The 10 golden rules of barbecuing
Consign chaotic back-garden grilling to history with these fail-safe tips from Tim and Nigel – the two grill-meisters behind the Blistering Barbecues book.
First, the barbecue…
1. Light the barbecue before guests arrive. It’s the delicious smell of outdoor cooking that will get your guests salivating when they turn up. Once you’ve lit the barbecue, the coals should be ready after about 30 minutes.
2. Be ready to go. Having everything prepared in advance will make it all run more smoothly, leaving time for you to have a drink and relax.
3. Be organised. Make sure you have all your equipment to hand. Have ample table space around the barbecue and ensure all your food will fit on the grills. If necessary, borrow an extra barbecue from a friend or neighbour.
4. Stay with your barbecue. Success depends on turning and basting the food regularly to prevent burning or flame-ups. You won’t be lonely for long – who can resist the tantalising smell of a well-tended grill?
And now for the food…
5. Get the best ingredients. Summer brings an abundance of fresh fruit, veg and meat or fish, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.
6. Marinating. Unless you have a fantastic piece of tender, aged beef, which requires no more than a mere brush of oil and the quickest cooking, nothing beats a marinade for adding flavour and tenderising meat. Marinate overnight to get the best results.
7. Seasoning. We believe this is where many home barbecuers mess up. NEVER add salt to a marinade unless you’re marinating for less than two hours, as salt can toughen the meat. Instead, season well, just before barbecuing.
8. Get the temperature right. Give food enough time out of the fridge so it loses its chill and starts to approach room temperature. If ingredients are cold, the outside may burn before the inside is cooked. A good rule of thumb is to remove raw food from the fridge when you light the barbecue.
9. Rest meat once it’s cooked. This is essential. Eat steak directly off the grill and it will be tough, but leave it to rest for a few minutes and the meat will relax and reabsorb the juices.
10. Presentation. Although the food is the star of the show, it’s good to create atmosphere with fun and funky plates and props, colourful napkins and bowls. It’s worth going the extra distance.
Blistering Barbecues, is published by Absolute Press, priced £14.95.
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