Get Saucy With Chef Nathan McLaughlin

The man behind your favourite southern staples at MEAT shares his tips and tricks.

photography Curtis Comeau

Q: What are some things that people absolutely need to be doing when they BBQ?

A: Searching for the best product is definitely your number-one thing – the best quality that you can get. People also need to season their meat properly, whether they’re smoking it or using a method of brining. And make sure you know how to use the equipment properly.

Q: What are some of the keys to proper seasoning?

A: My main two are just salt and pepper. Take fresh peppercorns and grind them in the spice grinder, use kosher salt.

Q: For the average home cook, what are the basic tools needed?

A: A long pair of tongs – maybe even two, so you can grab those big racks of ribs – a sauce mop, if people want to experiment with sauce, a meat thermometer, and definitely the proper types of woods. You have your soft and hard woods, it’s all about experimentation. I ended up figuring out hickory and cherry were the route I wanted to go [at MEAT]. Cherry is really sweet, hickory is really pronounced. Mesquite is really intense, maple is really soft, it’s all about figuring out the balance.

Q: You have a lot of Southern barbecue staples on the menu at MEAT – how does that style differ from Canadian barbecue?

A: There’s Carolina, very vinegar based. Louisiana is sauce based. We decided to go with Texas style, which is basically dry. Part of our mentality was, serve the meat almost just properly seasoned so you can actually taste the meat, then [guests] can add their own sauces, however they like.

Q: What would your advice be for a barbecue rookie?

A: Practice makes perfect. Don’t get disgruntled if it doesn’t work out.

            This article appears in the May 2018 issue of Avenue Edmonton. Subscribe here.

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