Arterra Wines Canada shares Matthew Kumprey’s Blueberry Miami Rib Marinade.

We know the warm, summer weather hails the beginning of grilling season. And, every night beginning around 6 p.m., the mouthwatering smells of the BBQ begin wafting through local neighbourhoods. In fact, research shows that 79% of Canadians prefer outdoor grilling to indoor cooking. But, before you break out your next steak, there are a few trade secrets that will help to achieve great grilling. We asked butcher Matthew Kumprey from Toronto’s The Butcher’s Son to share his BBQ 411:

1. It’s not all about the look. Choosing meat based on the look – think deep red colouring and marbling, both strong visual cues – doesn’t tell the whole story. Age also matters. However, the length of time meat has been aged can’t be seen by eye. Instead, ask your butcher for something that’s been aged for four to six weeks. The ageing process helps to break down the meat, resulting in a better texture and flavour.

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. Matt’s pick? A skirt steak – seasoned simply with salt and pepper and then seared 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 avoid moving the meat around. 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, Matt’s pick for a wine to pair with any grilled meat is Zinfandel. Zin’s full-bodied flavours are the perfect complement to any type of grilled meat – be it steaks, sausages or burgers – offering a world of undiscovered flavours. Opt for Ravenswood Zinfandel, boasting of big, bold flavours and ripened, dark berry fruit. For an even bigger punch, try layering flavours with a Ravenswood Zinfandel marinade.

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.

And you’re in luck because Kumprey is sharing his favourite summer marinade recipe below, incorporating Ravenswood Zinfandel and the classic taste of Canadian summer… blueberries.

Ravenswood Blueberry Miami Rib Marinade

By Matthew Kumprey, Butcher’s Son

The freshness of the blueberries, sweetness of the honey and bold flavours from the Ravenswood Zinfandel makes this marinade a surefire hit for summer grilling. And don’t feel confined to using this for ribs alone. I’ve also used it to add a punch of flavour to other cuts of meat including skirt, bavette and flank steak. – Matthew Kumprey

Yields approximately 1 litre


  • 2 cups Ravenswood Zinfandel wine
  • 2 pints of 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 into 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 your 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.

Arterra Wines Canada is a Good Food Fighter. Please support the businesses and organizations that support Good Food Revolution.