7 tips for a perfect BBQ
Outdoor living is about enjoyment, and there is probably nothing more fun than having friends and family over for a good old barbecue.
A few tips for the perfect BBQ, it doesn’t matter how experienced or new you are to the grill and tongs scene, it always comes handy to have some basics clear.
- Heat is king.
Light your barbecue well in advance of using it. Allow at least 30 minutes. Some “experts” have a rule of thumb to identify a bbq surface that is “hot ready”. This is a tricky one, so please use good common sense and don’t go burning yourself attempting this: “Taste” the heat by laying your hand in the air about 10 – 15 cm above the grill. Count how long you can hold your hand in that position feeling “comfortable”. If you can hold your hand in that position for over 8 seconds, then it is not hot enough. 8 seconds and under, the surface is ready to cook.
- Don’t cook cold meat.
Beginner’s mistake: taking the meat out of the fridge to put it directly on the grill. As you heat the bbq well in advance, do the same with the meat: take it out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature before cooking.
- How do you like it done?
Well, we don’t need to tell you that beef flavour and tenderness is directly related to its doneness. In Brazil for example they call medium done “Ao Ponto”, which means “To its point” to stress the fact that medium-done is the ideal doneness of beef. However, it is about what you and everyone of your guests like. Fortunately, you can easily satisfy everyone’s taste and produce custom doneness to everyone. Achieving the perfect doneness depends on time on the grill which is dictated by the thickness and the type of cut you are using. To help you with this, there are a number of amazing mobile apps that will save you the effort in mastering the art of perfect doneness. Here are a few that we recommend: SteakMate, Ask The Butcher, BBQ Taste Mate, Grill-It!
- Avoid fat flames.
Flames of burning fat are a good way to ruin your hard work and turn pieces of your precious beef into charcoal. If the cut of beef is fatty, your best option is to cook it on the plate and then finish it off on the grill. Do not pour marinade sauce over the beef. Marinade your beef in advance, at least 24 hours in the fridge (longer if your marinade has complex flavours) and remove excess sauce before cooking (the flavours have been absorbed by the beef if you have left it marinating long enough).
- Give it a break! Rest your meat.
Once you take the meat out of the grill, bring it to a tray and cover it with foil. Leave the meat resting for about 10 minutes. This will allow the juices to “settle” and return to the hottest parts of the beef. That will make the flavours more even.
- Plan and organise.
Probably one of the most overlooked secrets of a good barbecue. Make sure all the side dishes and drinks are ready and the table is set before you start cooking. Have your trays ready to receive everything that is coming out of the grill. In this way, you are only concentrated on cooking and make sure everything is done to perfection. Don’t get me wrong, you can still socialise and have a chat while you are cooking, but always keep an eye on the grill!
- Clean your BBQ.
Give your BBQ a good clean after use. Excess food left on the grill not only is unhealthy, but will bring undesired flavours the next time you cook.
- Scrape excess food off the plate and grill, then turn the heat up high for 5 minutes, or until the smoke dies down.
- Check to see if any bits of fat or meat are still hanging in there, and scrape them off. If you have a cast iron or steel grill and hotplate, spray with cooking oil, and let that burn off for 5 minutes more (this isn’t needed with stainless steel or vitreous enamel).
- Turn off the gas cylinder, let the burners die down (to get rid of leftover gas in the lines) then turn the burners off.
- When the barbecue is cool, wipe over all surfaces, including the trolley and hood.
We hope you have great (mozzie free) barbecue season. Cheers!