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Farmison & Co's BBQ Tips

Blog • May 26th 2018

Whether it's the Big Green Egg or the disposable barbecue picked up last minute from the supermarket on a promising summer's evening, everyone loves a barbecue. For debates on briquettes vs lumpwood (we favour the latter), gas vs charcoal (again, we love the latter), and the other anoraky information that is essential to any self-respecting barbecuer, the internet can be a very useful tool. But to save you the trouble of trawling Google, we've compiled a few things we decided were worth mentioning:

HERBS

  1. Tie some sprigs of rosemary & thyme together to make a basting brush. We tend to baste with olive oil
  2. If you are "herb-rich" in your garden, terrace, allotment or window box, putting some rosemary or thyme onto the glowing coals adds to flavour during the cooking process

PREP

  1. For the best results, treat the meat you barbecue with the same respect as when you cook in your kitchen. Be sure to allow the meat to come to room temperature for at least half an hour before cooking. Brushing the meat with oil will help the searing process and prevent sticking
  2. Don't salt the meat until the last minute
  3. Keep your kitchen oven on a medium heat throughout, so you have somewhere to keep things warm

THE COOKING PROCESS

  1. Wait for the coals to go white and then always close the lid. It will stop your coal burning away in 10 minutes and will also smoke your food as it cooks
  2. Blanch your sausages by putting them into a pan of cold water, bringing it to the boil and boiling for 3 minutes. Drain and then put onto the barbecue to cook. This will start the cooking process and will also seal the meat, so that the sausages don't burst during cooking
  3. When putting marinated meat, fish or vegetables onto the barbecue, do not pour the extra marinade (often containing oil) onto the coals, as they will cause the flames to flare up and burn what you're cooking
  4. If you want something to have a hint of barbecue, but it's too delicate to put onto the grill directly, you can wrap it in tinfoil and put tiny pin pricks all over the foil for the barbecue taste to infuse
  5. When cooking chicken joints on the barbecue, make a sticky marinade for the chicken or simply season with salt & pepper. An hour before putting the chicken on the barbecue, put it into a low oven (around 100°C) in its marinade so that its three quarters cooked before going onto the barbecue. This will result in juicy, tasty, tender chicken
  6. Potatoes wrapped in tinfoil and dropped into the fire pit after the most intense part of the barbecuing has been done will make a lovely late treat
  7. Cook your steaks, bangers or burgers steadily until rich, aromatic and browned, and then turn gently just once. Use long handled tongs rather than a fork that may pierce the meat and allow valuable juices to escape
  8. It's all too easy to overcook on a barbecue, leading to charred, leathery or dry meat. Excessive flames turn the oil to carbon, leaving an acrid taste on the meat… so avoid. To ensure even cooking, use the 60/40 method. Cook the meat for 60% of the time on the first side, then turn and cook for the remaining 40%. As soon as the meat browns, move it further away from the heat source so that the inside can cook before the surface burns (exceptions are thin cuts such as mini steaks, sliders and medallions). Raise the rack so that it is about 30cm above the charcoal - at this height the temperature should be perfect
  9. Knowing the meat is how you like it is the most difficult part of barbecuing. A good thermometer will ensure that everything is cooked to perfection. Guides below:
  • Beef - medium rare: 54°C
  • Lamb - pink: 58°C
  • Pork - juicy: 65°C
  • Poultry - safe to eat: 75°C
  • Bangers: 75°C

Once the meat is cooked to your liking, rest it. During resting, the temperatures will continue to rise as the juices in the middle move to the outside and it becomes warm, moist and tender all the way through. To rest your meat, put it on a rack so that it doesn't lie in its own juices. Cover with tinfoil and leave in a warm place for up to 20 minutes. It's always better to over-rest meat than under-rest it!