Think outside the box: forget the burgers and get creative

Beat the heat this summer and learn how to use your outdoor barbecue to prepare fish, chicken and cakes.

Cedar Planked Salmon

Cooking salmon on cedar imparts a special flavour that enhances the sweet salmon taste.

  • 1 untreated cedar plank 8 x 16 inch (20 x 40 cm)
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. soya sauce 125 mL
  • 1 c. lemon juice 250 mL
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 1 lemon, cut into 1/2 inch (1 cm) slices
  • 4 fillets of salmon

Untreated cedar planks are often available in grocery stores or where barbecues are sold

Soak cedar planks for a minimum of two hours in cold water prior to cooking. At the same time, prepare the salmon and marinade. Check the fillets for any lingering pin bones and remove with a pair of tweezers, if necessary.
Prepare marinade by combining maple syrup, soy sauce, lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir or shake to mix. Put fillets in a sealable plastic bag, add marinade, seal and refrigerate for two hours.
Preheat barbecue to medium high. Lay fillets on soaked cedar and top each fillet with a slice of lemon. Discard marinade. Place plank directly on barbecue grill and cook for approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until salmon reaches an internal temperature of 158 F (70 C). Serve salmon directly from plank with a fresh salad. Do not reuse cedar plank for cooking.

Asian barbecued chicken thighs

  • 12-16 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp. coconut or canola oil 15 mL
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar 125 mL
  • 2 tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. white wine 30 mL
  • 1/4 c. soya sauce 60 mL
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup 30 mL
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. Chinese five spice 1 mL
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. cold water 15 mL
  • green onions

Preheat barbecue to medium high.
Take two pieces of heavy tin foil about 18 inches (44 cm) long. Place one on top of the other, dull side to the bottom on a cookie sheet. Rub the oil over the top piece. Lay the chicken pieces on top of the oiled foil.
Mix ingredients for the sauce except the cornstarch, water and green onion. Fold the ends of the foil over the chicken, folding the foil over two or three times to seal. Repeat with one side to seal. Pour the sauce into the unsealed side and carefully fold to seal.

At the barbecue, carefully slide foil wrapped chicken onto the preheated grill. Close the lid on the barbecue and cook for 40 minutes. Return the foil package to the cookie sheet and carefully open, remove the chicken and return to the barbecue to brown, turning once.
Pour the sauce into a pan. Mix the cornstarch and cold water until blended, add to the sauce and heat to thicken sauce. Place chicken on a platter, pour sauce over and garnish with chopped green onions. Serve with rice and a fresh salad. Serves four.

Molten lava chocolate surprise dessert

  • 4 oz. Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate squares 115 g
  • 1/2 c. butter 125 mL
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 c. icing sugar 250 mL
  • 1/3 c. flour 75 mL
  • 1/4 c. smooth peanut butter 60 mL
  • ice cream

Preheat barbecue to medium high, about 425 F (220 C).
Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on high for 30 second intervals until butter is melted. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Whisk whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar and flour in separate bowl until blended. Gradually add to chocolate mixture, beating after each addition until well blended.
Place parchment paper muffin liners in 12 cup muffin pan.<
Using half of the batter, place a small scoop in the bottom of each muffin cup. Top with one-half teaspoon (2 mL) of peanut butter. Use the balance of the batter to add on top of the peanut butter. Prepare to this point ahead of time and refrigerate, for up to 24 hours.
Place on the hot barbecue, just prior to serving, close the lid and bake eight minutes or until cakes are firm around the edges but soft in the centre. Remove from grill and let stand one minute. Carefully remove cakes from pan. Invert one onto each dessert dish, remove paper liner.
Serve with ice cream. A slice can be made in each cake to allow the molten lava to flow out.
Peanut butter can be omitted. Serves 12, but recipe can halved. Adapted from

Orange Mint Slush

Here’s a great fresh mint summer cooler to enjoy while cooking.

  • 2 c. sugar 500 mL
  • 6 c. water 1.5 L
  • 1/2 c. fresh whole mint leaves 125 mL
  • 2 cans frozen orange juice concentrate 283 mL
  • 283 mL can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 6 c. club soda 1.5 L
  • sprigs of fresh mint

Place three cups (750 mL) water, sugar and mint leaves into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer two minutes. Remove from heat and cool one hour. Strain liquid into a four quart (4 litre) non-metal freezer container.
Add remaining water, orange and lemon juice concentrates and mix well to blend. Freeze to a slush consistency. To serve, remove from freezer 30 minutes then spoon about 2/3 cup (150 mL) of mixture into a glass, add 1/3 cup (75 mL) club soda and a sprig of mint. Serve with a straw. Yields 14 cups (3.5 litres). Adapted from

Reader request

A reader is looking for a Salvadorian cream recipe. If you have one, please send to TEAM Resources at or Box 2500, Saskatoon, Sask., S7K 2C4.

What are some of your favourite picnic foods and memories? Share them with us at at or Box 2500, Saskatoon, Sask., S7K 2C4. We will add your name to a draw that will be made Aug. 31 for a picnic hamper.

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact:

About the author


Stories from our other publications