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Celebrate Victoria Day with a memorable BBQ

Celebrate Victoria Day with a memorable BBQ

To many Canadians, the Victoria Day long weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer, synonymous with backyard barbecues, and picnics, and opening the cabin for the season.

Backyard barbecues, in particular, have become a staple of Victoria Day weekend and the focus of many people’s festivities. This year, consider the following tips to make your Victoria Day barbecue safe and memorable.

Assuming the barbecue has not been in service during the winter months (many Coasters BBQ all year round), bring it out of its storage spot, place in a level site away from vegetation and flammable materials, and give it a good cleaning. Even if you thoroughly cleaned the grill and vents at the end of last season, give it a once-over with a soapy sponge at the start of the season to clean any cobwebs, dirt and grime that might have accumulated over the winter.

Stock up on fuel. Falling short in the charcoal or propane department is a backyard barbecue faux pas that can bring the festivities to a halt. Because the weather in late May can sometimes be unpredictable, make sure you have extra fuel on hand should strong winds or colder temperatures make it difficult to build a strong fire.

Spice things up. Why not use this year’s Victoria Day barbecue to add a little extra flavor to traditional barbecue fare? Soak some dried herbs like rosemary, bay leaves or oregano in water, place them on foil at the back of the grill. These flavorful herbs will make the food taste better, and the grill will likely emit a more pleasant fragrance as well.

Prepare foods for guests with varying palates. Vegetarians and vegans love a good backyard barbecue just as much as their carnivorous friends and family members. Cook some vegetable kabobs and prepare some salads for guests who don’t eat meat. Consider purchasing a smaller grill for veggies only, as vegetarians and vegans might not prefer to eat kabobs grilled on the same grill as meat.

While cooking, never use a fork to do a spatula’s job. Poking foods on the grill with a fork allows the juices that make grilled foods so delicious to escape, resulting in drier fare that’s not nearly as flavorful. Use a spatula or tongs to flip foods, including burgers, steaks, chicken, and even hot dogs.

Make sure foods have completely defrosted before placing them on the grill. When cold meat is placed on the grill, it reduces the grill’s temperature and prevents juices from getting seared in the food. So make sure all foods have been defrosted to ensure your foods are flavorful and the grill stays hot.

This year, welcome the unofficial start of summer with a successful Victoria Day barbecue in the backyard with family, friends and great food.

Marinated veggie skewers

  • Soak wooden or bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes. Cut vegetables into one-inch chunks:
  • 2 medium red or white potatoes, pre-cooked until fork-tender
  • 1 cup firm or extra-firm tofu chunks
  • 1 cup red, yellow or green bell pepper chunks
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup red onion chunks
  • 1 cup white button mushrooms
  • 1 cup zucchini or yellow squash chunks
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes

For the marinade, whisk together in a small bowl:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place potatoes and the vegetables in a shallow dish or container. Pour marinade over vegetables. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat.
  3. Remove vegetables from the marinade, reserving marinade. Thread vegetables onto skewers, alternating colors. Grill until vegetables are lightly charred all over, about 10 minutes, basting with reserved marinade and turning occasionally.

The marinade can be prepared in advance and held covered in the refrigerator for up to seven days.


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