Summertime is BBQ time. But cooking with a BBQ can downright terrify some people. There’s no need for that. A BBQ is one of the simplest ways to grill.
Our good friend (and grilling fanatic) DJ BBQ, says barbecuing “is primal, it’s how we were meant to cook food.” But summers are short in good old Blighty, so get to it, and don’t let anything stop you from finding your Grilltopia…
Gas or Charcoal?
Most UK gardens have a charcoal barbecue grill on the patio. They achieve that authentic smoky, rich flavour more easily than gas BBQs and are often lighter and cheaper. However, they do require a bit of know-how.
Gas BBQs have some advantages. They are quicker, much easier to use and you don’t need to constantly watch over them. And with coals, you usually need to wait about half an hour after lighting them before you can start cooking.
So, which is more important? A BBQ that you can use quickly and spontaneously, or a grilling machine that gives you intense smoky flavour but requires patience?
Tools of the BBQ trade
Manning a BBQ is serious business. It’s a good idea to get a durable apron that’ll protect you from spitting meat. Oh, and a decent pair of oven gloves wouldn’t go amiss either. And remember to ALWAYS keep lighter fuel sealed and away from your BBQ after use.
The materials your BBQ tools are made of are just as important as the tools themselves. The pros go for:
- A pair of stainless steel long tongs
- A silicone or metal spatula
- A silicone basting brush
- A wire grill brush (for the boring clean up)
One more thing - if you’re indulging in a little late-night grilling, keep a torch nearby. You shouldn’t eat your chicken wings if you can’t see if they’re cooked.
When you season food, you’re usually adding dry ingredients to your meat. Marinating is a whole different ballgame, as it involves wet ingredients like oil or lemon juice.
The longer you marinade your meat before your cook it, the stronger the flavour and more tender your meat. So it’s best to marinade for as long as possible (overnight is a good start), ideally in a securely tied plastic bag in the fridge
DJ BBQ’s only exception to this rule is BBQ sauce. This is the sauce you add right at the end of your grilling session. BBQ sauce contains sugar which burns really easily. And we all know how burnt chicken drumsticks go down. :/
Use our American Smokey BBQ sauce for a tinge of real Worcester sauce and smoked wood flavours.
BBQ Seasoning Tips
The seasoning you choose is just as important as what you cook. And getting the seasoning right is one of the many tricks a skilled BBQer has hidden up their apron.
Seasoning simply enhances the flavour of the meat. And even if you are just using a pinch of salt and pepper, it will make the world of difference.
Traditionally, the best seasoning for beef is basil, oregano, onion, bay leaves and mustard powder.
For lamb, use rosemary, mint and thyme.
Pork goes well with strong flavours like ginger, fennel, juniper berries and cloves.
And if you’re grilling poultry, go for saffron, cinnamon and marjoram.
Cooking the Meat
Your meat needs to be just like you when you’re barbecuing - relaxed. DJ BBQ recommends having your meat out of the fridge for at least half an hour before you put it on your sizzling grill. ‘Relaxing’ it like this keeps it nicely tender and juicy.
Charcoal BBQ users; when you start grilling make sure your coals are white hot. Then build up a larger pile of coals on one side of the BBQ, so you have a ‘hot’ side and a warm side. Sear your meat on the hot side of the BBQ, then cook it through on the warmer side to get that smoky flavour all the way through.
There are still ways to get a smoked flavour from a gas BBQ. Get 450g of woodchips (for sweet flavours try cherry or apple wood), and soak half of them in water for about 15 minutes. Then wrap the wet chips and dry chips separately tin foil packages, with two slits on the top. Place them on the grill top and start cooking your meat. It’ll infuse it with that sweet smoky flavour.
Don’t forget, your meat needs to rest once it’s been grilled – it’ll give you a stronger flavour and prevent dryness. While it’s grilling, all the juices are pushed to the centre as the proteins are ‘set’ (which is why meat becomes firmer as it’s cooked). Resting it gives the juices time to move back through the entire cut of meat, making it more scrumptious. Timing-wise, you should rest the meat for about a minute for every 100g.
Cooking Meat Safely
Invest in a good meat thermometer so you can be sure all your food is cooked through. It’s not tasty if it’s not safe.
- Minced beef, pork and lamb must be at 160°C.
- Poultry needs to hit 165°C.
- Fresh beef, pork and lamb should be 145°C.