Barbeque season is upon us and we’ve had some perfect sunny days recently that would have been perfect for some outdoor dining. For some of us though barbeques can conjure up imagine of uncooked chicken, blackened sausages and burnt burgers, but follow these simple tips and hopefully you’ll end up with beautiful grilled barbeque food and your guests will leave happy!
Charcoal: Charcoal can burn at different speeds and heats, depending on what type or brand you get. The best thing you can do to tell if the barbeque is ready is to use your eyes. The charcoal should be ash-grey on the outside and the coals should be glowing red in the centre.
Defrosting food: Do not defrost meat or fish at room temperature. On warm summer days bacteria can multiply quickly on the parts that defrost first. Use the fridge or microwave to defrost food to prevent the risk of E coli and salmonella.
Don’t cross-contaminate: Remember the basics and keep cooked and raw food separate to prevent cross contamination. Also make sure you have separate utensils for handling raw and cooked food. Make sure you keep raw food separate from the cooked food when adding it to the grill.
Tongs: Tongs are much easier to use that trying to move things using a fork and will help you to organise your food. Your barbeque might already have a set of barbeque tools but if not then you can easily pick some up, such as this deluxe 4-piece BBQ tool set, to save you burning your fingers.
Sticky Food: Everything will stick to the barbeque grill on first contact, but it will come away from the grill once the outside has seared. It’s best to sear both sides of the food and then cook it appropriately depending on what kind of food it is.
Fish and vegetables will cook quickly so should be kept over a medium-high heat. Poultry and meats will take longer to cook and should be moved to a medium or medium-low heat to cook. This will save the meat looking cooked but actually being raw in the middle. Food should be regularly turned to make sure it is evenly cooked.
Moving Food: Food should be moved around the grill regularly to prevent fat or marinades dripping onto the barbeque and causing flames to rear up and blacken your food. Coals in the centre of the barbeque, where there are more of them, means that the centre of the barbeque will be the hottest place, the outer areas will be cooler and if you feel it is too hot/cool you can move the grill up/down to adjust the cooking temperature.
Check your food is cooked: All food should be cooked in the middle and piping hot through. You can make a cut in one of the items to see if it is cooked all the way through and check that it is hot in the centre.