12 May Barbeque 101
As we’re getting to that time of year when thoughts turn to afternoons in the garden flipping burgers and sinking a few cold beers, we thought we’d give you some tips to ensure that you’re the host with the most rather than the poisoner of your friends and family.
The reason so many people get it wrong – you know, cremated sausages and raw chicken – is lack of planning and a lack of understanding on how to get the most from your heat source and from your ingredients. Here’s how to put together an outdoor feast that will put an Australian to shame.
Now’s the time to get your meats marinating – choose from one of our featured marinade recipes below or get creative with herbs spices, wine oil and yoghurts. There are really no rules here but a few good strong flavours – think chilli, garlic ginger – make for the most effective marinades and bring out the natural flavours of your meat.
In The Morning
Prepare your salads and chop any veg you’ll be using for skewers, potato salad and coleslaw (see recipes below). Unless the weather is sweltering, take your meat from the fridge and leave covered until it’s time to cook. Make sure the drinks are chilling.
Lighting The BBQ
OK, the best fuel for a home barbeque is charcoal. Tip a very generous amount into the bbq and dot liberally with small bits of firelighter. Set the firelighter bits alight and place lumps of charcoal over the flames. Leave for around 30-40 minutes until all of the charcoal is covered with a grey/white ash and is red hot. Now you’re good to cook.
How To Cook
First make sure you’re organised and have the right equipment. You’ll need a pair of tongs and a spatula as well as an apron and clean tea towel. You’ll also need a marinade brush and a bowl of oil – always oil the meat and not the grill. Keep raw meats away from the cooked food and salads.
For best results cook when the bbq is sizzling hot. Simply brush the steak with oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Depending on the thickness of the cut, cook on each side for around two minutes for medium rare. You can tell a steak’s doneness by prodding it with your finger – the more resistance, the more well-done it is.
You need to be careful with chicken as if it isn’t cooked properly it can make you ill. But don’t be put off – chicken with a good marinade can be the highlight of your meal. Chicken needs to be barbequed long and slow so arrange a space on the grill with fewer coals underneath. First sear your chicken over the hot part of the grill – this will take around 5 – 10 minutes depending on how hot the grill is. Once nicely browned and seared move to the cooler part of the grill and cook for 30 minutes turning frequently and basting with the marinade of your choice.
First prepare your vegetables. Clean mushrooms and leave whole, cut red, green and yellow pepper into two centimetre squares and cut red onions into quarters and seperate the layers. Wash some cherry tomatoes and leave whole then take some metal skewers – or wooden ones that have been soaked in water for half an hour – and simply thread the veg onto the skewers. Whisk some olive oil, basil, oregano, salt and black pepper in a bowl and use this to baste the vegetables as you grill them for around 15 minutes turning frequently.
Good crunchy coleslaw is the perfect accompaniment to barbequed meat and is a doddle to make. Shred four carrots, half a cabbage and a small onion with a mandolin – or cut thinly with a sharp knife. Mix eight tablespoons of mayonnaise with two tablespoons of white wine vinegar and a pinch of salt. Add to the veg and stir well – that’s it, creamy crunch coleslaw.
This one is always a firm favourite and can be prepared in advance or served warm. Cut your potatoes into bite size chunks and boil until cooked through but not mushy. Drain then add a coarsely chopped onion and enough mayonnaise to coat everything nicely – and a bit more for good luck. You can add any fresh herb of your choice – basil or chives are particularly good. Stir well and enjoy.
Some great marinades can be found on the allrecipes.com website but don’t be a slave to the recipes – feel free to experiment and find your own signature bbq flavours. Happy grilling.