The Big Grill

A BBQ feast for Dad this Father’s Day

By Laurie Wallace-Lynch

“Father Knows Best,” as the saying goes, especially when it comes to barbecuing his favourite T-bone steaks or all-beef burgers, but this Father’s Day, surprise Dad by grilling him something truly special and unique! And hey, if it is special enough, Dad may finally forgive you for taking his Corvette out for a joy ride when you were 14!

We asked three top meat purveyors (Woodward Meat Purveyors Inc., Boffo’s Fine Foods, and Not Just Steaks) what they would recommend as a special treat to barbecue for Father’s Day. The unanimous vote was a man-sized tomahawk steak, but there are plenty of other unique choices as well.

“A tomahawk is a true steak lover’s steak!” says Danielle Rose, marketing specialist for Woodward Meat Purveyors in Oakville. “It is essentially a Rib-eye with a five inch or so bone left intact, so the steak resembles a tomahawk axe.  It looks dramatic at the table and the flavour is outrageous. We recommend a reverse-sear method on this one.”

Woodward’s tomahawk steak is U.S. premium Black Angus Beef weighing in at 32 to 36 ounces! This whopper of a steak is meant to be grilled, sliced, and shared family style—how perfect for Father’s Day.

If you want to go all out for Father’s Day, for a special occasion treat, Danielle recommends the American Wagyu from Snake River Farms in Idaho. “This is a great introduction to Wagyu for the consumer—it’s not quite as rich as Japanese Wagyu, but still incredibly marbled with excellent beef flavour. Wagyu beef essentially means ‘Japanese Cow’. Wagyu cattle are generally predispositioned to have an incredible amount of intramuscular marbling. This marbling, synonymous with Japanese Wagyu, creates a rich, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth flavour sensation that sets it apart from other beef.”

Woodward Meats carries Japanese Wagyu along with Australian and American Wagyu. “True Japanese Wagyu is exclusive to Japan, but Snake River Farms have crossbred Japanese Wagyu cattle with Angus cattle and have been inspired by Japanese cattle raising standards. In terms of appearance, it won’t be quite as marbled as Japanese Wagyu (where the meat almost looks pink there is so much marbling) but will be immensely more marbled than traditional North American grades.”

There are a variety of Wagyu cuts available but for Father’s Day, Danielle suggests the Picanha roast. “Picanha is a small, triangular shaped roast that is well loved in the barbecue community,” adds Danielle. “It can be cooked as a roast or we recommend taking inspiration from Brazilian steakhouses and cut them into steaks. The steaks are folded into a horseshoe shape, skewered, and cooked over fire or a barbecue grill. The flavour is exceptional—truly out of this world with juiciness and bold beefy flavour. It’s a bit of a splurge for a typical Sunday night ($175 for two pieces, approximately seven pounds total) that dad will surely appreciate.”

Iberico pork cuts are “the Wagyu of pork”, according to Danielle. “Iberico pork is world renowned and extremely hard to access. They are excellent grilled, and most cuts are quick cooking. Iberico Secreto is the butcher’s secret cut! Very heavily marbled with a nutty, sweet tasting fat; outrageously juicy, tender and flavourful.  It’s marbled like a steak, but unlike any pork you have ever eaten.”

A Spatchcocked chicken presented whole on a large platter is another showstopper meal.  The chicken is split down the back, so it lays flat on a barbecue grill. “We recommend setting half of the burners on a gas grill to high heat, set the chicken skin side up on the cooler side of the grill with the legs facing towards the hot side. Cook on indirect heat until the thickets part of the breast registers at 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Then reduce heat to medium-low, flip the chicken and place on the hotter side of the grill, and cook skin side down to allow the skin to get nice and golden and crispy. Continue cooking until the thickest part of the breast registers 145 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Trusted by top chefs, Woodward Meat Purveyors has been serving the restaurant and hotel industry since 1985. Founded by the father and son team of Ken and Brian Woodward, the family owned business still services the restaurant industry as well as selling direct to consumers from their new location at 2586 Bristol Circle in Oakville.


While Dad is the star of the day on Father’s Day, meat should be the star of the celebration meal says Chef Noel Lourenco, wwner of Boffo’s Fine Foods at 334 Kerr St in Oakville.


“Our Cowboy Frenched ribeye is a big hit as is our huge tomahawk steak and both follow the new trend of sharing meats at the table,” says Chef Lourenco. “You simply season the steak with some Hawaiian pink sea salt and some fresh black pepper and grill until the steak reaches an internal temperature of 120 to 125 degrees Celsius for medium rare or 125 to 135 degrees for medium. We keep it simple and let the flavour of the meat come through.”

Rack of lamb or leg of lamb is a springtime favourite which is ideal for the barbecue.  “Our homemade chicken sausages are extremely popular, and we offer unique flavours like tandoori, rapini and roasted cherry tomato sausages. You might barbecue a mixture of flavours and slice them on a platter to let everyone try a taste or two of each.”

Chef Noel and his wife Heather McGregor own Boffo’s Fine Foods which has a butcher shop, deli, prepared meals, and gourmet food market. Their son Brandon is the butcher. Hint to Brandon – we asked Noel what he might like for dinner on Father’s Day and he immediately answered, ribs!

“I am a huge rib fan!” says Noel. “My way to cook pork ribs is to put them in the oven for an hour and a half with just some salt and pepper, then add your favourite sauce and finish them on the barbecue for 10 to 15 minutes. We make our own barbecue sauces and if someone asks for a certain marinade, sauce or rub, we can make it for them.”

It’s obvious that Chef Noel knows his way around a grill. “My top barbecue secrets would be to make sure your grill is hot enough for whatever it is you are cooking.  Start with a clean and well-oiled grill to prevent food from sticking and season your meat just before you barbecue to retain the moisture in your food.”

Since people are staying home more, barbecuing seems to be the next big hobby. That’s according to Frank DiGenova, wwner of Not Just Steaks at 49 Mississauga Road, just north of Lakeshore. “Many great barbecue chefs are being made in house this year,” says Frank.

As the name suggests, Not Just Steaks offers steaks, other beef cuts, pork, veal, lamb, game meats, seafood and more. Frank is a third-generation butcher who bought his own butcher shop at age 23.

“People love to barbecue a big tomahawk or Tuscan porterhouse steak and present it whole on a big platter—the presentation is everything and definitely creates that wow factor,” says Frank.” Some other cuts that are trending are skirt steak, hangar steak, flat iron steak and flank steak. These cuts are less expensive and need to be marinated, but come out so tender, flavourful and delicious.”

Game meats are wildly popular and something unique to serve for dinner. “I would suggest ostrich steak, venison chops and a bison rib-eye to share.” adds Frank.

He also carries organic salmon filets, cut to any size. “Sear it on the barbecue and then move it to indirect heat for about 10 minutes tops until cooked through.  It’s a real treat.”

A fun thing to do for Father’s Day is to prepare a sampler platter with three or four varieties of game, meat, and poultry. “This way the entire family gets a taste of what they like, while trying something new. Our six ounce Not Just Steak hamburgers made with boneless chuck and brisket continue to be our biggest seller. Add a few of those on a platter and everyone is happy.”