Don’t skimp on meat quality
Marinate the meat (but don’t use salt…yet)
If you want your meat to be mouth-watering, marinate it the night before. Use oil and any herbs and spices you want to bring it to life, from fresh rosemary to chili and paprika. The really important part is not to add the salt until just before you cook, as this can dry out the meat if left for too long.
Barbecuing requires your full attention - yes, we said, full attention!
While you’re on BBQ duty, we need the whole you. If you’re entertaining, let someone else do the meeting and greeting, the pouring of drinks, the serving of nuts. The chef needs to watch the fire constantly, turning and basting the meat at regular intervals to prevent burning and loose flames.
Avoid fridge chill
Always cook your meat from room temperature. If it’s too cold, the outside can burn before the inside cooks. Same goes for the veg. Take the ingredients out of the fridge around the same time as you light the BBQ.
Use the hand test to get the perfect temperature
Cooking at the right heat is as essential as not leaving your BBQ’s side! Carefully hold your hand 5 inches from the surface of the grill. Then count how long you can comfortably hold it there (there no points for being brave!):
- 6 seconds – Low
- 4 seconds – Medium
- 2 seconds – High
- 0 seconds – Too Hot! Cool the BBQ before cooking.
Rest the meat
This is vital. Eating meat straight from the grill doesn’t allow it to reabsorb all of its delicious juices. After all of your hard work, it’ll be worth the wait. Rest a steak for 3-5 minutes.
Don’t forget the veg
Gorgeously griddled peppers, aubergines, spring onions, giant mushrooms, courgettes, sweet potatoes cut into wedges and golden corn-on-the-cobs jazz up the feast with their kaleidoscope colours. Even the plainest of veg takes on a new life on the BBQ, becoming smoky and richer in flavour.
The meat is the hero here, but good salads are definitely a part of the show. For a wow factor, make up a fuschia-coloured plate of red onion and pink radish, or for an impactful colour contrast try sweet and perfumed black olives and oranges. Coleslaw is a BBQ classic: try it with mustard, poppy seeds and fresh mint. Or mix up a potato salad with some tamarind and mint!
A great barbecue sauce
There isn’t only one BBQ sauce, of course... There are myriad oils, dressings, seeds, herbs and spices you can use to bring your meat to life, but for a BBQ classic, mix olive oil, onion, tomato, garlic, brown sugar or honey, date vinegar, tomato puree, a little tamarind paste and a pinch of ground cloves. Brush on a couple of minutes before cooking finishes.
Try something a little different
There’s no reason why you can’t try something a little less conventional, like halal ostrich, or veal or goat. Use minced meat to make your own burgers with interesting ingredients or accompaniments like Korean kimchi, or swap burger buns for giant BBQ’s mushrooms.