BBQ tips

Barbecue tips

Whether you have an old-school charcoal barbie, or an all-singing and dancing gas one, our top barbecue tips will ensure you serve up a feast to remember

Preheat your grill

1. Preheat your grill
A charcoal barbecue needs around 20 minutes to reach the perfect temperature. A gas barbecue only needs 10-15 minutes. Before you start, check that the coals are turning white and glowing. Don’t forget you can cook directly in the coals too. Wrap root veg in foil (pierce them first), then nestle them in the coals. 

Make it sizzle

3. Make it sizzle
There’s really no excuse for burnt on the outside, pink in the middle. Use your oven to cook meat through before finishing it on the grill; you’ll get the signature smoky taste without any fear of undercooking. This is particularly important for chicken and other poultry. 

Cater for vegetarians

2. Cater for vegetarians
Meat isn’t the only thing that tastes great on a grill. Lay flatbreads straight onto the grate and watch them crisp up. Top with slices of tomato and mozzarella. Barbecue your veggie kebabs or halloumi first so that the food doesn't take on a meaty flavour, and grill veg for salads and sides.

Prep for perfection

4. Prep for perfection
When barbecuing skewers, cut all the ingredients to the same size so they're the same distance from the coals and will cook evenly. Cut the ingredients larger than the spaces between the bars so there's no danger of the skewers slipping through.

Get your timings right

5. Get your timings right

Remove meat from the fridge 20 minutes before cooking so it cooks evenly. Not everything is best cooked at the same temperature, so create hotter and cooler areas within your barbecue using the coals, which will allow you to control the heat. 

Avoid flare-ups

7. Avoid flare-ups
Trim unnecessary fat and drain off excess marinade to avoid flare-ups. Consider cooking your meat plain or with a dry rub, then add a sauce or marinade after cooking - that way as the meat rests the flavours
mix together.

Rest your meat

9. Rest your meat
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.

Don't use a fork for turning

6. Don't use a fork for turning
If you use a fork to turn your food you risk piercing the meat and losing juices. Long-handled metal tongs or spatulas are your friend. Try to turn your food only once, as turning it too often reduces the temperature of the meat, so it won't cook as effectively.

Don't overcook seafood

8. Don't overcook seafood
Fresh prawns only need a couple of minutes on each side. Cook oiled fillets on the hot plate of the barbie, and lay whole fish in a foil parcel before barbecuing. Stop fish from sticking to the grill by laying down thin slices of lemon first. The juices will keep the fish moist and protect the flesh from the flames.

Up the flavour

10. Up the flavour
Marinate foods in advance (even ten minutes will make a difference) or when cooked, toss with good olive oil and chopped herbs, and squeeze citrus juice over fish and vegetables. Use flavoured butters to easily infuse extra-flavour into corn on the cobs, grilled veggies and to melt over meats. 

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