How to cook the best BBQ food this summer
Here in the UK, we may not be world leaders in the art of the barbecue, but it doesn’t take much to encourage many of us to head for the patio at the first hint of a warm evening, armed with a bag of charcoal and some lighter fuel.
In many homes, it’s not always the regular cook who takes control of the barbecue – and while they may think they know a lot about setting fire to charcoal or connecting gas bottles, that doesn’t necessarily mean they can follow through and get the best out of the food and equipment at hand.
So, whether you’re new to the world of barbecuing, or an experienced al fresco chef – even if only at producing food that’s burnt on the outside but practically raw on the inside – here’s our guide to cooking the best BBQ food this summer.
Choosing the right barbecue
It follows that the better the barbecue you have to cook on, the better your chances of getting good results. Many traditionalists view using anything other than charcoal as something akin to heresy, because you don’t get that ‘authentic’ charcoal flavour (which actually often just means ‘burnt’).
However, gas barbecues are an increasingly popular alternative, mainly because a) you don’t have to go through all that messing about with getting the charcoal lit and up to temperature (and yes, traditionalists, we know that’s part of the fun…) and b) because it’s a lot easier to get a constant and even heat, which is going to generally result in evenly cooked food.
Whether you’re using charcoal or gas as your BBQ fuel, having a barbecue with a hood is a real plus, because it means everything will heat up much more quickly – we’ve probably all hosted or been to barbecues where nothing’s ready to eat until well after the time we’re usually tucked up in bed.
Getting the temperature right
If you want to turn out results that are really going to impress your guests, you need to put in a bit more effort than just throwing everything on at roughly the right moment, and then turning and serving it as it reaches vaguely pre-determined shades of black.
If you’re using charcoal, you want to be cooking over burning embers, not flames. And whether you’re using charcoal or gas, you want to aim for a temperature of between 200 and 250°C. That high heat means that any meat that you’re cooking will retain a lot more of its moisture and flavour. Naturally, that’s going to be a lot easier when you’re using BBQ gas bottles as your heat source is steady and easier to control than charcoal.
Don’t forget the veggies and vegans!
It can be easy for some of the more traditional households holding a barbecue party to overlook the fact that there’s a very good chance that one or more of their guests may not eat meat and won’t want to miss out entirely because of it. If that’s going to be the case with your barbecue, make sure you have somewhere separate to cook their food so that it doesn’t get animal fats on it.
And while you’re at it, vegetables shouldn’t just be there as an afterthought, a token effort for the veggies or as a side dish. There are many vegetables that are just as well suited to the barbecue as steaks, sausages and burgers – corn on the cob, peppers, aubergine and asparagus are all ideal healthy additions to the carnivore staples.
Turn your summer barbecue into a success with BBQ gas bottles and other BBQ fuel from KG Smith & Son (Coal Merchants UK) – we can deliver straight to your home in Northampton, London or Cambridge so that you’re ready whenever the temperature looks like it might rise to barbecue levels. Contact us today to find out more.