Your Ultimate BBQ Cheatsheet: Tips and Tricks
If you’re firing up the grill then you’ll want to make sure you get the best possible result. There’s nothing worse than charcoal sausages with boot leather steak so we’ve compiled some handy tips and tricks that will help you achieve the perfect BBQ.
Invest In A Good Quality BBQ
This may seem like a simple one but it’s one that is often overlooked. You simply cannot expect to get amazing results from a sub-amazing grill so put that disposable tin foil BBQ back on the shelf and invest a bit of cash into your meat flavour.
The key things to look for are a good-sized grilling area to fit all of your meat, a solid lid to keep the meat at the right temperature, and ideally a higher shelf to keep things warm without overcooking.
Try To Avoid A Gas Grill
There is a huge amount of variety when it comes to cooking barbecue. Everything from direct heat, indirect heat, with wood chips, split logs etc – but the one that is consistent across the board is that gas is not the best choice.
Famed chef and TV personality Valentine Warner quite rightly said that “The smoke is an ingredient in itself”. With a gas BBQ, you get the heat but no smoke and BBQ without that smoky flavour isn’t really BBQ at all.
Chips For Flavour
Speaking of flavour, the easiest way to change up the usual flavours of your BBQ is to add wood chips to the fire. The chips will add their flavour nuances to the rising smoke, and you’ll taste the results in your perfectly cooked meat.
For an extra boost in flavour, use wood from fruit trees that are high in sap like apple, cherry, grape, or even peach. You’ll also want to soak these chips in water overnight so they’re extra saturated and produce a lot more of that delicious smoke.
K.I.S.S Keep It Simple, Stupid.
BBQing imparts a lot of its own distinct flavour on to the meats and it may be tempting to go for an extravagant glaze or marinade, but you really want the meat to speak for itself.
Stick to simple rubs, glazes, and marinades that won’t overwhelm your palate like a traditional smokey BBQ sauce to compliment the smokey flavours from the grill.
Pro Tip – Brush on a layer of mustard underneath your dry rub to help the rub stick to the meat and lightly tenderises it.
Not Cooking For Long Enough Or Too Long
This one may seem simple but, if you’re used to the precision of oven cooking, the fluctuating temperatures of a BBQ can catch you off guard.
The charring you get from a BBQ will give the meat a darker exterior and, to an untrained eye, can make it look a lot more “done” than it actually is.
Conversely, the intense heat of the flames can quickly overcook smaller pieces of meat if you don’t keep a close check on what’s going on.
The only guaranteed way to get the perfect finish is to use an internal temperature gauge so you can see at a glance how finished your cooked meat is.
AVOID LIGHTER FLUID
Using lighter fluid to start a BBQ is certainly an easy option but it's one to be wary of.
If you are using lighter fluid to get your fire going then there are a few things you should do to mitigate the risk of “Lighter Fluid Flavouring” which is when the flammable fluid doesn’t burn off completely and can taint your meat with an extremely chemically and sour taste. If this happens, it’s best to just bin the entire meat selection.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to make sure the fire has completely burnt the liquid so none of this sneaking burgers onto the flame. You are going to have to wait until the charcoal is completely ash grey with a burning orange interior, any sign of open flame means that the liquid could still be present.
Aluminium Foil To The Rescue
We all love BBQing and we all love eating BBQ but what nobody loves cleaning up after.
A top tip to speed up cleaning is to line the bottom of your grill with a few sheets of strong aluminium foil, that way you can just lift up and remove the spent coals and ash (once they’re cooled of course) and dispose of them easily.
Another special use for aluminium foil is to use a scrunched up ball of foil to clean the grill itself.
Grab a good-sized sheet of strong foil, ball it up to about the size of an orange, then you can grab it with your tongs and run it up and down the hot grill to easily clean up any residue. You’ll be surprised at how well it works!