You might know how to barbecue, but do you know how to barbecue right? From picking the best barbecue to the right barbecue fuel type to how to barbecue everything from burgers and sausages to chops and steak discover all you need to know with this guide from the team at Hugh Phillips Gower Butcher.
How to Cook on Charcoal and Gas BBQ’s
The two post popular types of BBQ fuel tend to be charcoal or gas.
There’s some skill to barbecuing on charcoal, but the most important ways to ensure the results are perfect include:
- Prepping the barbecue by cleaning out any old ash, removing the grate, and opening the bottom vents. This allows air to circulate around the charcoal, which will help you get an even, strong burning barbecue.
- Use the right amount of charcoal: the more charcoal you use, the tighter you pack it, the hotter your fire will be and the longer it will burn. Cooking a couple of burgers or sausages? You can get away with 15 to 20 coals. Searing steak? You’ll need twice as much.
- Wait until the charcoal is covered with white-grey ash before cooking. This should take up to 30 minutes. There should be no smoke; if there is, the coals aren’t ready.
- Control a charcoal barbecue’s temperature with the vents: you can reduce heat, slow down cooking or lengthen cooking time, by closing down the vents almost completely (never do so completely or the fire may go out); opening the vents will create a fiercer, faster heat.Season the BBQ grill when it’s cold. Use a high heat cooking oil, wipe off any excess with kitchen roll and you’re ready to go.
When it comes to barbecuing with gas, allow the grill to heat up for at least 10 minutes. Once you’ve lit your first burner, turn on the others. This will allow the grill to heat up properly and will burn off any food and grease left over from last time.
If it’s smoking, it’s not ready – so allow that grease to burn off properly first. Then turn down the heat and get ready to cook.
If your gas grill is too hot and you can’t close vents or turn down the burners further, try reducing the amount of gas on the propane tank itself. Also, keep the lid open to allow some of the heat to escape.
Cooking Meat Right on the BBQ
Just like when you’re cooking in the kitchen, what you put on your barbecue grill needs different temperatures, cooking times and cooking techniques to produce great results.
Bear in mind that, in general, when the barbecue lid or hood is closed, the cooking will be faster than if it’s open; and, if the meat is thicker, it will need to be cooked for longer. If in doubt, it’s usually best to barbecue with the lid open, whether you’re cooking on charcoal or gas.
We all know how to cook burgers and hot dogs, right? But other meats can be more tricky. As a general rule, fish will need a medium heat (around 200ºC to 210ºC), while steak needs a high heat (375ºC+). Use your barbecue’s temperature gauge to ensure your BBQ is at the right temperature before you start to cook.
Never press down on barbecue meat with your spatula while cooking; doing so squeezes out the juices that keep the meat tasty and tender.
How to BBQ Steak
Steak needs a hot barbecue, but the exact temperature will vary depending on the cut of meat (the more marbling the better for barbecuing) and how you like your steak cooked.
Start by cooling steaks (thinner ones in particular) in the fridge. It shouldn’t be frozen but it should be firm and cold; this will help you achieve the ideal cooking result: you want to char the outside of the steak but keep the inside juicy and if it’s cold it will take longer to over-cook inside.
Put the cold, seasoned steak on the grill. Initially it will stick, but leave it for a couple of minutes and it will loosen off. Then flip it and repeat on the other side. Move the steak off the heat to cool a little – this will make it tenderise.
How to BBQ Chicken Thighs
Chicken thighs need a medium/hot barbecue. Why thighs? They’re a slightly more fatty part of the chicken which means they’re the best part to cook on a barbecue.
Start by bringing the chicken thighs close to room temperature, season them and put them on the grill, skin side down, closing the lid for around 15 minutes. Allow it to brown on the first side before you flip it and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. Again, the meat will stick to the grill to start with but will loosen, so be patient or the skin will pull away if you turn it too early.
Now open the lid and cook on direct heat for the last 10 minutes, five minutes on each side. This will crisp the skin nicely.
Bear in mind that it takes longer to cook chicken (or any meat) with bones in, so give thighs and legs longer (around 30 to 40 minutes) than breasts or wings. Use your food thermometer to check the chicken is cooked inside (it should have reached 75ºC).
How to BBQ Chops
Start by bringing them to a cool room temperature, season and put them on the grill. Shut the lid and flip when the meat has released from the grill. It will need upwards of four minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the chops (allow around 10 minutes each side for larger chops). Use your thermometer to check that pork is cooked through: it should be around 65ºC ideally; below 60ºC and you risk poisoning your guests, over 70ºC and the meat will be tough. Open the lid briefly to give your chops that chargrilled, just crispy finish.
Hugh Phillips Gower Butcher
We hope you found this guide to cooking right on the BBQ. During July we are offering a discount on all orders placed this month on our Standard BBQ meat box for 10 to 12 people. Use Code July BBQ at check out when ordering this product only.