Don’t be afraid to fire up the barbecue yourself; a few little tips and you’ll be a pro. There’s no reason why a BBQ has to be a man’s domain. Here are a few tips that will have you grilling and charring your way to becoming a BBQueen!
Preparing the barbecue
Before the day of using the barbecue check that you have enough gas to get you through the next use. If not, replace the gas bottle at your nearest service station.
On the day, clean the barbecue plate and grill bars and check the drip tray underneath to ensure it is free from fat (from previous use) or old debris so that it doesn’t catch on fire during this use.
Have some essential tools nearby ready to use such as tongs, forks, knives, an egg flip, oil, seasonings, paper towels and spare plates to transfer the cooked food. You might also like to consider having a timer or watch handy if you’re cooking food to a specific time.
When cooking meat on a barbecue you want to prepare the meat with seasonings or at least some salt and pepper.
The Heart Foundation’s BBQ & Grill cookbook suggests that when you cook meat “for best results always pre-heat the grill or pan. Brush meat with oil, rather than putting oil in the pan (or on the barbecue pan or grill). Add meat and cook to your liking without turning too often.”
Generally with beef and lamb, you want to sear it at first on a high heat and then move it to a part of the plate or grill that has a lower temp to finish cooking. With pork, always try to cook it on a medium heat to avoid drying it out.
The best kind of beef to barbecue is steak (rump, sirloin, blade, T-bone and rib-eye are popular choices). If you want to use a lean cut of beef it is best cooked in a kebab style for a minimal amount of time. When it comes to lamb, go for cutlets or a steak like topside or round. For pork, try chops, steaks or cutlets.
Don’t forget to let your meat rest for 10 minutes after taking it off the barbecue so that the juices can settle (avoiding bloody juices when cutting and eating).
Generally speaking, seafood varieties like fish, squid and prawns are delicate to cook. So, you want to perfect these on the barbecue plate with a bit of oil, not the grill where pieces can get stuck to the bars and/or tear when you try to move it. Also, cook it on a medium heat, don’t turn it around too much and take it off when it is a minute close to being done as the heat will continue cooking the seafood when it is moved to a plate.
When cooking vegetables on the barbecue always go for the hot plate as it is easier to turn, whereas small pieces can fall through the grill. If you do want the char marks on your vegetables, skewer them on satay sticks, oil the vegetable and then place it on the grill bars.