Everyone loves a BBQ and I’ve cooked more than you can shake a stick at. Here are my top tips to make your fiery festivities a success.
Get Well Oiled Before You Begin
Before and after every session you should clean and oil your grill. Get it nice and hot to burn off any crud then, using tongs, rub over with a kitchen towel dipped in a light cooking oil. This keeps your grill hygienic as well as helping prevent food from sticking to the bars.
Set Up a 2-Zone / Indirect Cooking Area
Set up your BBQ so you have two cooking zones, one directly over the flames for searing, the other cooler to allow the meat to cook through indirectly. You can cook anything from sausages and burgers through to whole joints of meat this way. With a charcoal grill just pile your coals to one side. With a gas grill keep the burners medium-high on one side and low-off on the other.
Slow things down, relax….
True BBQ takes time and patience. The meat is done, when it’s done – don’t try and rush things. When grilling, learn to control your fire and keep the heat consistent. Keep a spritz bottle full of water handy and douse down flames that start getting out of hand.
Don’t fiddle and poke
And definitely don’t squeeze. Once you’ve put the meat on the grill just leave it. Your should only turn once or twice through cooking. Squashing burgers and steaks down on the grill just squeezes out all the lovely the juice and causes flare ups.
Don’t get Saucy Until the End.
BBQ sauces and glazes have a high sugar content that will burn very quickly and go bitter. Cook your meat through and then glaze/sauce towards the end and allow to go sticky over indirect heat.
Check for Done-ness
Overcooking is as sinful as undercooking. Invest in a good instant read thermometer so you know the exact temperature of the meat and takes away the guesswork. You’ll always know the chicken is cooked through and you’ll be able to serve up the perfect medium rare steak.
Play With Smoke
Smoke is a seasoning so learn to add subtle smoke flavour to your food. Wrap woodchips up in a couple of layers of thick foil and pierce a few times before throwing onto the grill over the gas burners. With a charcoal BBQ, just throw the chips straight onto the coals and close the lid. Our favourite woods to smoke with are cherry, pecan and hickory.
Learn to Give a Damn Good Rub
Meat benefits from a generous seasoning prior to cooking. This base rub will work well particularly on pork and chicken. Use this is a start point to develop your own according to the flavours you enjoy.
- 4 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon celery salt or garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons chilli powder
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper or chipotle
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and store in an air tight container.