Barbeques - The Preparation
The BBQ experience
When the summer comes and we all escape into the garden, nothing caps off a perfect day quite like holding a barbecue party, or simply feeding the family home grilled food. Barbequing seems so simple and everyone thinks they know best – but this is not always the case! How many times have you nodded on approvingly whilst chewing on carbonized black rubber that once constituted a chicken wing or pork rib? Too often! The truth is that there are ways you can help to produce perfect barbequed food, if you just take the time to read our tips.
First up, grilled food is only as good as the barbeque on which it is cooked. If you use a disposable or tin grill, the chances of producing gourmet food are severely reduced. There are several reasons why the barbeque itself makes such a difference.
The thickness and type of metal used to construct the barbeque will determine how the heat is spread over the area, how it retains the heat, and ultimately how evenly the food is cooked. Heavy-duty, quality barbeques are usually made from stainless steel, and this metal ensures that you can distribute heat perfectly. The grates should also be thick and heavy, and cast iron is an ideal material for the job.
Whether you choose a charcoal or gas grill will affect your results too. The facts are pretty simple, and you can read our articles on this subject for detailed information. Charcoal grills represent the puritan’s dream, but you need to be fully in control to avoid burning the food. Gas grills, while more modern, help you to direct the heat more accurately. This means that you are able to sear the meat, and then let it cook slowly by reducing the gas levels in certain vents.
Now to the food itself. Even the most basic barbeque menu can be vastly improved by following certain tips. The biggest mistake people make is with the barbeque sauce. Everyone loves gallons of it to add that real smoky flavor, but by simply avoiding adding the sauce until the food is nearly cooked helps enormously to avoid burning.
Use spice rubs to flavor your food prior to cooking, or overnight marinades which can permeate the meat without leaving a residue. The food will then cook without undue dryness or burning, but with all of the smoky flavor.
Try being more experimental with your choice of foods, you can wow your guests and learn to use your grill in more ways. Try seafood and fish, as well as side dishes such as grilled vegetables. Our section on these foods gives plenty of hints and recipe ideas to get you started.