Take Your BBQ To The Next Level – Nine Tips
A great BBQ is quite the art, and far from easy. Here are some tips for how to barbecue like a pro and create the perfect grill!
How To Barbecue Like A Pro For The Perfect Grill
Arranging your charcoal in a 2-zone set-up will give you more flexibility and control over your cooking. Piling the charcoal over to one side of your barebcue will give you a hot side for searing meat and a cooler side for finishing the cooking process. You can also position a pan of water on the cool side which will absorb heat and radiate it back, controlling temperature fluctuations, as well as helping to keep the meat moist by reducing evaporation.
2.Clean & Oil your Grill
The best time to clean your barbecue is once it’s lit and heating up. Use a wire brush to remove the charred remains of previous meals. Once you’ve got a clean grill you can oil it using a vegetable oil-soaked piece of kitchen towel to reduce sticking.
Marinades can make a big difference to the taste and texture of meat. Not only will learning the art of marinating add untold amounts of flavour to your barbecue creations, but it will also help you achieve juicier, tender meat, and help you get the most from cheaper, tougher cuts. Opinions will inevitably differ when it comes to what works best. However, marinades usually contain either an acid (such as lemon juice, vinegar or wine) or dairy (such as yoghurt). Both will begin to break down tissue in the outer layer, tenderizing the meat and allowing more moisture in. However, it is important to add flavour to your marinades as well. Oils, spices, herbs and seasonings will all improve your end result. Time-wise, the longer the better! If running tight, prick the meat and leave in the marinade for as long as possible in a sealed freezer bag, massaging every now and then.
4.Get organised & Be en place
Preparation is the key and having everything good to go well before you start cooking is well worth it. Have you got enough space? How will you keep cooked and raw meat separate? Got the right tools? Meat marinated and removed from the fridge?
5.Sides & Sauces
A good selection of side dishes is arguably as important as the main event for putting on a memorable barbecue. From potato salad to frittata; corn-on-the-cob to guacamole; broad bean salad to coleslaw; the possibilities and variations are endless. For something a little different, try a delicious spicy potato salad with Gran Luchito Chipotle Mayo.
6.Different Temperatures for Different Needs
How to barbecue should depend on what you are cooking. Expensive cuts of beef like sirloin, rib-eye or fillet steaks are best cooked quickly at very high temperatures, searing the outer layer and maximising flavour without over-cooking. High temperatures won’t be so helpful when trying to cook things like chicken or sausages, which have a tendency to burn on the outside and remain raw inside. Take your time and utilise different temperature zones on the grill to ensure a nice even cook.
BBQing with a lid opens up a whole new world of slow cooking possibilities. Image courtesy of Robert S. Donovan
7.Experiment with slow and low
The technique of cooking meat slowly at lower temperatures is one which will produce tender, more succulent results from tougher, cheaper cuts. Although the average home BBQer doesn’t have access to a smoker (designed for low & slow cooking), there are ways that a normal grill-style BBQ can be used to the same effect. This obviously requires a bit more time and effort, but the results are worth it. Setting-up to establish different cooking zones and using water containers will give you a lot more control. Check out our article on the subject: Hack your BBQ: How to turn a BBQ into a smoker
Isn’t it nice when you get those perfect grill lines on your steak in a restaurant? Why not give it a go yourself? The trick is to sear your meat, chicken or vegetables at a high temperature then turn at right angles. Once you’ve done this on both sides, you can reduce the heat and cook through.
Meat will benefit massively from a resting period between cooking and eating.
This is a very important stage of cooking meat and without it meat will be tough. Once cooked, all meat will benefit from about 5-10 minutes ‘resting’ to allow reabsorption of juices. Remember that meat will continue to cook for a while after it’s taken off the heat during the resting period.