Chef Ted Reader loves inviting people into his backyard to enjoy the delicious fare he makes on his dozens of grills, all of which he uses year-round.
"Don't just keep the same four or five recipes," he says. "Expand your repertoire. Bring the world of gastronomy into your day-to-day life of cooking. Don't look at it as a chore to go out to the grill."
Here are some recipes from his new book, "Gastro Grilling: Fired-Up Recipes to Grill Great Everyday Meals," to get you started.
Grilled Beef Tenderloin With Fire-Roasted Red Pepper and Goat's Cheese
Chef Ted Reader says this recipe is sure to bring smiles to the cook as well as family and friends. It is also quite easy to make.
6 beef tenderloin filets (about 170 g to 225 g/6 to 8 oz each), cut 4 cm (1 1/2 inches) thick
30 ml (2 tbsp) Steak Spice (recipe follows)
2 red bell peppers
1 medium red onion, sliced into rings
30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
30 ml (2 tbsp) balsamic glaze
15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh oregano
1/2 juicy lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
125 ml (1/2 cup) soft goat's cheese
Season filets with Steak Spice, pressing seasoning into meat. Set aside.
Roast peppers on the grill, turning periodically, until peppers are charred and blistering. Place peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. The heat from the peppers will produce steam that makes the skin easier to peel. After 10 minutes, peel and seed peppers and cut into 1-cm (1/2-inch)wide strips, place in a bowl and let cool.
At the same time as you are grilling the peppers, grill onion. Remove from grill, cut onion rings in half and add to red peppers. Season with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic glaze and fresh oregano. Season with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and salt and black pepper. Mix well and set aside.
Crumble goat's cheese and refrigerate until needed.
Fire up your grill to 290 to 345 C (550 to 650 F).
Add cheese to roasted red pepper mixture. Season to taste with a little more salt and pepper. Gently mix.
Grill filets for 3 to 4 minutes on one side. Turn steaks and top each with a handful of roasted red pepper and goat's cheese mixture. Close lid and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes for medium-rare doneness. Remove from grill and serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.
Place this mixture in a pepper grinder to get the full flavour of the spices.
75 ml (1/3 cup) coarse sea salt
50 ml (1/4 cup) whole black peppercorns
50 ml (1/4 cup) whole white peppercorns
50 ml (1/4 cup) Szechuan peppercorns
50 ml (1/4 cup) dried onion flakes
45 ml (3 tbsp) coarse granulated garlic
30 ml (2 tbsp) mustard seeds
30 ml (2 tbsp) coriander seeds
15 ml (1 tbsp) crushed or flaked ancho pepper
15 ml (1 tbsp) dill seeds
Combine salt, black, white and Szechuan peppercorns, onion flakes, garlic, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, ancho pepper and dill seeds.
Fill a pepper grinder with as much of the mixture as it can hold. Store remaining Steak Spice in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from heat and light.
Makes about 500 ml (2 cups).
Bananas on Toast
Chef Ted Reader says this is one of his favourite desserts to make on the grill. To achieve maximum flavour, start the day before by infusing a vanilla bean and honey in bourbon.
Syringes, available at barbecue supply stores, are a great tool to have fun with and can inject flavour or moisture into anything you're cooking, Reader says.
"Bourbon, for example, can be injected into a chicken breast or steak or even bananas. Melted butter into a turkey breast enhances the flavour." This method can also add much-needed moisture into meats that could be a little dry. If you are cooking a filet, which doesn't have a lot of fat, to medium-well doneness, inject it with butter, the chef suggests.
500 ml (2 cups) Devil's Cut by Jim Beam
1 vanilla bean
50 ml (1/4 cup) honey
2 slices double-smoked thick-cut bacon
125 ml (1/2 cup) condensed milk
4 ripe bananas, unpeeled
4 to 8 slices raisin bread
5 ml (1 tsp) chopped fresh sage
Pour bourbon into a canning jar. Split vanilla bean in two and scrape out seeds, cut pod into 2.5-cm (1-inch) sections and add seeds and pod to bourbon. Add honey and seal jar. Give it a shake to dissolve honey in bourbon. Set aside to infuse for 24 hours.
Cut bacon into 1-cm (1/2-inch) thick lardons, or strips, across the width of the bacon. In a pan, fry bacon lardons over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp. Remove from heat and drain. Pat with paper towels to remove excess bacon grease. Place bacon in small bowl. Spoon condensed milk over and drizzle with a little vanilla-infused bourbon. Stir to combine and keep warm.
Fire up your grill to 450 to 550 C (230 to 290 C).
Suck up bourbon mixture into an injection syringe. Set aside.
Grill bananas for 5 to 8 minutes per side until banana skin is darkened and begins to split. The flesh of the banana should be warm and soft. Inject each banana with a little squirt of infused bourbon. Be careful, as the bourbon will more than likely ignite as it drips out of the banana.
At the same time as you are grilling bananas, grill raisin bread until golden brown and crisp.
Remove bananas from grill and carefully open peel to expose hot tender banana. Spread warm grill-roasted banana over raisin toast. Drizzle with crispy bacon condensed milk. Garnish with a little fresh chopped sage. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 to 4 servings.
Source: "Gastro Grilling: Fired-Up Recipes to Grill Great Everyday Meals" by Ted Reader (Penguin Books, 2013).