It's barbecue season
Some kind of magic is at work when meat and fire come together each Summer. Whether barbecuing is a throwback to prehistoric times, or simply an excuse to enjoy the sunshine, we’ll never know. But we can help you to get it right on the grill with our mouthwatering range of barbecue meats and tips.
How to barbecue skewers with Silvana Franco
Our recipe editor shares her top 10 tips and tricks on how to get skewers right on the barbecue.
1. Choose skewers carefully, metal are the best choice but if using bamboo, you'll need to soak them in warm water for at least 30 minutes so they don't burn over the coals.
2. Cut all the ingredients to the same size so they're the same distance from the coals and will cook evenly.
3. Cut the ingredients larger than the spaces between the bars so there's no danger of the skewers slipping through
4. If you have ingredients that take longer to cook than others, such as new potatoes, par-cook them (boil or steam) before hand to ensure everything on the skewer cooks through at the same time.
5. Remove excess/oily marinades before barbecuing so they don't cause fire flare-ups
6. Don't overload the skewers so the ingredients can slip off and into the coals
7. For cross-hatch bar markings, turn the skewers 90 degrees half way through cooking
8. For stylish and very stable skewers, try threading longer ingredients such as halved red chillies, strips of vegetables or raw king prawns onto parallel skewers (about 3cm apart) like a ladder
9. Use a good strong pair of tongs for turning
10. Make sure all the ingredients are cooked all the way through before serving
General BBQ tips:
Whether you have an old-school charcoal barbie, or an all-singing and dancing gas one, our top grilling tips will ensure you serve up a feast to remember.
1. Preheat your grill. If using a charcoal barbecue, light the barbece and allow at least 20 minutes to reach the perfect temperature before grilling - however, always check that the coals are turning white and glowing red before you start cooking. If you have a gas barbecue, it should only take about 10-15 minutes to preheat.
2. Remember your vegetarian guests. If you're cooking veggie kebabs or halloumi on your barbecue, do this first so that the food doesn't take on a meaty flavour.
3. When you put your food on the barbecue, it should sizzle. If you think you can smell burnt food, adjust the temperature for gas, or for charcoal, move the food to a cooler part of the barbecue.
4. Don't use a fork to turn food. Otherwise you risk piercing the meat and losing juices. Long-handled metal tongs or spatulas are your friend.
5. Try to turn your food only once. Turning it too often reduces the temperature of the meat, so it won't cook as effectively.
6. Trim unnecessary fat and drain off excess marinade to avoid flare ups. Consider cooking your meat without flavourings, then add a marinade or herby butter after cooking - that way as the meat rests the flavours mix together.
7. Seafood is spectacular on the barbecue but be careful not to overcook it. Fresh prawns need no more than a couple of minutes on each side, cook oiled fillets of fish on the hot plate of the barbecue, and for whole fish, lay in a baking parchment and foil parcel before barbecuing.
8. Always let meat rest after barbecuing. Nobody likes cold food, but heat makes meat fibres contract so allow it to rest for 5 minutes after coming off the barbecue and it should be nice and tender.
Our top 3 barbecues from Waitrose Garden
Top wines to accompany your barbecue
For tender pork or poultry cooked on the barbecue, this French Chardonnay is just the thing; a bit of butter and lots of fresh citrus and green apple notes makes it a refreshing outdoor dining companion.