Monday, 19 May 2014

Essential tips for BBQ-ing

We’ve all been there, the sun comes out and of course no one wants to be inside for a second longer than they have to be, let alone cooking away in a hot a kitchen. That’s why the humble BBQ is the perfect way to create simple, tasty dishes with minimum fuss and maximum outdoor exposure.

It doesn’t have to be expensive either.

Of course the more money you chose to spend on meat the better quality it will be, but the supermarket have some great deals on meats at the minute and a simple marinade to maximise flavour is all you need. There’s a whole science behind marinating meat so that the acids can break down the muscle and connective proteins in meats, but all you really need to know is that even a couple of hours marinating and your meat will be tender and full of flavour.

Another helpful thing about a BBQ is that the host doesn’t have to do everything, people are usually keen to pitch in and bring a side dish or dessert, that’s what it’s all about. Easy eating with family and friends in the sunshine.

There’s something about a barbeque that turns cooking into an event and even the most reluctant chefs will find themselves eager to join in. So make sure this weekend you get a group together and enjoy a family-style barbeque with your loved ones.

a little snap from Patrick's Hawaiian-themed BBQ over the weekend

Before you do however, have a quick look below and read my top tips for getting the most out of your BBQ:

Get it hot: Preheat your grill for at least 15-20minutes before you want to start cooking. A simple ‘hand-test’ is easy enough to gage the temperature of your grill. Place your hand above the grill and time how long it is before you need to move it – 2 seconds = very hot, 4-6 seconds = medium heat, 8-10 seconds = low heat.

Keep it clean: make sure you brush down your grill before you use it and give it a good scrub after. It easier to remove debris when the grill is hot so give it a good brush whilst you’re waiting for it to heat up to remove the remains of the last BBQ.

Oil it up: Make sure you rub a little oil on your grill to prevent parts of the food sticking to it. Changes are they will be the parts that have soaked up that wonderful smokey BBQ flavour and it’s a shame to leave it stuck to the grill.

Patience: Talking about that wonderful smokey BBQ flavour, try to resist the urge to flip your meat every 2minutes, you want to flip it only once or twice throughout cooking toe ensure that the lovely caramelised BBQ crust can develop. Also, don’t squish the meat to try and cook it faster, the lovely juices will seep out and you’ll end up with horrible dry meat.

Separation is key: Make sure you use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked meat to stop contamination and don’t forget to check your meat is properly cooked through before serving to your guests.

Rest is best: although it may be tempting to skip this step, try and let your meat rest for 5-10minutes after cooking. This is to let it soak up all of its juices and remain succulent and tender. I promise it won’t go cold and will be totally worth it.

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