Well it’s that time again when the sun ‘tries’ to shine and we wheel out the BBQ. To help you make the most of BBQ season I’ve dug up a few interesting articles about barbecuing, from top tips on avoiding BBQ pitfalls, to how to prepare you BBQ and a few safety tips so you can enjoy your al fresco dining.
1 You don’t light the barbecue early enough
It takes about 30min to light a barbecue and wait for it to be at a cookable temperature. Don’t wait for your guests to show up to get started. Light it early, start cooking whenever the coals are ready and keep the barbecued food warm in a low oven, covered loosely with foil, if necessary.
2 You put the food on when you’ve lit the barbecue
Putting on meat when you’ve first lit the barbecue will lead to scorched outsides and raw insides. Aside from steaks or quick cooking chops, everything else (like sausages and chicken drumsticks) are best put on when the flames have died down and the embers are white.
3 You don’t cook things for long enough
The meat might look done, but it could still be raw on the inside, so make sure it stays on the BBQ for long enough, otherwise you risk food poisoning. Use a digital thermometer to check the internal temperature (65°C for pork and beef and 70°C for chicken).
4 You aren’t precooking when you should
Some things, like sausages, benefit from cooking beforehand to keep them juicy. The other option is to start things on the barbecue, then transfer them to baking tray and put them in the oven to finish of cooking.
5 You’re cooking things for too long
Don’t char things to oblivion – no one likes a dry burger.
6 You’re not using the BBQ to its full potential
Barbecues aren’t just for meat. Wrap potatoes in foil and put directly on the embers whilst everything else cooks. You can also bake fruit in a similar way or grill it directly on the bars.
7 You’re not prepping beforehand
You can’t manage a barbecue whilst you’re chopping things or looking for the tongs. Get all your sides and salads sorted and in their serving dishes, then cover and chill, if needed. Assemble all your equipment beforehand. Make sure not to touch cooked food with utensils and crockery that were used for raw meat. Have separate and discernible equipment, trays and plates to hand for handling/putting cooked food on.
8 You’re cutting your halloumi the wrong way
It’s a veggie barbecue classic, but halloumi is a pesky thing to cook on the grill. Those little slices fall apart then slip through the bars and are gone forever. There’s a better way: instead of cutting across the block, cut horizontally through it into four equal slices. They don’t go to pieces and you can serve them as a burger alternative, or you can cut it into smaller pieces after grilling.
9 You’re not barbecuing the buns
A spell toasting the cut side of a bread roll over the coals gives extra flavour.
10 You’re not seasoning properly
Whether it’s veg or meat, it needs to be seasoned, either with salt and pepper or a spiced rub (ground cumin and coriander work well).
11 And finally…you’re not spending any time with your guests
The point of a barbecue is as much about the social occasion it is about the food. Don’t overstretch yourself by trying to make too much. One to two meat dishes, a veggie option, a couple of sides, some bread and some drinks are all you really need.
Read the full article at: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/uk/food/a576609/barbecue-tips/
Simple steps to get the best out of your charcoal barbecue. Learn how to light the BBQ safely, ways to arrange your coals and when to start cooking.
1 Set up in an open space
You are making a contained fire, so set up your barbecue in an open space away from fences or trees. Have a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water nearby and keep kids and pets well away. Use long-handled tongs and proper barbecue equipment with insulated handles, or you may burn yourself.
2 Buy good-quality charcoal
Try and buy good-quality sustainably produced charcoal – look for charcoal made from coppiced wood or Forestry Commission-approved wood. This lights easily, burns better and won’t taint the flavour of the food, unlike charcoals containing accelerants.
3 Use a chimney starter (I can personally vouch for these; they are brill and have made our BBQ’ing sooooo much easier)
Using one of these tubular starters means you can light charcoal easily with a few sheets of newspaper – the coals will catch and start glowing quickly and easily. A chimney also protects the coals (and you) on a windy day. Once the coals are ready, you can safely and easily tip them into the barbecue.
4 If you don’t have a chimney, arrange your charcoal in a stack
Push balls of newspaper or natural firelighters (such as wood shavings or wool) between the charcoals. Light the paper and firelighters and allow the flames to catch and get going in their own time. Then let them die down again – all you’re going to achieve with flames is burnt food. You need ashen coals to cook on.
When a few coals have been lit, the rest will catch on their own, so don’t hurry them along by adding more firelighters. If the heat is starting to die down as you barbecue, add coals to the outside of the barbecue and leave them to flame up and die down before cooking over them.
5 Know whether you need direct or indirect heat before you start to cook
How you arrange your coals will give you different heat zones and more control over your barbecue.
6 Learn to recognise when your coals are ready
If you try to cook something when the coals aren’t ready, it may overcook or burn – it’s not a risk worth taking. Use our colour code guide to help decide when to start cooking your food:
7 Use a thermometer
Testing the temperature of your food helps to prevent disasters.
Read the full article at: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-light-bbq
Read the full article at: https://www.fireservice.co.uk/safety/barbecue/
All we need now is some sunshine, or a least a brave soul with a brolly, and get out there and get barbecuing.