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Top Tips for the bbq

the do's

  • Do prepare in advance! Jot down a job list and be realistic what you can achieve on the BBQ. Trying too many different items will end in failure - a great tip is to do one slow cook such as a Boston Butt or beef brisket as this will go a long way once shredded and served with flat breads, salad and condiments. Then, just choose one or two quick cook items to cook a la minute when the drinks are flowing so you're not missing out on the fun!
  • Do invest in good quality tongs and heat resistant gloves to make the bbq experience much easier and safer.
  • Do use a high grade lump charcoal (my favourite is Hickory and oak) which will burn both cleaner and longer.
  • Do use a chimney starter to get the charcoal fired up both quick and evenly.
  • For controlled cooking use a meat thermometer. Always probe the meat/poultry at the thickest point and remember the temperature will continue to rise once you stop cooking. This can be as much as a additional 10°C on thick joints.
  • For enhanced smoke-flavour add the natural hardwood at the start of the cook process so the flavour permeates the meat.
  • Always rest your meat in a warm place loosely covered to relax and lock in the juices.

top tips for the bbq

the don'ts

  • Don't keep opening the lid. However tempted you might be, this will lose temperature and create inconsistent cooking temperatures.
  • Don't apply sweet sticky marinades until the final stage of cooking as the sugar can burn easily.
  • Don't place oil directly on the grill as it will flare, the oil will burn and it will taint the meat/poultry.
  • Don't forget the BBQ is also really good for summer vegetables and stone fruits.

General BBQ

Tips & Techniques

An electric or gas BBQ may take 10 to 20 minutes to preheat and a charcoal BBQ needs to be heated until the coals are covered with a layer of ash (approx. 45 minutes). Stock up on charcoal, rather than briquettes. It heats more evenly and has a better, more natural aroma.

For best results, treat the meat you barbecue outdoors with the same respect as when you cook in your kitchen. Allow the meat to come to room temperature for at least 20 minutes. Brush the meat lightly with oil. This helps the searing process and prevents sticking.

Careful seasoning is necessary. The meat could be marinated beforehand or sprinkled with herbs and pepper. Season with salt at the very last moment only, as salt will draw out juices and prevent the meat from browning properly.

cooking using

the direct heat method

Cook your steaks, kebabs, bangers and burgers, or a selection of garden fresh vegetables and fruits nice and steady until rich, aromatic and browned, and then turn gently just once using direct heat method. Use long handled tongs rather than a fork, which may pierce the meat and allow valuable juices to escape.

It's all too easy to overcook on a barbecue, leading to charred, leathery, dry meat. We don't want excessive flames as this turns the oil to carbon, leaving an acidic taste from the meat. 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%. Take care: as soon as the meat browns it must be moved further away from the heat source so that the inside can cook before the surface burns (the exceptions are thin cuts such as mini-steaks and medallions). Raise the rack so that it is about 30cm above the charcoal- at this height the temperature is just right.

cooking using

the indirect heat method

This is common on the other side of the pond, where whole joints of meat can be marinated or brined, then placed in the covered bbq with the burning coals placed around the edge of the bbq and a drip tray sat in the middle with the joint placed directly above. Slower the better is the common phrase, cooking briskets and pork butts for up to to 18 hours!

The best way of understanding this method is to treat the bbq as if it was your oven, remembering to keep the coals burning at a constant heat at all times. Try pork belly soaked in local beer, sea salt and brown sugar for a few hours, pat dry and cook indirectly for 3 hours on 180°C, it comes out stunning, remember to check the meat is tender before removing.

basic bbq rules for

internal temperatures

Knowing the meat is how you like it is the most difficult part of the bbq. Invest in a good thermometer and follow my basic rules:

Beef | medium rare | 50-54°C

Lamb | pink | 54-58°C

Pork | juicy | 60-65°C

Poultry | 75°C

Bangers | 75°C

Once the meat is cooked to your liking it must be rested. 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, place it on a rack so it doesn't lie in its own juices. Cover with foil and leave in a warm place for up to 20 minutes.

Remember, it is always better to over-rest meat than to under-rest it.

Have fun & enjoy!

barbecues deserve

better meat

Meat to be cooked slowly over hot coals should have natural succulence and ample fat cover, ready to be enhanced by the low heat and smoke of the barbecue for melting tenderness and indulgent eating. There is plenty to get your teeth into, designed to suit all tastes, ready to be rubbed, marinated, or popped plain onto the grill for the best seasonal feasting.

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