BBQ Tips for this Summer

Barbecue season is finally here. It’s time to invite your family and friends over and enjoy a nice juicy steak and some sausages around a smoking barbecue. Perhaps some tips before you get started could help you impress your mates and give you a good start. Because let’s face it – most of us are terrible barbecuers.

Get the right barbecue

Your burner needs two very crucial things if you want to make great barbecue food. The first thing is, it has to be a charcoal one. Gas barbecues are also great, but you won’t get any extra smoky flavour. It would be as if you were cooking in the oven, flavour-wise. The second important thing you need is a lid. It locks in flavour, keeps the temperature constant and can be used as an extra technique.

Use the right fuel

The charcoal you use changes the way your food tastes. It is very important that you know about the different types of charcoal that you use in order to give the taste that you want. DJ BBQ, author of “Food Tube’s BBQ Book” recommends lumpwood charcoal – the stuff that looks like burnt tree – because it will give the best flavour. It’s unadulterated and natural. If you wish to go to the next level, try adding some wood chips to your charcoal. Hickory and oak go very well with fish and pork, while cheer and apple wood add a sweetness to most meats.

Wait for the right moment to cook

A lot of patience and concentration is required when barbecuing. Before you start cooking, you must wait for the flames to die down, meaning that the coals need to be grey and glowing. That is when the heat is at its hottest and evenest

Get the temperature bang on

It is very important that you control the heat just like an over. DJ BBQ says the best way to test the heat is with your hand. Hold your hand about 12cm above the grill and see how long you can hold it there comfortably.

  • 6 seconds = low heat
  • 4 seconds = medium heat
  • 2 seconds = in DJ’s words “hotter than a goat’s butt in a chilli pepper patch”
  • 0 seconds = Hospital. Now.

In order to be able to control the temperature across the grill is to put all the coals to one side, so that you have an extremely hot side and one with no direct heat.

Get the best tools

If you wish to avoid any accidents, such as losing a sausage down a grill or flipping a burger over the edge, you need to get the best tools. This means you need to get yourself a descent fish slice, a heavy-duty oven glove and perhaps even a fish grill. However, the most important tool that you must have is a decent pair of tongs – they are the ones that give you the most control and reduce the chances of dropping anything between the grills.

Fish is great on barbecue

Yes, it is true. When most of us think of barbecue we immeditely think of “meat”. But let’s not forget that a nice fish on the grill tastes as amazing as meat does! Think of smoked salmon! You could try slice a whole fish open and stuff with lemon, dill and pepper. You will be surprised.

Marinade, marinade, keep marinading!!

If you are thinking of having a barbecue, you must always marinade your meat at least a few hours before, but ideally over night. Then save some marinade for when you cook and brush your meat or fish every 10 minutes. That way as it cooks, it will add moisture, trap the smoke flavour and caramelise gently as it goes.

Don’t forget the vegetables

Vegetables on the grill taste amazing too, if you get the technique right. What you really need is that lovely charring along the bars – not only does it looks amazing, but it tastes even better. Slice those vegetables thin, then grill them straight away – no oil, no seasoning needed. You can choose to add seasonings such as olive oil or vinegar once the cooking is done.

Get the sides right

If you want to have a balanced meal, sides should also be one of your priorities when organizing a barbecue.        You could go for a classic potato salad, or a nice fresh mozarella salad. Any greens, beans or even couscous would do the trick.


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