THE SALTY CHEF with Chef Stephen Hunter

It’s actually grilling

First things first.

When you cook outside on the ‘BBQ’ or ‘barbeque’ you are not technically barbequing, you are grilling. There are arguments to be made that grilling is just a fast version of barbequing but we will just leave those aside for the moment. Barbeque is all that smoke-and-low-heat stuff which is its own beast and while you can manage some pretty decent smoky-low-and-slow on the grill it requires some hacks. So it’s best to invest in a proper smoker for that kind of thing.

This is not to disparage backyard grilling.

At its essence grilling is the simplest and oldest cooking method around. Take some meat or veggies, apply heat, enjoy.

When humans began cooking it wasn’t with $3,000 smokers, pot and pans, or Instant Pots. It was with open fire.

And that’s what we’ll be looking at with these recipes. The application of heat to chemically and physically change our food into something easier to digest and bring out the hidden flavours. One of those flavours is the browning that occurs on grilled food. This is the result of a chemical reaction of amino acids and reduced sugars caramelizing. This is the distinctive taste of summer.

We’re going to be adding a little chocolate flavour burst to accompany all these nice fired-up dishes in the form of a salad. Yes-a salad with some chocolate in the mix. Don’t be afraid.

Roasted Baby Red Potatoes on the BBQ
Serves 6


24 baby red potatoes cut in half

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp Kosher salt

2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme

1 medium size red onion, cut in half then sliced in thin rings


Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.

Prepare a double layer sheet of tinfoil, large enough to wrap the potato mixture

Place the potato mixture in center of foil and fold the foil to make a large somewhat flat packet.

Make sure your packet is securely folded on the edges as you will be turning it several times on the grill.

Place foil packet on medium hot grill and lower lid on barbecue to keep heat in.

Turn your packet every 5 minutes for about 20 minutes.

Move your packet to the upper rack of barbecue and finish for 20 minutes at a lower temperature.

Check for doneness by opening your packet just enough to pierce a potato with a fork.

Mediterranean Spiced Chicken Kabobs

Makes 12 kabobs

For the Marinade:

1 Tbsp Spanish paprika

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

2 Tbsp  fresh thyme, chopped fine

1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped fine

1/2 tsp ground green cardamom

2 tsp onion salt

Salt and pepper

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

15 garlic cloves, minced

5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Chicken breasts (2 lbs), cubed

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 2″ pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into 2″ pieces

1 red onion, cut into 2″ pieces


Add marinade ingredients to a food processor and puree until well combined.

Add mixture to chicken, mix well and place chicken in fridge for 6 hours or overnight.

If using wooden skewers for the kabobs, ensure that they have been soaked in water for at least 1 hour.

Begin with threading a piece of red pepper on a skewer and then thread the marinated chicken onto skewers. Alternate chicken cubes with red onion and peppers.

Preheat grill to medium heat for at least 15 minutes. Clean and oil grill.

Place kabobs on grill. Cook on medium heat, turning every 3 min.

Grill for 15 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Check by cutting into largest piece to be sure chicken is cooked properly.

Cocoa Nib Vinaigrette


1 cup cocoa nibs

750 ml white wine vinegar

Start by placing cocoa nibs in your good quality white wine vinegar. This can be done in a large 1L mason jar.

Shake gently for a few seconds, and do this once a day for five days.

Strain the vinegar through a fine mesh strainer after five days. This cocoa nib vinegar will last quite a while and makes great salad dressings.

To make vinaigrette

1 tsp Dijon mustard

3 Tbsp maple syrup

¾ cup cocoa nib vinegar

2 cups canola oil

1 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a food processor or shaker jar and blend or shake well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

About Stephen Hunter

Stephen Hunter teaches the à la carte practical program at The Culinary Institute of Canada at Holland College in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He's also the Chef Instructor for evening dining at the Lucy Maud Dining Room.

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