How To Plan and Host a Fantastic Barbecue Party

How To Plan and Host a Fantastic Barbecue Party

After a long winter, during which many of us have been isolated, grilling season is off to a great start. With summer just around the corner it’s time to start thinking about hosting parties (within restriction limits!) and creating new memories with friends and family. What better way to embrace the season than to celebrate outside with a fantastic barbecue party that, with these simple steps, your guests will be talking about for weeks to come.

Plan The Basics

You’ll want to remember the four basics of any good party: food, drinks, comfort and seating. For food and drink, make a guest list to give yourself an idea of how much you might need and consider planning for one extra person so there is more than enough to go around. Keep your guests happy and comfortable can make for some of the best evenings together, so make sure to provide comfort and amenities wherever possible. A warm throw blanket over the back of the outdoor sofa and comfortable cushions can make everyone feel a little more at home.

Prep The Grill

As the grill and the food will most likely be the star of the evening, it’s essential to prepare your primary cooking source and ensure it’s ready to work all evening. Check your fuel supply, clean the grills and ensure all burners are working well before you are ready to cook for the evening. Performing this simple maintenance will ensure you’ll be able to cook all night, with no interruptions. It is a good idea to have your food prepped and ready for grilling before your guests arrive so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time socializing.


Set The Mood

Ambience can be a factor in how your party feels and flows. Help your guests feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible by setting the mood in your outdoor space. An outdoor fireplace is the ultimate source of added warmth, comfort and atmosphere for your outdoor space. For a similar effect to those flickering flames, groups of candles and outdoor lighting can bring a similar effect.

Don’t Forget The Details

The little details can make a big difference to your guests, whether it’s a few decorations to help your space feel festive or a homemade treat your guests can take away at the end of the night. No matter what you choose, keep in mind tiny details that seem insignificant will ultimately make your guests feel special while hosting your fantastic barbecue party.

Visit your local specialty hearth and barbecue dealer to see the exciting range of grill accessories and outdoor items available.

Happy National BBQ Month!

Happy National BBQ Month!

May is National BBQ Month, and there is no better time to visit your local retailer to check out the latest grills and accessories. For many of us, our outdoor living space becomes a second kitchen and dining area during the summer, and a grill is often our primary way of cooking all season long. Making the right choice when purchasing a new barbecue or accessory will give you years of enjoyment whether it’s outside in your backyard or patio, or at your dining room table.


5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying

Buying a new barbecue of any type is an investment. To ensure you are getting the right grill or accessory for you, it’s important to ask yourself some questions before purchasing.

  1. How much time will I have to cook? Each type of barbecue typically requires varying levels of time commitment. If you’re often on the go and hard pressed for free cooking time, consider the convenience of gas or electric grills. Love to spend time cooking? A charcoal grill, smoker or kamado may suit you best. See below for more details on grill types.
  2. What’s my budget? Grills come in a wide range of prices, meaning you should be able to find one within your budget. If finances allow, purchasing a more premium grill will provide more features, a potentially longer life span of the unit, and a stronger return on your initial investment.
  3. How much space do I have? If you have a big backyard, consider a larger grill, perhaps with a kitchen island to create a focal point for relaxation and entertaining. Premium portable or more compact grills are ideal for condos and apartments. Do you frequently host large gatherings? Go big on your barbecue size to make the most of these special occasions.
  4. What do I love to cook? We often default to the foods we love the most. Many grills come with extra features ideal for certain foods. Think rotisseries if you love a roasted chicken, or side burners if you love soups and stews. Ample space for a pizza stone might be crucial if you love a good pie.
  5. What accessories do I want and need? This is also a great time to evaluate ideal accessories. Ensure you have a good protective cover, proper cleaning tools and a working meat thermometer. It also might be fun to splurge on new accessories that meet your cooking style, such Bluetooth temperature gauges, griddles for breakfast cooking, veggie baskets and more. Read more about the 5 must-have accessories every griller should have here.


What’s the Best Grill for You?

With so many types of grills in all forms, sizes and prices adorning a retailer’s showroom floor, what’s the right one for you? Here’s a quick guide.

  1. Gas: For people who want convenience. Just like your kitchen stove, it can be ready to cook in 10 minutes, and it’s easy to regulate cooking temps.
  2. Charcoal: For those who love being hands-on with the nuances of outdoor grilling. Some say charcoal provides the best flavour experience. Good for low and slow cooking AND high heat searing.
  3. Pellet: For people who want the most flavor. Wood pellet grills are among the most energy efficient and burn clean. With pellets coming in varieties such as hickory, mesquite and oak, you (and your friends and family) can enjoy a truly flavourful cooking experience.
  4. Electric: For people who love simplicity. Electric grills are designed to produce constant heat and operate without an open flame. Ideal for apartment or condo dwellers since they don’t require charcoal or propane.
  5. Kamado: For people who love cooking all styles and seasons. Kamado grills’ excellent insulation is ideal for both grilling and smoking. They can use wood and charcoal and are ideal for roasting and baking.


Once you’ve determined what is essential to you to make this grilling season a success, it’s time to get cooking! Try out Maxim Lavoie’s Sweet and Spicy, Tangy and Tasty Ribs – the perfect recipe to take your new grill for a spin!

10 Tips for Grilling in Winter

10 Tips for Grilling in Winter

Temps are falling, days are getting shorter, and there’s every indication that this season we will be staying in and cooking at home more than any winter before.

Here’s one way to get by: don’t put that grill or smoker away. Instead, embrace backyard cooking through the fall and all winter long.


The following are 10 tips to make the most of grilling in the coming months:

  1. Don’t peek! Heat escapes quickly and you’ll be adding on cooking time. Limit lifting the lid except for turning and flipping foods.
  2. Plan on adding 25% more cooking time to compensate for cold temperatures. Use a reliable food thermometer to check.
  3. Consider adding a propane heater to your patio this year. Of course, these heaters can make barbecuing and entertaining in winter much more comfortable.
  4. Make shorter trips outside by moving your barbecue grill a little closer to the house, but make sure you still keep it at least 10 feet from any buildings or structures. Never grill in enclosed spaces, such as a garage or under an overhang, that can trap deadly carbon monoxide.
  5. Position gas grills so the wind is perpendicular to the gas flow, and not blowing the flame down the burner tubes. A sturdy patio umbrella set on its side can also serve as a wind block. When lighting the grill, do not turn the handwheel on the propane tank all the way on. Instead, use a single turn before lighting.
  6. Check that everything is in working order before using your grill. Don’t force a frozen knob or grill lid – you’ll risk cracking it or breaking the seal. Instead, move your grill to a garage where it can thaw or use a hairdryer.
  7. You’ll want to dress warmly, but avoid hazardous bulky clothing and tuck in loose scarves. A pair of easily-removable boots or shoes is a good idea when making trips in and out of the house. You’ll find heat-resistant gloves with plenty of dexterity are worth the investment.
  8. The days are shorter in the winter, and you’ll likely be grilling in the dark. While your favorite flashlight works, it can be hard to juggle with your grill tools. Clip-on or magnetic grill lamps are a handy upgrade for monitoring your cooking.
  9. Consider a wireless remote or instant read thermometer your new best friend. A leave-in remote thermometer allows you to monitor cooking temperature while you stay warm inside, and an instant read thermometer will minimize your time in the cold.
  10. When not in use (and only when completely cooled), protect your grill from the elements with a snug cover.


If you’re not planning to grill over the winter, it’s important to protect your grill from the harsh winter elements. Learn more here:

Professional Landscaping: Designing Your Outdoor Living Space

Professional Landscaping: Designing Your Outdoor Living Space

It’s finally time to prepare your outdoor living space! Planning remains the key to avoiding costly mistakes and ensuring all your outdoor space wishes are realized. A professional landscaper is an important part of the design process to consider. With the help of a professional, landscaping transforms your outdoor living environment. A professional landscaper knows how to create dynamic and sustainable spaces that will enhance your quality of life, increase the value of your home and provide you with great satisfaction for a long time. Before contacting a professional landscaper, we advise you to plan your project by following the following steps.
Step 1: Set your goals
  • Are you interested in developing a single area on your property or do you want to transform several spaces? If the plan concerns several areas, which are the priorities?
  • Apart from the aesthetic aspect, how important is the functionality of the space? Are you aiming for maximum use of the premises?
  • Do you want your new garden to provide more security, more privacy, or greater ease of access?
  • Which style do you prefer: natural, urban, formal, informal, etc.?
  • What elements already exist in the places you want to keep, such as trees, rocks, streams, landscaping, etc.?
  • Is there a view you would like to keep, improve or hide?
  • Do you want to develop a plan or do you already have one? What are your design preferences, such as colours, types of materials, choice of plants, etc.?
  • What are your expectations for maintenance? Do you expect to spend a lot of time there, or do you prefer a low-maintenance layout?
Step 2: Identify the elements you want to be a part of your space
  • Cooking, dining, entertainment and relaxation areas
  • Barbecues, firepits, and outdoor fireplaces and heaters
  • Pools, spas, or other water features, such as waterfalls or ponds
  • Trails and walking areas, and shaded and sunny spaces
  • Garden pavilions, gazebos, pergolas, fences or trellises
  • Patios, terraces, playgrounds and lawn areas
  • Trees, shrubbery and plants, including ground cover, vines, vegetables, etc.
  • Lighting (both aesthetic and functional)
  • Irrigation, rainwater harvesting systems
  • Storage sheds or areas
Step 3: List the factors that could influence your design
  • Location and zone of your property
  • Climate (snow, wind, temperature)
  • Topography of the site (characteristics of the land surface)
  • Areas of sun and shade already present
  • Soil condition (e.g., clay soil, wet, swamp, sand, etc.)
  • Drainage and irrigation
  • Existing landscaping and permanent elements already in place
  • Municipal regulations, such as height restrictions on structures or construction distances to be respected; please check your municipality’s website for more information
  • Underground infrastructure, such as pipes, aqueducts, cables, etc.
  • Any restrictions on the schedule of work; keep in mind that it is best to do most landscaping work between the months of April and November
Step 4: Have a plan drawn up
A professionally designed plan is an essential step in any landscaping project. Since it reflects your choices, a master plan helps you keep control of your project and avoid unpleasant surprises, because it gives you an overview of the final result. To help you visualize how the components of your plan will work with existing property aspects and structures, your plan will identify plant elements (trees, plants, flowers, grass), inert elements (stones, patios, structures), as well as water and lighting features. This overview will be an important reference tool to explore the possibilities available to you, and will allow you to develop the design according to your needs and budget, as well as according to the stages of development. A professional plan will help you achieve your goals and maximize the potential of your property. It can also save you money. Landscaping is often a significant investment – mistakes and misunderstandings can be expensive. A professional can help you avoid making costly mistakes.
Step 5: Look for a Certified Landscaper
Certified landscapers are recognized for their commitment to the highest standards of quality. Take the time to fully research the professional association in your area and find the right landscaper for you.

Source: Association of Professional Landscapers of Quebec (