Recipe of the Week: Jerk Chicken

Recipe of the Week: Jerk Chicken

RecipesPeter Sanagan

Our housemade jerk chicken is on sale this weekend, but I also wanted to share our process for making it; you may want to continue jerking meat all summer long! This marinade works great with chicken, pork, lamb, beef, vegetables…basically anything you want to have a little island flavour. This recipe is adapted form my book Cooking Meat, which has all kinds of marinades and tasty tips for meat-cooking success!

Serves 4



3 Tbsp chopped garlic
1½ Tbsp seeded and chopped Scotch bonnet pepper
1 Tbsp chopped ginger
3 cups chopped green onions
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2½ Tbsp ground allspice
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg


4 chicken legs, skin-on and bone-in, split between the thigh and the drumstick
½ cup sliced green onions



  1. To make the marinade, place the garlic, Scotch bonnets, and ginger in a food processor and process at high speed until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl. Place the green onions in the food processor and purée. Stir this purée into the garlic mixture and pour it all into a blender. Add the soy sauce and oil, followed by the sugar, allspice, thyme leaves, salt, dried thyme, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and purée on high speed until well combined. Measure ½ cup of the marinade into a clean bowl and refrigerate the rest, reserving it for another use. It will keep fresh in your fridge for 4 weeks.
  2. Place the chicken in a nonreactive bowl, add the ½ cup marinade, and toss well. If you prefer a healthier dose of marinade, help yourself. Stir in the sliced green onions. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat the barbecue to medium-high on one side and medium on the other. Place the chicken on the hotter side of the grill to sear, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer it to the cooler side to finish cooking, about 20 minutes. The chicken is done when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F.
  4. To serve, arrange the legs on a platter and serve immediately.
Recipe of the Week: Smoked Brisket

Recipe of the Week: Smoked Brisket

RecipesPeter Sanagan

A whole brisket weighs between 9 and 12 pounds on average and consists of two ends. The flat—also known as the single end, first cut, or thin end—is usually about 2 inches thick with ½ inch of fat cap. The point—also known as the double end, second cut, or fatty end—consists of two muscles separated by a layer of fat with another inch or so of fat cap on top. This thicker end is on average 4 to 5 inches high. If you’re feeding lots of people, use the whole brisket and offer your guests the choice of fatty or lean cuts.

Serves 8 to 10


3 Tbsp                  salt
2 Tbsp                  pepper
2 Tbsp                  packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp                  sweet paprika
2 Tbsp                  onion powder
1 Tbsp                  garlic powder
5 pounds             brisket
5 cups                  chunky wood chips




  1. Mix together the salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Place the brisket on a baking tray and, using your hands, massage the rub evenly into the meat. Refrigerate, covered, for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Remove the brisket from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. Soak the wood chips in cold water for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Set up your charcoal BBQ. Light about 15 pieces of lump charcoal. When hot, place them in three even piles around the circumference of your grill. In the empty center of a grill place a catch pan made of either a small stainless-steel bowl or an aluminum tray and fill it ¾ of the way with hot water. Place the grill on top of the charcoal and catch-pan and close the lid, bringing the internal temperature of the grill to 250°F.
  4. Place the brisket on the grill above the catch pan and place a handful of wood chips on each pile of charcoal. Close the lid and adjust the temperature to reach 225°F. Every hour, continue to add fresh hot coals and soaked woodchips to maintain the heat and the smoke.
  5. When the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 190°F (after about five hours), remove it from the grill and wrap it tightly in either heavy duty aluminum foil or butcher’s paper. Let it rest, wrapped, for one hour to allow the residual heat from the brisket to continue cooking it in a moist environment.
  6. After the hour is up, unwrap the brisket, slice it thinly against the grain, and enjoy! BBQ Sauce is optional here. I prefer it Montreal style – with lots of mustard

Recipe of the Week: Smoked Pork Butt

Recipe of the Week: Smoked Pork Butt

RecipesPeter Sanagan

I’ve cooked many foods on my charcoal barbecue, but one of my favorite ways to do so is slow-roasting pork butt using plenty of wood chips to impart a strong smoky flavor. A pork butt comes from the shoulder of the pig and runs from the top of the pork rack to the base of the head. This recipe is adapted from Cooking Meat.

Serves 8 to 10


1             (7-8 pounds) whole boneless pork butt
½ cup    brown sugar
½ cup    salt
3 cups   wood chips


  1. Rub the meat all over with the sugar and salt. Place the pork in a bowl or casserole and refrigerate, uncovered, for 6 hours or overnight.
  2. In the morning, soak the wood chips in water for 20-30 minutes. Preheat your charcoal barbecue to 300°F. Once the coals are piping hot, arrange them on one side of your barbecue.
  3. Remove the pork from the fridge and drain off any liquid, then place the pork on the cooler side of the barbecue, away from the fire, with a drip pan underneath to catch any fat. Throw a handful of the soaked wood chips directly on the hot charcoal, then close the lid of the barbecue and adjust the air vents so the temperature inside remains around 300°F. Smoke for 5-6 hours, adding more charcoal and wood chips every couple of hours and checking the temperature and the smoke periodically.
  4. Once the meat is fork-tender, transfer the pork to a cutting board, cover it loosely with aluminum foil, and rest for about 20 minutes.
  5. To serve, cut into slices and arrange on a serving platter.
Technique of the week: Making your own sausages

Technique of the week: Making your own sausages

GeneralPeter Sanagan

Making sausages at home is not that difficult. If you’re planning on making sausages frequently, I recommend getting a grinder and a stuffer (both are available as attachments to a KitchenAid mixer), but you can also just make them with store bought ground meat, some seasonings, and a bit of ingenuity.

Follow these tips closely and you’ll have homemade sausages any time you want.

Use the right type of meat. We make our pork sausage fillings from primarily shoulder and belly meat, with added back fat if necessary. Lamb also makes a great sausage; if you get an older lamb, it will have more fat and a more pronounced flavor. Beef can make a decent sausage, but in my experience, you need a little pork fat to make it more succulent.

Aim for 25–30% fat. For a juicy sausage, you want the meat mixture to be 25–30% fat. If you’re buying pre-ground meat, ask for “fatty” ground pork. Most regular ground pork contains 15–20% fat, which is too lean for sausage.

Grind meat only when it’s cold. When you grind meat in a machine, the grinder often gets a little warm due to friction, which can cause an undesirable emulsification called “smearing”. Arrange your meat on a plate or a baking sheet and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes so it’s cold (but not frozen) when you grind it.

Make a slurry for the seasoning. Whatever seasoning you’re using for the sausage, mix it with enough water to create a slurry before combining it with the meat. This will help evenly distribute the spice throughout the mix so you don’t end up with unpleasant clumps of spice in your finished sausage.

Mix the sausage meat properly. You want to mix the sausage just enough to both distribute the seasonings and have the small pieces of ground meat stick to each other (that’s protein extraction at work). If the meat gets overmixed, it can emulsify, which causes the cooked sausage to have an undesirable texture. If the meat is undermixed, it can fall apart and crumble after cooking.

Choose your casing carefully. These are intestines that have been washed out and packed in salt. They will need to be soaked and rinsed in clean water a few times before using.

Soak the casings in water. We recommend using only all-natural casings from hogs and sheep, which are stored in salt, so rinse them well before stuffing them to improve their flavor and prevent them from drying out.

Use a sausage stuffer. We stuff our sausages by feeding the casings onto a cylinder that is attached to the stuffer. The sausage mix, or farce, goes into that sausage stuffer. Then we use a hand crank to coax the farce from the stuffer into the casings.

Or use parchment paper to form your sausages. If you don’t have a sausage stuffer, shape your sausage meat on a sheet of parchment paper. Set about 5 cups or so of the meat on a sheet of parchment, tightly roll the edge of the paper around the meat as if you were shaping a log, and keep rolling the paper to tighten the sausage. Seal both ends with kitchen twine. Remove the parchment before baking the sausage log in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes to set it, then cutting it into smaller pieces and frying it to brown the outside.

Or use a freezer bag to pipe your sausages. If you don’t have a sausage stuffer, you can place your sausage meat in a heavy-duty freezer bag and cut off one of the corners to create a makeshift piping bag. Squeeze the meat out of the bag to fill a natural casing. It’s slower than using a machine, but it gets the job done.

Don’t overstuff your sausages. A well-stuffed sausage should feel like a very ripe banana still in the peel. It should definitely have some give to it when gently squeezed. Overstuffed sausages can burst while cooking because the meat inside the casing expands as it cooks. Understuffed sausages can easily be fixed with a few more twists of the casing. A good method is to pinch the coil at the 6-inch mark and spin it forward a few times. Skip the next 6 inches, then repeat the double-pinch-and-forward-spin. This naturally creates a sausage in between. Many sausage makers suggest alternating between spinning the casing forward with one link and backward with the next, but this method avoids that added step.

Prick your casing. If you’re using fresh casing, fill it evenly to avoid air holes. To do this, simply ensure you have a steady stream of farce entering your casing. Most air holes occur when there are gaps in the flow. No matter what you do, you will get some air holes, though. The easiest way to get rid of them is by pricking holes in the piped sausage with a specialized tool or the tip of a sharp paring knife.

Have fun! Sausages are a delicious and satisfying product to make yourself, and I highly recommend doing it at least once in your life. But if you don’t want to, no worries – we’re always fully stocked with our own at Sanagan’s so you too can get into that sausage life this summer!

Recipe of the Week: Beer-Roasted Chicken

Recipe of the Week: Beer-Roasted Chicken

RecipesPeter Sanagan

Beer-Roasted Chicken
(recipe abridged from Cooking Meat)

I first heard about beer can chicken when I was younger, but cooking a chicken on a painted aluminum can just doesn’t sound so great. I still want to use the beer, obviously, because it makes the moistest roast bird imaginable without imparting too much flavor, but I use a small mason jar instead of a can. A jam jar that’s been thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed of all labels and glue bits also works well.

 Serves 4


¼ cup                   BBQ Dry Rub or salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp                  vegetable oil
1                           whole chicken, trussed
1 cup                    beer (a pilsner or lager is good here)



  1. Preheat the BBQ to 375°F. Have a roasting pan ready.
  2. Mix the spice rub and oil together in a small bowl. Using your hands, slather the mix all over the chicken, making sure you get it into all the little crevices.
  3. Pour the beer into a clean mason jar just large enough to fit into the chicken’s cavity. Place the jar in the roasting pan, then press the chicken, butt down, over top. The jar should fit almost entirely in the chicken’s cavity, allowing the bird to balance standing up.
  4. Roast the chicken in the closed BBQ until an internal thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F (about 25 minutes per pound). Remove the roasting pan from the BBQ, tent the bird with aluminum foil, and allow it to rest in the pan for 30 minutes.
  5. Using either tongs or a carving fork pierced far enough into the bird to lift it, and a kitchen towel (to pull off the jar), carefully pull the jar out of the chicken. A lot of hot juice may come out with it, so be careful. Discard the beer.
  6. To serve, carve the chicken, arrange it on a platter, and pass the plates!
Tips for Cooking Ribeye Steak

Tips for Cooking Ribeye Steak

GeneralPeter Sanagan

Ribeye steaks are a forgiving cut. There is generally a lot of fat that will keep a steak juicy even if cooked to medium well or well done. Having said that, there are a few tips to cooking a great steak, no matter how you like it cooked (this content is abridged from my book Cooking Meat, where info like this and so much more is available).

Choose your cooking method for your ribeye. The three most common methods people use to cook steaks at home are pan-frying, grilling, and broiling.


  • Heat a heavy-bottomed frying pan over a high heat. I prefer flat-bottomed cast iron pans because they retain the heat excellently and you can get a great caramelization on the surface of the steak.
  • Season the steak generously with salt and pepper, then rub with vegetable or olive oil.
  • Sear the steak in the hot pan until all sides are golden brown. The timing depends on the size and thickness of the steak, but as a rule of thumb, searing the steak for a minimum of 3 minutes per side will achieve the desired gold brown-ness.
  • You can flip as many times as you think necessary, but aim for one flip during the cooking time. For thinner (less than 1-inch) steaks that means 2 minutes per side, and for thicker (2-inch) steaks that means 4 minutes per side. You’ll find the timing gets easier with practice.
  • After the steaks are golden brown, turn the heat down to medium, add 2 Tbsp of butter to the pan with 2 sprigs of thyme, and finish cooking until the desired internal temperature has been reached (I like to use an internal thermometer to check for accuracy).
  • For thick steaks (1-inch or thicker), rest the meat for a minimum of 8 minutes before serving. For thinner steaks (less than 1-inch), rest for 2 minutes before serving.


  • If you’re using propane/gas, heat half of your grill to high, and the other half to medium heat. If you’re using charcoal, arrange the hot coals on only one side of the grill.
  • Season the steak generously with salt and pepper, then rub it with vegetable or olive oil.
  • Sear the steak on the hot side of the grill, and flip it until it’s golden brown on both sides. The timing depends on the size and thickness of the steak, but as a rule of thumb, searing the steak for a minimum of 3 minutes per side will achieve the desired golden-brown crust. Be aware of how fatty your steak is, as melting marbling can cause flareups if you’re not paying attention.
  • Move the steak to the cooler side of the grill and finish cooking until the desired internal temperature has been reached.
  • For thick steaks (1-inch or thicker), rest the meat for a minimum of 8 minutes before serving. For thinner steaks (less than 1-inch), rest for 2 minutes before serving.


  • Preheat the broiler to high heat. If cooking thick steaks (1-inch or thicker), place the oven rack on the second- highest position in the oven. If cooking thinner steaks (less than 1 inch), place it on the highest position.
  • Season the steak with salt and pepper, then rub with vegetable or olive oil.
  • Place the steak on a heavy-bottomed tray (ovens sometimes come with these; otherwise use a shallow ovenproof frying pan that will fit inside the oven with the door closed.
  • Place the tray under the broiler and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes, flip the steak, and repeat with the other side.
  • Continue flipping to finish cooking until the desired internal temperature has been reached.
  • For thick steaks (1-inch or thicker), rest the meat for a minimum of 8 minutes before serving. For thinner steaks (less than 1-inch), rest for 2 minutes before serving.

 Knowing when the steak is done.

  • The Finger Test: Simply touch your thumb to your pinky finger on one hand. Using your the index finger of your other hand, touch the meaty part of your thumb, near the base. That’s what a well-done steak feels like. Now touch your thumb with your ring finger: that’s medium. Touch your thumb with your middle finger: that’s medium-rare. Finally, touch your thumb to your index finger: that’s blue rare. I recommend trying this technique close to when you think the steaks are finished cooking. It’s common to see grill cooks in restaurants constantly touching the steaks, using their intuition and experience to judge when to take the steak off the grill.
  • Internal Thermometer: This method is more exact, but it also depends on the quality of the thermometer and the thickness of the steak. For example, it’s great on a big côte de boeuf, but pretty useless with a skirt steak. The thicker the steak, the more accurate the internal temperature can be read. If the steak is thin, heat will travel through the muscle fibers more quickly, distorting the true internal temperature of the meat. Additionally, you’ll want to take a steak off the heat when it is 5 or 10 degrees cooler than the target temperature, as it will continue cooking for a bit as it rests.














Let it rest. 

Resting a steak before serving it is always a good plan, as it allows the juices to settle back into the muscle fiber and prevents the juice from flowing away once the steak is cut. You’ll always have some juice come out of a steak, but resting minimizes it.

Smoked and Grilled Tri Tip

Smoked and Grilled Tri Tip

RecipesBrian Knapp

It’s probably not a surprise, but as a bigger guy who’s worked in a butcher shop for nearly 15 years, I love steak.  Almost as much as steak, I also love a good steakhouse!  There’s something about the old, wood-dominant rooms, even older waitstaff, oversized appetizers and classic sides that can bring out the best qualities in a steak.  With young kids at home, I don’t get out to eat as much as I would like, but that doesn’t mean I can’t produce a reasonable facsimile of a steakhouse meal at home.

Tri-tip typically gives way to fattier loin cuts on a steakhouse menu, but in this recipe, we’re going to double up on the cooking methods (low and slow with a smoker, hot and fast with a grill) to maximize the flavour. 


Serves 3


1                    tri-tip, 2-2.5 lbs

2 tbsp            your favourite mustard (yellow, Dijon, etc.)

2-3 tbsp         Sanagan’s southwest steak rub



  1. Roughly 1.5 hours before you’d like to eat, take your tri-tip out of the fridge.
  2. Rub the mustard of your choice in a thin, even layer over the surface of the tri-tip (all sides). The mustard is used both for flavour, and to help the rub to adhere to the steak.
  3. Generously season the tri-tip with steak rub, coating both sides. It’s hard to add too much rub, so (within reason) err on the side of generosity here.
  4. Pre-heat your smoker to 240-250 F, allowing the steak to rest outside of the fridge while you wait.
  5. Smoke the tri-tip for approx. 40 minutes and then remove from the heat.
  6. Pre-heat your gas/propane grill to its highest heat (note: you could also use a cast-iron pan for this step if preferred).
  7. Sear the tri-tip evenly on both sides until desired internal temperature is reached, approximately 4-6 minutes per side depending on the temperature of your grill.
  8. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain, and serve with your best ‘loaded’ baked potato.
Recipe of the Week: Reverse-Seared Top Sirloin Cap

Recipe of the Week: Reverse-Seared Top Sirloin Cap

RecipesPeter Sanagan

Top Sirloin Cap, also called picanha (or coulotte if the fat is removed), is a muscle that sits on the main body of the top sirloin. Its triangular shape is covered with a layer of fat which renders when the steak cooks, ensuring a juicy outcome.

Reverse searing is a method of cooking where you start a cut of meat at a very low temperature in your oven to achieve the intended internal temperature, before searing the meat on a high heat to brown the exterior. The result is a consistently cooked cut, and takes some of the guess work out of cooking a large steak like this top sirloin cap. The following recipe, adapted from Cooking Meat, explains how to do this, and pairs the steak with a bright chimichurri sauce.

Serves 4



3                            garlic cloves, sliced in half
6                            thyme sprigs, cut in half
Salt and pepper
3 Tbsp                  red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp                  olive oil
1                            sirloin cap, 2 to 2.5 lbs, fat cap left on, silverskin removed

Chimichurri Sauce

2 cups                  cilantro, leaves picked and washed
1 tsp                     granulated sugar
3 Tbsp                  olive oil
2 Tbsp                  lime juice
1 Tbsp                  red wine vinegar
½                           red onion, finely diced
2                            garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp                     grated lime zest
Salt and pepper


  1. Place the garlic, thyme, vinegar, oil, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and mix together.
  2. Using the point of a sharp knife, score the fat side of the sirloin cap in a crosshatch pattern. Place the steak in a baking dish, and season both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Rub the marinade all over the steak, and refrigerate, uncovered and fat cap facing up, for at least 4 hours.
  3. An hour and a half before you want to eat, preheat the oven to 275°F. Take the steak out of the fridge and bring to room temperature. Place the steak in the oven and cook until an internal thermometer inserted into the middle of the steak reads the desired temperature. Take the steak out of the oven and set aside.
  4. Place a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan over high heat. Discard the garlic and thyme, and then sear the sirloin cap, fat side down, in the hot pan. Turn the steak over when golden and sear the other side. The whole process should take about 1 minute per side. Remove from the pan and set on a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.
  5. To make the chimichurri sauce, place the coriander in a blender and purée with the sugar, oil, lime juice, and vinegar. Pour the mixture into a serving bowl and stir in the red onion, garlic, and lime zest. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. To serve, slice the steak against the grain and arrange on a serving platter with the chimichurri alongside.
Recipe of the Week: Bavette with Roasted Cauliflower Risotto

Recipe of the Week: Bavette with Roasted Cauliflower Risotto

RecipesPeter Sanagan

I developed the recipe for a Roasted Cauliflower Risotto when I was the chef of The Falls Inn, a beautiful inn close to Meaford, Ontario. This risotto calls for a sharp cheddar cheese – something the Italian chefs I worked for would berate me for – but I love the combo of cauliflower with cheddar. Add a sliced bavette to the mix and you have a restaurant-worthy main course for your next summer dinner party!

Grilled Bavette with Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Risotto

Serves 6 to 8


4 pc                      bavette steaks, 8-10 oz each
1                            garlic clove, smashed with the side of a knife
6                            thyme branches
2 tbsp                   olive oil
to taste                salt and pepper
2 cups                  cauliflower florets
1 tbsp                   vegetable oil
4 cups                  chicken stock
2 tbsp                   butter (divided)
½ cup                   finely diced onions
1 cup                    arborio or carnaroli (risotto) rice
½ cup                   white wine
1 cup                    grated sharp cheddar (could be orange or white)
1 Tbsp                  aged balsamic vinegar



  1. In a work bowl, toss the bavette with the garlic, thyme, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 2-4 hours. 30 minutes before cooking, take the steaks out of the fridge and bring them closer to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer on the baking tray and roast in the oven until nicely browned, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  4. Set up your grill with a high heat side and a low heat side. Sear the bavette on the high heat side, flipping every minute or so, until browned all over. Move the steaks to the lower heat side of the grill and continue cooking until the internal temperature is to your liking. For a medium steak I would estimate a total cooking time of 10-12 minutes. When finished cooking rest the steaks on a plate for 10 minutes.
  5. While the cauliflower is roasting and the steaks are on the grill, start the risotto. Pour the stock into a pot and bring to a low simmer over medium heat.
  6. In another pot, melt 1 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon to coat them with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until it has evaporated, stirring every 30 seconds or so.
  7. Start adding the stock to the rice, ladleful by ladleful, stirring as you go. Allow the rice to absorb each ladleful of stock before adding the next. The rice will absorb the liquid and release its starch, creating a thick, soupy rice. Continue adding the stock until the rice is tender when you taste it. Italians call this moment when the risotto is perfectly cooked all’ondo.
  8. When the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the roasted cauliflower. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp butter and the cheddar and stir vigorously until the sauce is emulsified.
  9. To serve, pour the risotto into individual plates (about ¾ cup to 1 cup per person). Slice the steaks thinly against the grain and divide among the plates (I would estimate 4-5 slices per person). Drizzle the whole dish with the balsamic and serve immediately.