Light the barbecue before the guests arrive, you don’t want to cook on lots of flames and smoke, just nice red-hot embers.
Marinade the day before or buy our own marinated BBQ-ready cuts for maximum flavour. Marinades flavour and tenderise meat. Use strong plastic bags, tied securely to prevent leakage when you turn them. Or cover food tightly with clingfilm and use non-reactive containers such as glass, or stainless steel.
Don’t use Extra Virgin olive oil in marinades. It burns and smokes on contact with the barbecue. Use light olive oil, or vegetable oil instead and save the extra virgin bottles for your salads and sauces (finishing oil).
Before placing meat on the barbecue grill, rub or shake off any excess marinade, particularly if there is any oil in it, to prevent burning or flaring and the consequent smoky bitter flavour.
Prepare as much the day before as possible, salads, sauces, slice onions etc.
Have your cooking utensils organised.
A spray bottle of water is good to have at hand. You can extinguish excessive flames with this (should they appear). ? Don’t leave cooking food unattended – you know it’ll burn when your back is turned!
Use great basic ingredients – Great meat and in-season vegetable.
Season your meat, preferably with sea salt, after it comes off the grill. Doing this before will draw moisture from the food, making it stick more easily, and dry.
NOT straight from the fridge! Always give enough time out of the fridge, at least 20 minutes, for raw barbecue dishes to lose their chill and to be approaching room temperature. If the meat, chicken, fish or vegetable is too cold in the centre, the outside may well burn before the inside is cooked. If you don’t usually do this, be careful as meat will cook quicker like this, so watch your timings.
Move cooking food around on the grill using cooler and hotter spots as required.
Is it cooked? - Using a small sharp knife, cut into the centre of the meat (down to the bone if there is one) to check that the flesh is cooked and juices are running clear. For flaky fish, such as salmon, press the flesh with your finger or a fork to check that the flakes come apart, indicating that it is ready.
Rest the meat – don’t cut meat straight from the BBQ as it will squeeze all its juices out. Let the muscle fibres relax and take back the juices after the intensity of the heat. Rest somewhere away from direct heat (just warm), loosely covered in foil; approx 5- 10 mins for small chicken joints & steaks, min 15 mins for large joints.
Be hygienic – keep a bowl of warm soapy water or baby wipes handy to wash your hand. Keep raw and cooked food trays, bowls, chopping boards & marinades separate. Never put cooked meat back onto the same dish you used for marinating the raw food. Always use a clean serving dish or plate.
Cooking Time Guidelines – these are approximate only
Steaks - med/rare (1” thick)
Cook 3-4 mins per side
Steaks - well done
5-6 mins per side
7 mins turning occasionally
8-12 mins turning occasionally
Drummers & Thighs
8-12 mins turning occasionally
6-8 mins turning occasionally
5-10 mins turning occasionally
10-15 mins turning occasionally
8-10 mins turning occasionally