenance is therefore necessary, especially if you are unsure of the quality of the stainless steel.

The first thing you should do when you’re about to clean your barbecue is to move your appliance onto grass or rocks. You don’t want to damage your patio, your flagstone or your favorite slab of concrete, because grill cleaning products are quite powerful. Set yourself up somewhere with no direct sunlight, especially if your BBQ has a baked coating or stainless steel parts, because some products can stain; if it’s sunny where you set up, make sure to leave the product on for less time.

If your barbecue has a propane tank, remove it. Completely “close” the tank, pull it out and unscrew the regulator. Then, to make sure you are working safely, burn off the remaining gas in your barbecue. If you see a flame emerge, let it “burn” until it goes out completely. Watch the flame carefully because if it’s uneven or of a different color (blue on one side and yellow on the other, for example), you may need to unclog or replace the burners.

Next, remove the grates, heat deflectors and grease pan (after quickly cleaning them) from your barbecue to access the bottom of your unit. Fill half a large bucket with hot water and soak your grates, deflectors and pan. When the water starts to turn brown, empty out the bucket and fill it with clean hot water. Pour about half a bottle of grill degreaser into the water and let the product do its job for about 4 to 5 minutes. If necessary, scrub the parts in the water to help the product work even better. When the time is up, be sure to rinse everything thoroughly.

Grill degreasers are very effective. Grease stains on your barbecue’s surfaces will disappear and your unit will look brand new. Be careful not to inhale the product or get it on your skin; it’s important to use gloves when handling it.

While the grates, heat deflectors and grease pan are soaking, use a grate scraper to thoroughly scrape off all the chunks and grease stuck to your barbecue’s fire box and burners, scraping your grates and heat deflectors first. Dirt on the surface should dissolve in a matter of seconds. When it comes to cleaning the fire box, Max recommends working with plastic or composite tools.

To really get your burners clean, use an angled grid cleaning brush to remove any small bits (whether fat or carbon) which have built up and clogged the holes. This type of brush also does a great job of cleaning the sides of the burners and the channels, which carry gas from one burner to another. If you’d like to unclog each hole in your burners, use a port hole cleaner, which is designed for this purpose.

If your burners are still clogged at this point, remove them from your barbecue and clean them with a venturi brush, which reaches deep inside your tube burners (or venturi tubes), either if your burners are staggered or set in a straight line.

Once your barbecue is clean, spray it with a grill cleaner or degreaser. Brown/orange liquid may drip from the barbecue, which is normal as it is removing grease from the unit’s surface. If your barbecue changes color a little after applying degreaser, don’t worry. That’s normal too.

Max recommends using degreaser on all parts of the barbecue – the burners, heat deflectors, grates, shelves, tank, handles, knobs, the cart and on the inside of the lid – but feels you can spare your regulator. Allow the product to work slowly for 4 to 5 minutes, then rinse everything well afterwards – you can even use a pressure hose, or scrub with a brush while rinsing – until you no longer see any little bubbles in the water.

Once everything is well rinsed, put on your sunglasses and use a barbecue polish or shine restorer to wipe down all the parts/surfaces of your unit. Blemishes, fingerprints and anything unattractive will disappear, and your barbecue will look like it came straight from the store!

After cleaning your grill, if you suspect that one or more of its parts is defective or causing problems, do not hesitate to contact your local specialty retailer.

Find a specialty retailer near you at

Happy cleaning and happy grilling!

Max Lavoie
House of BBQ Experts

Sweet and Spicy, Tangy and Tasty Ribs

Sweet and Spicy, Tangy and Tasty Ribs


The word alone is enough to get everyone’s attention.

Pork ribs should be at the top of the very short list of go-to’s that come to mind whenever you have a little time on your hands and want a nice home-cooked dinner. They are truly the middle ground between home-style cuisine and BBQ science, because they are super versatile and easy to work with. You can grill them, roast them, cook them low and slow, or hot and fast, or even sous vide – there’s always a way to make them work.

Pork isn’t known for having a bold flavour profile, but it mixes very well with marinades and – the fat within its muscle fibre acts as a conduit for rubs and evens out the flavours. Whether you choose baby back or spare ribs, your focus needs to be on the flavour profile, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations of rubs and sauces.

Ribs are part of the BBQ holy trinity, but a lot of people are still intimidated by them because they can take hours to cook. Let me reassure you and tell you that ribs can be done quickly and easily, and still taste great!

Many people swear by the ever-so-popular 3-2-1 method – smoking the ribs for 3 hours at 225°F, then leaving them wrapped in foil with a liquid for 2 hours to add back moisture and flavour, and to accelerate the cooking process, and lastly, unwrapping them for 1 hour to dry out the bark and letting them glaze up at the very end. Occasionally, however, time just isn’t on your side and you need to make things work as fast as possible. The good news is that there are other ways to cook easy homemade ribs in half the time.

Here is how I cook my Sweet and Spicy, Tangy and Tasty ribs:

It is important to note that whichever method you choose to cook your ribs, the first step will always be to remove the silver skin. From there, you will be building up and crafting your flavour profile to give your ribs some personality.

While I like my spit-roasted ribs on the savoury side, I enjoy my traditional ribs best when they are sweet and very tender. When choosing a dry rub for this method of grilling ribs, look for the perfect balance of sweetness and heat; it should also help the bark achieve a nice mahogany colour.

Pro tip: The sweeter the rub, the heavier you need to go. Don’t hold back and go light on the sweetness. It’s easy to go overboard with heat and salt, but it’s very hard to oversweeten ribs. Furthermore, if your rub is composed of high-quality sugar, it will help build a deeper and richer crust as the sugar won’t burn through the first hour of cooking.

It is best to use a smoker for this recipe, and in order to cook something that won’t take all day and still be delicious, I prefer to use the hot-and-fast method – this consists of smoking the ribs in half the time, all while making sure to consistently add moisture as they cook.

Once the ribs are trimmed and seasoned, the next step is to cook them at 275°F for 90 minutes and to sprinkle them with Cherry Cola or Dark Ginger Ale every 30 minutes. Trust me, the addition of an extra sweet layer will help turn these ribs into rich and flavourful bites in the long run. Everyone will ask for more!

Once the ribs are done smoking, take them out and wrap them in foil with butter, some extra dry rub and a quick dab of rib glaze. After that, you can put the ribs back on the barbecue for 60 to 90 minutes at 325°F. You’ll know when they are ready – they will be soft enough to bend backward as you move the foil.

Now, after all of that, your bark will have most likely softened up in the foil, so you’ll want to remove them, slather them with some extra rub and/or glaze, and for the finishing touch, throw them back over direct heat to help rebuild texture on the bark.

And there you have it! A simple and efficient way to cook very tasty ribs that are packed with flavours, thanks to the extra love provided by the dry rubs.

Some days, you just have to remind yourself that you don’t need to get fancy to get some finger-licking good food on the table. All you need is to mix the right rub with the right protein and you’ll be able to create some magic.

Now that you know that amazing ribs recipes can be done in under 3 hours, enjoy some more ribs, have fun playing around with your favourite rubs and sauces, and spend more time with your loved ones!


Max Lavoie
BBQ Guru, House of BBQ Experts

The Beef Wellington Recipe of Champions!

The Beef Wellington Recipe of Champions!

When I cook, I always aim for maximum deliciousness and flavor. As a beef lover, one of my favourite dishes to prepare on the BBQ (and to enjoy, of course) is oh-so-comforting Beef Wellington. I like to treat my family with this dish after we’ve spent the whole day outside playing catch and running around.

Now I know tenderloin is not the most flavourful cut of beef BUT… sear it, season it well, give it a bit of love, and you’re in business. Trust me, the way this recipe combines a tender and juicy piece of meat with a mixture of vegetables and a crispy (and buttery!) puff pastry results in a Beef Wellington that’s hard to top, taste-wise. I have to restrain myself, or there won’t be any left for my wife and kids!

Believe me, this recipe is a lot easier to do than it seems. Ready? Let’s go!



  • 1 (2 lb) beef tenderloin
  • 1 package store-bought puff pastry (or make your own!)
  • 4-5 white mushrooms
  • 1 carrot
  • ¼ cup of your favourite herbs (optional)
  • Montreal spice mix, such as House of BBQ Experts’ Montreal Spice Mix and Rub, to taste
  • 3 tbsp good quality mustard
  • ½ cup of your favourite gravy or sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten


Cooking Method

  1. Season the beef tenderloin to taste with the Montreal spice mix and rub. (The more seasoning you put on, the more flavours the tenderloin will pack.????)
  2. Sear the piece of meat on the BBQ for 2 minutes on each side at a very high temperature. Remove it from the heat and let it rest for 1 hour.
  3. While you wait, place the mushrooms, carrot and herbs in a food processor, and chop everything into small pieces. Transfer the vegetables into a bowl and set them aside.
  4. Preheat the BBQ to 350°F.
  5. Using a rolling pin, roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle that’s large enough to envelop the beef tenderloin.
  6. Spread the mustard and chopped vegetables on the puff pastry.
  7. Once that is done, place the beef tenderloin in the center of the puff pastry, wrap the puff pastry around it, and brush the dough with beaten egg.
  8. Place the wrapped beef tenderloin into a barbecue-safe dish; place the dish onto the BBQ and let it cook in an indirect cooking zone until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 145°F. After that, let it rest for a few minutes outside the BBQ.
  9. Heat up the gravy or sauce and drizzle it over the Beef Wellington.
  10. Serve and enjoy the explosion of flavors it creates in your mouth!


Have fun BBQing everyone!

Editor’s note: We made this Beef Wellington ourselves and itwas just as easy and fun to make – and as delicious to eat – as Max promises! Here are pics of the result.

Get Your Team Ready for the High Season

Get Your Team Ready for the High Season

With the beginning of spring comes renewed energy and excitement. As snow melts (being Canadian means you must enjoy all 4 seasons since there’s no way around Old Man winter every year), the trees awake, the birds come back (or are just louder). For some, it becomes easier to get to their BBQ, while for others like my team and me, we plan a good spring cleaning of our equipment, because it continued burning all winter long!


Spring is also a reminder that we need to shake off the winter dust and shake up our teams. While winter is a great time to tackle little projects around the shop, we know spring will bring more customers through the door. We need to prepare to always ensure the best customer experience is delivered.

One of the low-hanging fruits I feel is important to remind our boutique’s manager and the sales team in turn, concerns inventory. There’s no better time than spring to go through your inventory and rotate. What do you want to propose as an attractive offer to customers, to help you free up shelving space in the warehouse or in the store? Are there replacement parts you know are in greater demand when the high season approaches?  Check your inventory, rotate it, stock up on what makes sense to your audience, and make sure your staff can guide customers well. If in doubt, role play – have your most knowledgeable staff answer tricky questions in front of the team to put words in their mouth, increase their knowledge and confidence with customers.

One of the objectives of a good sales team is not to make customers buy everything but to buy what they need.  Teach your staff to ask open-ended questions. Your customers are shopping for a new BBQ or BBQ products in your store because you offer quality and expertise. They know what they want when they walk in, or at least, they think they know. By finding out customers’ interests, you can help them push their limits by suggesting they try new things. Perhaps they are not comfortable smoking food on pellets or a charcoal BBQ yet? There is always the option to use a smoker box with wood chips. The flavours developed can still be very tasty.

I work closely with my staff to ensure everyone on the floor, from my most experienced guy to the newly hired cashier, knows about products, especially our most popular ones. We develop our own flavours to suit customers’ needs. We also like to take calculated risks, with our knowledge of the BBQ industry, with out-of-the-box tasting profiles, and guess what? Customers love it and new trends are set! There is always going to be a necessity for your teams, and mine, to know the basics of BBQ and the main categories. But don’t forget what will make your customers want to come back for more is the next level stuff. Be ready to talk about how to prep and smoke or slow cook a Texan style brisket, how to leverage the spring temperature for cold smoking, pairing of rubs, sauces and wood flavours, with the various meat types or cheese and nuts. This is what makes the customer’s experience memorable; what makes them come back.

With that said, when adding new consumable products to your inventory, it’s a good idea to crack open a bottle, taste it or even take turns with the staff bringing in meats that would have been cooked at home or on a BBQ behind the shop, to taste and experience first-hand what it is you will recommend. In spring, you still have time to do that.

Spring is for some the time to clean up the BBQ from on-going winter use or to shine it up again, ahead of the warmer weather coming. The same way we don’t appreciate a clothing salesperson telling us a suit looks great on us when it’s so obvious that the cut just doesn’t work with our body type, we need to be mindful that customers are not going to buy new BBQs every season. Instead of focusing on the big ticket items, perhaps approach them by introducing pitmaster techniques with meat injection, or just the basics of cooking to temperature versus time, reiterating the importance of owning a thermometer. Your customers will come to visit the store to fill up on their favourite charcoal, sauce or rub. Presenting new products, sharing BBQ recipes or ensuring the basics are covered to kick off the season, will create loyalty with your customer base and that’s how you will see them coming back all year-round.

Spring is exciting because in-store traffic increases by the day. Making sure your team on-site understands the needs of customers and is ready to add value and answer any type of question is essential. Your store is a destination to discover. Creating an experience for customers will guarantee the traffic is ongoing, especially when a big box banner pushes an aggressive marketing campaign or on rainy days. Be ready to welcome everyone as you gear up for the High Season!

Max Lavoie

President, House of BBQ Experts

The Perfect Time for Cold Smoking

The Perfect Time for Cold Smoking

Have you ever tried smoked salmon? Personally, it’s my favorite snack and I love making it. It’s made by cold smoking, a technique used to preserve meat, and is now considered a renowned delicacy worldwide. To this day, this refined preservation method is employed often, in hopes of storing meat for a long time without it going bad. Not only does smoking kill harmful bacteria, it also gives a wonderful smoky flavor to your dishes. There are many ways to smoke, but here’s a very simple way to elevate your cooking game to the next level.

My favorite smoking method is to cold smoke, which I love doing with different foods, but more particularly with fish. To cold smoke, you must first understand that it is not a source of heat that will cook your meat; instead, the smoke penetrates each layer and slowly cooks it. Hence why it’s called cold smoking. This method requires the ambient temperature to be favorable. Fall to early winter and spring seasons are ideal as it’s not too warm outside. If the smoking isn’t done in a smoker, you can use a barbecue with a large grid. The reason for this is that we want the food to be as far as possible from the heat source while it’s smoking.

These are the very simple steps I use when cold smoking which have never let me down:

If cold smoking meat or fish, you must brine your piece in a mix of your favorite spices and salt for at least 12 hours in the fridge, to cure the meat and stop bacterial growth. The quantity of spice depends on the size of your filet. Make sure your filet is well covered with your favorite rubs and tightly wrapped in your fridge, to contain the delicious yet “fishy” smell.  When ready to go, gently rinse your fillet and pat dry. If you are planning to cold smoke nuts, cheese or fruits, you can skip this step.

  • Check the outside temperature! To cold smoke, you must make sure that it’s between 4 and 15 degrees Celsius. Your smoking session will last 3 to 4 hours, so do it under the warm midday sun or after sundown to stay within that temperature range as much as possible.
  • Fill the pellet holder of your choice with enough pellets to fulfill a 3-4 hour smoking session and light the pellets on fire. Wait until the pellets have burned a few centimetres with a strong flame, then blow it off to keep the smoke going. You want to make sure the fire is strong and will work its way through after you set it up and forget about it. Too close to the fire? Don’t hesitate to wear gloves.   
  • Place the smoking pellets at the opposite end of your fish inside your BBQ, either under or on your heat deflectors.
  • After making sure you have good airflow and that your BBQ is cold smoking, close the lid and let the flavor-infused smoke slowly cook your meat.
  • For a milder flavor, smoke your meat or fish for 3 to 4 hours, and up to 10-12 hours if you prefer a very intense flavor. No matter what, you’re sure to enjoy a delicious and simple dish!

Remember that smoking with maple, cherry, and apple woods will render a softer smoky taste while hickory, oak, or mesquite will  make it more pronounced.

I love this simple recipe on any given day. Smoked salmon is great on salad, can be enjoyed with a cream cheese bagel the next day, or as a topping on white pizza. Well… that’s another recipe!

Enjoy your barbecue at this time of the year and get smoking!

For more recipes and barbecuing techniques, visit