When it comes to barbequing, most people just think about the usual fare like hotdogs, burgers and steaks.
But for those tired of the same old options, there are many unique ways to spice up the grill this summer.
“There’s a lot of simple things you can do,” said Eric Pottle, a self-proclaimed grill master. “When it comes to steaks, if you’re tired of cooking them on the BBQ, learn a couple of sauces. It can elevate the meal to a whole new thing.”
Pottle, originally from Northwest River in Labrador and now living in Gander on the island of Newfoundland, found his love for cooking as a youth. He worked in his parent’s snack shop growing up and was exposed to the culinary lifestyle early on.
His main goal when it comes to cooking is recreating restaurant-style burgers at a fraction of the cost.
“I take techniques from different recipes and incorporate them with other recipes to make it somewhat of my own,” said Pottle. “If you look through my Facebook, you’ll see every popular burger I have done a rendition of. People think hotdogs and burgers are basic, but my favorite is a burger — never underestimate a burger on a grill.”
Although Pottle considers himself a good chef, he was through practice that he honed his natural skills for this art.
He didn’t believe the day would come in which it became consistent. The most important step he thinks anyone can take to amplify their BBQ game is to know your equipment.
“Like anything, it takes practice and, through trial and error, you can get there,” said Pottle. “It is a bit of a science. You have to know your equipment and know your ranges with your equipment.”
Pottle has a few different grills and smokers that he works off to create his meals, though he said you don’t need to use much equipment or space he does to be successful in the craft.
Sharing his knowledge
Pottle urges others to indulge and try out new things on the grill. Along with perfecting his own craft, he wanted to make things easier for those interested in trying.
He created the Facebook group Eric’s Annoying Food Pic, where he posts daily meals, step-by-step tutorials and recipes.
“When it came to creating the group, it was really just a way for me to put those dishes out there,” said Pottle. “People gravitated to it right away, other people were out here trying these new styles. It felt rewarding.”
With the success he has had in the kitchen and online, Pottle has made a name for himself as a grill master.
He has cooked everything from pizza to Caesar salad to seafood to eggplant — all on the grill. When asked what he considered to be barbeque food, Pottle’s answer was simple.
“Anything,” he said
Finding culinary inspiration
It was through the popularity of Pottle’s group and the COVID-19 pandemic that Toronto native Bruce White, also found a love for grilling.
“My wife and I, we both love to cook together; it’s something we use to spend some extra time together,” said White, who now calls St. Marys, Ont. home. “During the pandemic, our daughter gave us passes to an online cooking class. From there, we found inspiration from Stanley Tucci and we’ve been on this journey together ever since.”
With a passion for cooking, White grows all of his own vegetables, which he incorporates into his meals.
Barbequing or cooking is something he never considered a daily chore because of how quickly he has caught on.
“If you cook 150 hotdogs in one night, I mean, you start getting a handle on things,” said White.
White does a variety of seafood on the grill as well as briskets and pulled pork. He said he is known for his pulled pork recipe.
He added that, for anyone looking to spice up things this summer, a great beginner dish is pulled pork.
“Pulled pork is a great starter dish; it’s easy and it just falls apart after cooking, which is perfect,” said White. “There are many things people wouldn’t consider barbecue food, but they taste much better on the grill. Even if pulled pork intimidates you, try fries or even pizza.”
Although he found inspiration from many avenues for cooking, White said many of the ideas he gets are from the Internet.
“The recipes are easy to follow and, with the Internet, you have an endless amount at your fingers tips,” said White. “The best advice is to keep it simple starting. As you grow, you will be able to adapt and pull from other recipes and create something more original.”
The overall message White relayed is, through experimentation and the willingness to try, there is an array of possibilities to explore when grilling.
For him, a barbecue could mean cooking anything you put your mind to.
“For me, anything you can cook in the house, with some skill and being mindful towards your dish, you can do it in on the barbeque.”