Posted in: Lifestyle
Top Five BBQ TipsIf you’ve been enjoying the sunshine like we have over the past week or so, your thoughts will have more than likely turned to the great summer ritual of the barbecue. There’s no better way to make the most of the warm evenings than having a few friends over, enjoying a few drinks, and feasting on chargrilled meat (okay, so a bit of salad is allowed). It’s easy to host a barbecue, but to host a great barbecue is a little more difficult. By following these few simple steps however, you can ensure that your barbecuing has them coming back for more…
Lose your coolAhead of throwing any prime cuts onto the barbecue, make sure you give raw meat enough time to lose its chill and acclimatise to room temperature (approximately 21°C). Doing this prevents uneven cooking – if meat, chicken, fish or even veg is too cold internally , the outside may burn before the inside is fully cooked. A bit of chargrill residue adds to the flavour certainly, but undercooked meats can cause all sorts of upsets and your guests won’t be pleased if they’re unable to leave the bathroom the following day.
Get fresh at the weekendBarbecues happen in the summer, right? Farmers markets and supermarkets’ promotional pushes on seasonal fruit and veg also happen in the summer, yes? You can see where we’re going with this one. Use the opportunity to load up on great, fresh ingredients both to slap on to the grill and work into salads and accompaniments. Fresh and colourful are the watchwords, so fill your trolley with sweetcorn, courgettes, Cavolo nero, celeriac, artichokes, cranberries, pomegranates, gooseberries and red current. Always make sure you thoroughly wash fresh produce before eating it though – that way you’ll protect yourself from any nasties and rid their surfaces of pesticides.
Come on baby, light my fireA good barbecue trick is to indulge in a little light grilling before your guests arrive – that way, your arriving guests will get a tantalising blast of sizzling meat to get them salivating in anticipation of what’s in store. It’s also useful for ensuring you can get the charcoal going and sufficiently hot to start cooking when the time comes. To start the flames a burnin’ without using firelighters, scrunch up 3-4 newspaper pages and place in the barbecue beneath the grill, topped with a generous handful of kindling. Place a few lumps of charcoal on top then light the paper, adding more charcoal when the wood takes. Your barbecue is ready to use for grilling when the smoke has gone and the embers are glowing.
Done dealWe’ve all heard horror stories involving food poisoning from barbecues so make sure you don’t fall foul of food-borne illnesses by cooking things thoroughly. Different meats require cooking to different temperatures to ensure they’re ‘done’ enough – check out our useful info-card to find out how to safely barbecue poultry, ground meat, steaks, chops, and fish. If you haven't got an electronic thermometer to hand, a handy rule of thumb is to cut into the centre of barbecued meat using a sharp knife and check the color of the meat and see that the juices are running clear. For flaky fish (salmon, mullet, or sea bass for example) press the flesh with a fork to check that the flakes come apart. If they do, it’s ready to eat.
Rest your meatAs tempting as it might be to dig in as soon as your cuts have been taken off the grill, don’t. We’re not being spoilsports – eating meat straight from the barbie isn’t as tasty as it should be as it hasn’t had chance to reabsorb its juices. Once you’re satisfied your steak, sausage or chicken is thoroughly cooked, leave it to rest for a few minutes on warm, metallic bakeware or on the top rack or away from direct heat covered with aluminium foil. You might remain hungry for a few minutes longer than you’d like but you’ll enjoy its succulent flavour more. Follow those handy steps and you should be well on your way barbecuing greatness. If it is the case that your guests are pestering you for a repeat performance, why not take a look at our range of Grills? There's all kinds of awesome appliances that you can use alongside your barbecue to create fantastic sides and accompaniments. Heck, you can even use them as a substitute for your barbecue altogether if the weather is playing up!