Surrey’s Matt Stowe, Top Chef Canada winner and director of culinary operations for Joseph Richard Group. (submitted photo)

Stowe on steaks: Surrey’s ‘Top Chef Canada’ winner gives tips to get sizzling this season

Victoria Day long weekend signals the unofficial start of backyard barbecuing

Steak lovers, this is your time.

It’s the season for sizzlin’, as the Victoria Day long weekend signals the start of backyard barbecuing in Surrey and the rest of the province.

More than 200,000 steaks will hit grills in B.C. this weekend, according to Surrey-based Joseph Richard Group, a pub/restaurant and liquor store operator that boasts 17 outlets in B.C. and Alberta.

That’s a lot of beef.

At JRG eateries, 25,000 steaks are cooked up each year, the company reports, and that number will climb after its latest S+L Kitchen + Bar location will open at South Surrey’s Morgan Crossing area this month.

“We love our beef in B.C., and steaks are always the preferred cuts,” said Cloverdale-raised Matthew Stowe, JRG’s director of culinary operations and one-time Top Chef Canada winner.

“Unfortunately, many people are intimidated when it comes to cooking steak at home on the barbecue. If people follow these simple rules, we guarantee they’ll enjoy a perfect steak every time.”

For backyard barbecuers, Stowe offered the following tips:

PRE-HEAT: “Always pre-heat your grill until it reaches at least 400 degrees Celsius.”

RUB THE GRILL: “Be sure to rub your grill with some tongs and a towel soaked in vegetable oil to prevent food from sticking.”

LET IT WARM-UP: “When cooking steaks, leave your meat out at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before starting to cook. Cooking steaks fresh from the fridge will make them take longer to cook and the outside will overcook before the centre is a nice, medium rare.”

SIMPLE SEASON: “Season your steaks with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. While marinating chicken or salmon with different options is great, it’s best to keep steak simple with just some salt and pepper.”

LEAVE IT BE: “Once the food touches the grill, leave it alone! Let it sit for at least two to three minutes to build a crust before you flip it or move it. Moving it around too much will keep it from developing the colour and crust you want.”

LET IT REST: “When grilling any red meat or poultry, always allow it to rest on a board or plate before you cut into it. As a general rule, the resting time should be half the cooking time. For example, if it takes 10 minutes to cook a steak, let it rest for five minutes.”

AGAINST THE GRAIN: “Always slice meet across the grain to ensure your meat is tender.”

That’s it.

Start your grills and get going.

tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com