Toronto Butcher Matthew Kumprey shares his best BBQ tips for Canada Day

By Jordana Colomby

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The warm weather has arrived just in time for the long weekend. And that can only mean one thing: BBQ!

Written by Jordana Colomby

Canada Day is a big deal for Butcher Matthew Kumprey, head butcher at The Butcher’s Son. It’s a time for family, a time for relaxing, and (most of all), a time for BBQ. “My cousins and I have been celebrating together for years with our own family rib fest. Pork ribs, Miami style beef ribs, we grill it all,” he says. Each year the family gets creative and experiments with new marinades and new flavours, and this year is no different. Grilling outside on a perfect Canadian summer day is really about savouring the country’s small bits of warm weather and sunshine. “Canadian winters seem to drag on forever. So, after months of cold and snow, there is nothing better than getting outside to finally enjoy the great outdoors – we’ve earned it!”

In order to make the most out of the long weekend and the gorgeous weather, Kumprey has some tips and tricks for BBQ novices as well as longtime grill masters who want to try something new.

Check out Matthew Kumprey’s BBQ tips:

  1. Looks aren’t everything.

    The look of a piece of meat doesn’t tell the whole story. It might look nice – deep red colouring and marbling are great visual cues – but age matters too. The length of time meat has been aged can’t be seen by just looking at it. Instead, ask your butcher for something that’s been aged for 4-6 weeks.

  2. Think beyond premium cuts.

    Don’t feel like you have to go with a premium cut of meat, like rib eye or striploin, to impress guests. There’s a number of less expensive cuts of meats that are surprisingly flavourful and perfect for grilling. Kumprey would choose a skirt steak and season it simply with salt and pepper and then sear on the grill at a high heat for just a few minutes.

  3. Practice patience. 

    To get that perfect sear, make sure your grill is preheated and try to avoid moving the meat around too much. And although it’s tempting to dig in right off the grill, don’t forget to let your meat rest for at least 5-10 minutes – this is key to keeping it nice and juicy.

  4. The perfect pairing.

    Unexpected as it may sound, Kumprey’s perfect wine to pair with any grilled meat is Zinfandel. Zin’s full-bodied flavours are the perfect complement to any type of grilled meat, whether it’s steaks, sausages or burgers. It offers a world of undiscovered flavours. Opt for Ravenswood Zinfandel, boasting of big, bold flavours and ripened, dark berry fruit. For an even bigger punch,  Kumprey suggests layering flavours with a Ravenswood Zinfandel marinade. Kumprey’s recipe includes the wine, blueberries, honey, thyme, some salt and pepper and vegetable oil. And he suggests using it on ribs, skirt, bavette, or flank steaks. (See recipe below)

  5. An unexpected finish. 

    Using a squeeze of fresh lemon as a finisher is common when preparing fish, but it’s a great trick for steaks as well. The acidity will bring out the flavours in the meat, adding an unexpected touch of finesse.

Ravenswood Marinade:

BBQYields approximately 1 litre


  • 2 cups Ravenswood Zinfandel wine
  • 2 pints, blueberries
  • 1 ½ cups honey
  • ½ bunch fresh thyme, chopped
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil


1. Add all of the ingredients in a bowl or food grade plastic container, except the oil.
2. Use a hand-held immersion blender and carefully blend all ingredients together.
3. Slowly add the oil and emulsify.
4. Submerge ribs or choice of meat in the marinade.
5. Let meat rest in the marinade for approximately 18-24 hours.
6. Remove meat from bowl and grill on high heat for a few minutes on each side. Char the meat – the sugars from the marinade will create a nice caramelized texture.