It’s the same situation in Italy, they are obsessed with living outside like us. As soon as it is possible, cafe tables are moved outdoors with restaurant patrons closing in any small patch of sun and spontaneous BBQ parties just start happening.
Most Italians BBQ over wood fires, and while they are more complicated than flipping the switch on a gas grill, the results are way much more tastier. Definitely, you can throw some wood chips onto the gas or charcoal grill, but you will never get the taste that comes from using a 100% wood fire.
When I think about Italian food the first image that comes to my mind is steaks and other meats. The Italians have been raising some of the best beef in the world for generations. For instance, Chianina cattle is a reputed breed raised in Tuscany and from which the legendary Tuscan Steaks comes from. This beef is packed with flavor and has a reputation as being some of the best in the world. You probably can't find it in Montreal but that should not stop you from grilling up a traditional Italian steak. The secret is to keep it very simple and to season the steak with a little lemon juice before you grill it. Then serve the steak with a little drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. The lemon juice will add a little flavor but also help keep the meat tender.
Now what about Spiedini, Speducci and arrosticini. Basically, they are different names for the same thing: little morsels of meat on a stick cooked over charcoal. Not long ago, I disovered that spiedini is surging back in popularity as an Italian street food as well as a novelty BBQ item. They are great for party food reunions and can also make for a quick dinner.
Spiedini is closely associated with the gastronomical culture of Abruzzo.The recipe is made from high quality lamb’s meat that is sliced thinly and skewered before it is cooked on hot charcoal. Traditionally, spiedini are not marinated and are dressed with just a pinch of salt and a drizzle with olive oil after being cooked. A few dips that complement spiedini are: rosemary and mint with olive oil and lemon, parsley gremolata with parsley, olive oil, chili flakes and lemon zest, or lemon with oregano and olive oil.
A sound advice: When grilling in a bbq, You only have to keep in mind the right marinade and not to over char the meat. When pairing wine with your grilled foods, too much char can leave your wine tasting bitter, which is something that you don't want with your nice wine.
Red Wines for your Italian BBQ
Luigi Righetti Primo 2016 ( SAQ # 13486020, $17.65)
Aromas of roasted espresso beans, wild mint and fig jam. On the mouth, medium body and fruit forward with flavors of fieldberry jam. A finale that brings to mind tanned leather and old wood. Pair it with grilled salsiccia with peppers and onions.
Torre Quarto Sangue Blu Negroamaro 2014 ( SAQ # 10675922, $18.15
Very pleasant notes of ripe dark fruits with mocha and licorice. Fruity with smooth and silky tannins and a lingering finale that invites you to have a second glass. Pair it with Bistecca alla Griglia ( rib eye steak ).
Tenuta Sant'Antonio Monti Garbi 2015 ( SAQ # 10859855, $19.05)
Luscious scent of red berry fruit with pleasant herbaceous undertones like eucalyptus complemented by coffee liqueur. On the mouth, is rich and round with ripe tannins and a slightly oaky finale. Pair it with grilled veal heart spiedini.
Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico 2015 ( SAQ # 13426001, $24.00)
Generous with aromas of ripe black cherry, leather and roasted fieldberries. Floral, spicy and earthy as well. On the mouth, long with notes of fig and coffee complemented by church incense. Medium acidity with caressing tannins and a long finale bringing to mind blackcurrants. Pair it with grilled lamb chops with garlic and rosemary.