Barbecue season is well and truly underway and we’re all enjoying our outdoor family feasts!
But, before you sizzle those sausages and break out the baps, here’s a guide on how to beat those common barbecuing mistakes and ensure perfection, every time.
Mistake 1: Cooking on a dirty grill
Mistake 2: There is such a thing as too much heat!
Standard barbecuing practice usually means the hotter the better! But actually, having it too hot means there is nowhere to place your sausages when they start to go black. You need to have a hot side and a cooler side to achieve the perfect results.
To do this, divide your coal into two zones. Lay an even distribution of coals on one half, and have none, or a thin layer on the other half. Sear on the hot side and use the cooler side for more gentle cooking. You can use the cooler side with the lid on to create an oven-like setting for bigger joints. This will give you a lot more control over your cooking (meaning no more burnt sausages!)
Mistake 3: Adding food straight from the fridge
It makes sense to take out the meat from the fridge and cook it straight away. But, when barbecuing, it’s different. The colder the meat, the longer it takes to heat up so your cooking times will be thrown off already.
Take your meat out of the fridge at least half an hour before cooking, or an hour for big cuts of meat. This will give your food a good head start and help avoid the whole ‘cold on the inside, cooked on the outside’ dilemma.
Mistake 4: Using lighter fluid
Good things come to those who wait and this is certainly true when it comes to barbecuing. Whilst lighter fluid will give you an instant fire, it will subside and die pretty quickly and you won’t have a lot of heat.
Go old school instead. Crumple up some newspaper into a mound with coals around it and light with a single match. Nurse the flames by keeping the lid off and letting oxygen feed it so it heats the coals efficiently. Or, you could invest in a chimney starter.
Mistake 5: Grilling without a guide
Mistake 6: Taking your eyes off the prize
Mistake 7: Not soaking skewers
It’s not a barbecue without kebabs! Putting meat, veggies and everything in between on a skewer stick is a barbecuing favourite. However, unsoaked skewers can mean that the wood can burn before the food is cooked – nightmare!
Living in Britain, we don’t usually get much time to prepare for a summer’s day barbecue. If you can, check the weather and plan ahead and soak your skewer sticks in water the night before. If it’s a last-minute garden dash, soak them for at least 30-60 minutes. The end result will be worth it!
Mistake 8: Reaching for the sauce too soon
Spreading on the cooking sauces makes you feel like a barbecuing pro! But, pasting these on too soon could result in a bitter outside layer forming and the taste of burnt meat when it’s served – no one wants that!
Hold off on the sauces until later in the cooking process so you and your family can enjoy all its yummy flavours. If your sauce is sweet, add it within the last 10 minutes of cooking time so it doesn’t caramelise too much.
Mistake 9: Checking it too often
It’s tempting to keep checking on your food and smelling its goodness. But, opening your barbecue lid too often will mean loss of heat and a longer cooking process – just like your oven. Doing so on a coal grill will bring in more oxygen and make it hotter than you want it.
When you’ve got your desired heat, leave the barbecue to do its thing! If you need to check it, decide on a time nearer to the end of the cooking process and leave it until then.
Mistake 10: Not letting the meat rest after cooking
Your food is cooked, it smells delicious and all you want to do is get it in your belly! But doing so will mean your meat won’t have time to take in all the juices and taste as good as it should.
Place your food on a plate and leave it to cool for around 5 minutes before serving. If you’re worried it will get cold, flash it on the grill for 30 seconds each side after cooling time and then serve. It may be 5 minutes of torture but it will definitely be worth it!
So there you have it, your guide to the perfect barbecue! Why not check out these super cool barbecue gadgets that will make you look and feel like a pro.