BBQ Tips From George Siu of Memphis Blues

Get grilling with barbecue enthusiast and Memphis Blues' co-owner, George Siu

Credit: iStock

Check out these grilling tips and then put another [insert your favourite meat here] on the barbie

Sure, sun and sand are requisites on the summertime hit list, but for the meat lover, the season hasn’t truly started until you’ve thrown a beautiful cut of meat on a flaming grill. We asked George Siu, co-owner of barbecue mecca Memphis Blues, to share his expertise with the rest of us.


George Siu and the Memphis Blues crew will be participating in this summer’s Brewery & the Beast event, a.k.a. the Festival of Meat. Barbecue seems like a good fit, right? Sunday, July 27 @ Concord Pacific Lot on False Creek.

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Gas Versus Charcoal

“One isn’t better than the other. Gas is certainly way more convenient – you fire it up and away you go. It’s easier to control the heat and it’s more consistent. But with charcoal, the flavour is sensational. You can’t discount that. It’s fabulous.”

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Tools of the Trade

“Everyone should have a good set of tongs to grill with. Everybody loves to use a fork to poke their meat and turn it. Never do that, because as soon as you poke it, all the juices come out. Use tongs. Also, if you’re using charcoal, get a good set of gloves. You’re going to get your hands dirty.”

The Perfect Steak

“My favourite kind of steak for barbecuing is the rib-eye – great fat content – that’s what you want. I want to taste that piece of meat. Make sure your grill is as hot as it can be before you fire your steak on it. A lot of people like medium rare, so you want to have a good sear on the outside that locks in all the juices but leaves it nice and pink in the middle. I put the steak on and then turn it side to side to get the grill marks. For a one-and-a-half-inch thick steak, I do about five minutes each side and I only turn it once.” 

Credit: Flickr/Mike

Knowing When Your Steak is Done

“Here’s a tip: you know that little part of flesh between your thumb and forefinger? Relax your hand and squeeze that – that’s a rare steak. Tighten it slightly and you’ll feel a little resistance – that’s medium rare. Make a fist so it feels super hard – that’s well done.”

Credit: Flickr/Mike

Injecting is for Cheaters

“I’m not a big fan of injecting and I never do it. I know they allow it in competitions, but that’s really like cheating. You should be able to take a tough cut of meat and turn it into something tender and delicious. That’s where the skill comes in.”

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To Boil or Not to Boil Ribs

“No – sacrilege! If you boil ribs, all the beautiful flavour and fat is seeping right out into the water. Instead, do warm, slow heat or indirect heat. For a rack of five ribs (1.5 to two lbs./.45 kg to .68 kg), grill for about two hours. Then wrap with heavy-duty tinfoil and put back on for another half-hour so the juices really tenderize [the meat]. Forget about boiling. The trick for ribs is patience, having the right rub and doing it right.”

Put these tips to use with George Siu’s All-Purpose Dry Rub recipe.