With summer just around the corner, now is the best time to dust the barbecue and fish those tongs out. Many good things happen during summer, with most evenings spent in the backyard in the company of family and friends enjoying freshly grilled steak and a bottle or two of beer. With barbecue on top of the menu, you’ll want to serve nothing but the best. Here are a few tips and tricks to the perfect BBQ.
- Choose the Right Tools for The Job
Do you wish to graduate from a novice to a seasoned BBQ chef? You’ll then need the right tools for the job. First, you’ll need a pair of long-handled tongs. These make moving larger and heavier chunks of meat easily and safe. The long handles reduce your chances of getting nasty burns by keeping your arms away from the grill.
You will also want to invest in a good and accurate temperature probe. The probe makes it easier to measure the internal temperature of your meats to ensure they are cooked through. A herb brush is also required to help brush/add extra flavorings to the cuts. Parsley, thyme, and rosemary make the perfect herb brush for your BBQ. Simply attach these to one end of a wooden spoon, dip the herbs in olive oil, then give your meats a good brush before hitting the grill. A grilling basket is a must-have, especially if working on flatfish or meat. Just secure the fish or meat in the basket and place it over the grill for an even cook. You want to protect your hands from any open flames and heat from the barbecue pit. A pair of barbecue gloves will thus come in handy in such applications and setup. The gloves also make handling hot food, pans, and even rearranging the coals relatively easy.
- Prepare, Prepare and Prepare
Work out how much meat will be needed to feed everyone. Start by allocating a burger, sausage, and lamb skewer per person, then work everything else down. Working out the ingredients and how much will be needed will help ensure everyone has their fill with very little to no leftovers. Most of the leftovers can make for an easy mid-week or weekend meal. You, however, want to be careful with fish and burgers, for they don’t keep well. However, steak, chicken, and chops can be kept for a few more days without going stale. Skewers and sausages make for excellent snacks for young children and will most definitely do with adults.
Condiments and sides are also key, which is why you need to make cheeses, pies, cold meats, and salads readily available. You can borrow a few ideas from our wide selection of condiments ranging from peppercorn sauce to mustard and horseradish for steaks.
- Marinate Your Meats
Marinate your cuts to give them the extra flavor. While you can choose to keep it simple and marinate your meats for a few minutes, it would be advisable to let your cuts marinate overnight. This allows the flavors to permeate meat fibers evenly, producing excellent results. You may choose to marinate the meats yourself or order pre-marinated ones from your preferred supplier. We have a variety of pre-marinated cuts from the fiery Piri Piri Chicken drumsticks/wings, chicken Thighs, and Teriyaki Beef Kebabs. Although pre-marinates, you’ll want to remove excess marinade off the cuts before placing them in the grill. Too much marinade on the meat might cause it to flare or burn, producing an undesired smoky flavor.
- Avoid Fridge Chill
Always let the raw meat or fish rest for at least 20 minutes before placing it on the grill. Letting the cuts lose their chill, or at least get to room temperature, makes it easier for the meats/fish to cook through. Taking the meats out of the fridge and placing them directly on the grill only cause it to cook unevenly, which very high chances of burning. That said, allow your meats to reach room temperature before grilling, and ensure they reach the recommended internal temperature before serving or taking off the grill. This is particularly important with sausages, chicken, fish, and any cuts of pork.
- Choose Your Charcoal
Your choice of charcoal will have a significant impact on the quality of the barbecue. Matters heat production, lump charcoal, is easy to light but only burn for around an hour, and a good choice for many types of meat. On the other hand, Briquettes take longer to light and burn at a consistent temperature for up to 3 hours. Briquettes are thus perfect for grilling roasting joints. Charcoal also makes the perfect choice if looking to infuse different flavors to your meats. This, of course, depends on the tree used to make the charcoal. Oaktree charcoal releases smoky caramel tones while orange wood charcoal produces a marmalade flavor, excellent for turkey, chicken, and duck meats. You can also add oak wood chips (soaked in water) on the hot coals to add an oaky flavor to your cuts as well. Other options to consider include hickory and applewood chips.
- Choose Between Direct and Indirect Cooking Methods
Direct cooking is commonly preferred for thin cuts such as fish, burgers, steaks, and burgers that can be placed over direct heat. The direct heat provides high temperatures, which create the perfect condition for a great meaty texture and flavor. Indirect cooking is the exact opposite; the source of heat is farther away from the meats, resulting in a slower but more even cook. You can thus use your barbecue as an oven, where a drip tray is placed under the grill (between the coals). Indirect cooking produces more flavorful meats but takes a lot longer for the meat to be ready.