Barbecue season is here and for many, there’s nothing better than heading out into the garden to enjoy an open-air feast with the family! However, while you may have your ‘dad’ apron on and your tongs at the ready, if you’re a first timer in the art of barbecuing, there are a few things you’ll need to know before tackling the grill. To help you avoid those classic cremated sausages or worse, food poisoning your guests, we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to barbecuing.
Clean the Grill
The likelihood is that after being stowed away in the shed during those long winter months, your barbecue grill will need a thorough clean. Not only will this ensure that any lurking bacteria is gotten rid of but a clean grill will also stop your food from sticking during cooking, making it easier for you to achieve those perfect barbecue bites.
To clean your grill, remove it from your barbecue and place it on a flat surface. Then, using a wire brush and warm, soapy water, scrub your grill firmly, making sure to remove any tough bits of charcoal or burnt on food that may have hardened over the winter. If the work gets a little too arduous, be sure to stop and savour a sip of cold beer, popping it back in your wooden beer holder ready for the next break! Once you are refreshed and have finished scrubbing, give your grill a final wipe down and rinse it with warm water, placing it back on your barbecue ready to be used.
Prepare your Tools
Any grilling connoisseur knows that a nifty toolset can make all the difference when it comes to cooking barbecue grub. Consequently, before flipping your burgers and turning your sausages, make sure that you are equipped with the right utensils so that you can cook quickly and freely without having to manoeuvre your way around the grill. Some of the basic barbecue tools you’ll need to make grilling a breeze include a spatula, a pair of tongs, a thick oven glove, and most importantly, a fire extinguisher in case the heat gets a little too much!
Use the Correct Fuel
The fuel you use can directly affect the flavour of the food you’re cooking; while you may be tempted to grab the first bag of charcoal you see, take a moment to stop and consider how you want your food to taste. To achieve a more natural flavour, avoid standard charcoal and use lumpwood charcoal instead. Being made from quality hardwoods, not only will this type of fuel burn more easily but it will also help to give your food a more refined taste. To enhance its effects further, try adding other hardwoods such as cherry, hickory and oak to infuse your food and create a range of exciting flavours!
Light Up Safely
From throwing a match in and hoping for the best to building an intricate charcoal chimney, there are various ways you can light your barbecue. But, however you chose to light your grill, make sure you do it safely, wearing protective gloves at all times and ensuring that all flammable items are removed from the area beforehand.
To achieve the optimum cooking temperature, light your barbecue at least 30 minutes before placing your meat on the grill to ensure that the charcoal has burned through solidly and created an even heat. Alternatively, if you want to use your barbecue to cook meat as well as keep it warm afterwards, use more fuel on one side to create a ‘hot’ side and less fuel on the other to create a ‘cool’ side.
Now all that’s left to do is select some tasty treats to go on your barbecue! Go classic with sausages, burgers and steaks or branch out with some fresh fish or vegetarian alternatives such as aubergines, tomatoes and mushrooms, all great to eat on a hot summer day. If you have any barbecuing tips to add, we’d love to hear them! Get in touch on our social media channels now to share your advice.