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Some traditions stand the test of time—like the proverbial Father Day’s BBQ! To celebrate the occasion, why not spice things up . . . literally! Discover BBQ Québec’s top tips for adding spices to all your grilled dishes.

Spices for every taste

Whether you’re a BBQ pro or simply a grilling enthusiast, everyone knows the importance of properly seasoning their pièce de résistance. If your guests can handle heat, play around with spicier options. Maxime Lavoie, co-president of BBQ Québec, advises to always check your guests’ level of tolerance, as it can vary significantly from one person to another. “It’s common for people to confuse aromatic with spicy. You can cook a dish that’s aromatic without ever adding a spicy element to it,” he points out. If your guests are fans of flavourful food, opt for aromatics such as cumin, turmeric, coriander, and star anis. For the more adventurous, explore hot spices, such as cayenne pepper, Espelette pepper, and Sichuan pepper.

A different spice for every type of meat?

Different protein, different spice? That’s the question every grill master asks themselves! While there’s no right answer to this question, know that there ARE certain options that will guarantee great results every time. White meats, like chicken and pork, pair nicely with hot spices such as paprika, Cayenne pepper, and satay. Red meats, on the other hand, go great with classic spices, such as pepper and coarse salt. “When I cook beef, I prefer subtle flavours that let the meat really shine,” says Lavoie. Pressed for time? According to the BBQ expert, your best bet is to opt for store-bought spice mixtures, as the flavours are usually well balanced. “Montreal spice is a classic. I use it on fish, as well as beef!”

Well-balanced sides

If you plan on throwing a spicy BBQ, Lavoie suggest incorporating dairy products to your sides. “Drizzle your potato salad with a creamy dressing, for example. The milky aspect of the salad will come soften the spiciness of your main dish. You could also add almonds, as they help neutralize heartburn.” If you want to try something different from the traditional potato salad, opt for a succulent grilled tomato and avocado salad. “The avocado smooth’s texture will sooth the feeling of heat in your mouth, while the tomatoes will add a touch of freshness!” As a side, Lavoie suggests serving a sweet sauce, such as honey and garlic. “The richness of the sauce will counterbalance the spiciness and make for a more cohesive plate,” explains the expert.

Tips for seasoning like a pro

Are your loved ones complete opposites when it comes to how spicy they like their food? “Add your hot spices right before serving, that way you can tailor each individual portion to everyone’s liking.”

How to please the whole gang!

If you’re hosting a Father’s Day get-together, you’ll probably have to act as referee for the two opposing teams: Team Spicy and Team Mellow! But no need for a duel! Here are Lavoie’s top tips on how to please the whole gang.

Divide and conquer

Prepared some succulent ribs on the BBQ, but not sure how hot to make your sauce? Compromise by preparing two versions—one mild and one spicy, which you can serve on the side.

All the flavour, without the heat!

For those who prefer moderate-intense spices, Rachelle Béry offers several mixtures that are sure to please. The Texas blend, a savoury combination of salt, pepper, garlic, and onion, will add loads of flavour to any dish, all without turning the heat up. To elevate your steak, Lavoie recommends the California blend, composed of sea salt and herbs.

Add a touch of acidity

Accidentally added too much heat to your dish? Don’t worry! Simply add a drizzle of lemon or lime juice to counterbalance the spiciness.

Dessert: spices to the rescue!

Spices can be delicious in desserts, too! At your next BBQ, impress your guests by adding a touch of heat to your dessert. For something original and easy to make , Lavoie suggests grilling some pineapple slices and sprinkling some BBQ Québec Tex Mex spices over top. “Served with vanilla ice-cream, it’s a real treat!” Whether you’re a fan of spicy food or not, seasoning is a must when it comes to throwing a delicious BBQ. This summer, explore various avenues and don’t be afraid to try something new!