The six rules of barbecuing

By
Eve O'Sullivan
Added
28 April, 2016

Even the best cooks can be stumped when it comes to cooking to perfection over coals. We ask Ben Tish to tell us the six most important rules of barbecuing so we can grill with confidence over the long weekend.



Start with great produce. Even if you only want to cook a couple of burgers, make them the best you can. Wheeling out the bbq can sometimes be a signal to buy with an attitude of ‘it’s only being thrown on the bbq, so what does it matter?’, but things always taste better when they are good quality.


Be well prepared and everything you need to hand. Many a time things are forgotten and left in the kitchen, you have to run in, and then inevitably something gets burnt on the bbq. I speak from experience.


A tiny bbq will not work for feeding four people with multiple elements. A good sturdy piece of kit is needed (with a lid) and enough surface area to cook on. If you don’t have a lid, then it’s not really a bbq and you won’t be able to slow cook, smoke and convect; you’ll miss out on the real essence of what this type of cooking is all about.


Don’t always serve the ubiquitous sausage and burgers - it’s boring and to be honest a little lazy! There’s a whole world of deliciousness out there, and it’s doesn’t have to be meat either. Fish - particularly oily fish - is made to be cooked over charcoal and it couldn’t be easier, quicker and more delicious. Think of your bbq as an extension of the kitchen and not a once a year, one-trick pony.




Wait for the flames to subside before cooking. This is a really common mistake and it’s where the ‘burnt and acrid on the outside, raw in the middle’ result comes from. The flames lap up, blacken the food and then it looks overcooked and burnt but it’s barely cooked on the inside. Not good. When the flames have died down and the coals are an even, ashen grey, then it’s the optimum time to cook.


Avoid the cheap all-in-one portable bbqs that are available in garages at all costs. They are packed full of chemicals and taint the food with a petroleum tang. Always buy the best charcoal you can afford; it has an impact on the flavour of your food so the quality is extremely important. There’s some great British woodland charcoal out there to buy now that’s very clean and natural and being local is more eco friendly, too.



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