How much do we love cooking on a barbecue? Taking your cooking outdoors is a great warm weather option: for ease of cleaning, to not having your house smell of that amazing marinade you made. Here Jen gives us her top tips on how to BBQ like a king.
Preparing your bbq
First of all, make sure your bbq is clean (see tips below) before you start. Once clean, heat the plate or bars and then put some oil on a rag or paper towel and generously rub the plate/bars with oil. If you have too much oil directly on the meat, it causes the oil to run into the fire, often causing the flame to flare up which smokes the meat and discolours it – which you don’t want. By rubbing the oil onto the plate or bars the meat doesn’t stick and you shouldn’t have any excess.
FYI: the meat will tend to stick to the BBQ if the plate is not hot enough.
Preparing the meat
Take any meat out of the refrigerator about one hour before you plan on cooking it. This is especially important when cooking steaks to medium-rare or less, as you don’t want the core temperature of the meat to still be at fridge temperature when cooking it quickly.
Season the meat with salt before you barbecue.
TIP: when cooking for large groups, sear the meat on both sides to get grill marks and then finish cooking the meat in the oven. Set your temperature to 160ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2–3.
Master some marinades
Marinades are a great way to bring some flavour and a tasty alternative to plain steak or sausages in your barbecue repertoire. Some great PlanBuyCook app marinades include: Easy Asian marinade which is good with pork or chicken, Indian chicken marinade, Mango chicken, Chicken yakitori, BBQ lamb with couscous, Greek pork skewers, Chicken skewers, Beef satay: heaps of great options. Remember to double any of these recipes and freeze half for a later time as they are fantastic for a quick meal. Remember to take the frozen marinated meat out of the freezer the day before to defrost in your refrigerator.
Marinades tend to burn faster than steak and sausages, so make sure you turn them quickly. Once they are sealed, turn down the temperature of your bbq to cook them through without burning them. Another option is to transfer them to the oven for finishing if you are nervous about burning or not cooking them well enough.
TIP: marinate meat when you come home from shopping and freeze if not using in the next few days. The meat marinates while freezing and again while defrosting, eliminating the 4–6 hour preparation time from most marinade recipes.
Use your bbq to chargrill vegetables such as eggplant, corn, capsicum, zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli and asparagus. Toss the vegetables in oil and salt before you barbecue and leave them for about 10 minutes before you start cooking them. Use the bars to get grill marks on the vegetables for a great look. See our blog on how to chargrill vegetables for more information.
Other great things to BBQ
Get more use out of your barbecue by cooking hamburgers, bacon, kofta, felafel, fish, haloumi cheese, tin sardines: the list is endless. It is a great way to keep your kitchen clean and take some of the smells outdoors.
Cleaning the bbq
It doesn’t matter whether you clean your bbq after you’ve finished cooking or before you start using it the next time, it is all personal preference. But clean it you must! To clean your barbecue, heat the bbq and use a good wire brush for the bars and a metal scraper for the plate to scrape off excess food scraps, marinade or residue. Once clean, pour on some water and allow it to evaporate. Turn the bbq and the gas off, then use a rag or paper towel to mop up any remaining residue, and rub generously with oil to stop it rusting between uses.
The PlanBuyCook meal planning app is available for iPhone and iPad here. It includes 130 great recipes that you can scale to match your household size, or easily double recipes for freezing.