Tuesday, September 1, 2009

10 Great Grilling Tips for the Tailgate Season

These 10 top tips will help you to enjoy your barbecues during the warmer months and will help to improve both the safety and the quality of your occasions with very little effort.

1. Oiling the grill

Prior to cooking, spray or brush on some vegetable oil onto the grill surface, avoiding adding too much. This will reduce the chances of your food sticking to the grill resulting in exposed flesh, and tough food.

2. Aluminium foil BBQ tray

Use kitchen aluminium foil, doubled over, to line the base of your barbecue.

Turn up the edges of the "tray" 2-3 inches, and then cook on your barbecue grill as usual. During cooking, the juices and fat drippings will collect with the rest of the residues from cooking and be easy to remove afterwards.

This will help to reduce the time it takes to clean up your garden barbecue afterwards.

3. Barbecue Sauces

If you are basting your food during cooking with a barbecue sauce, make sure that you do not place the meat too close to the heat too early on during cooking. If you do, it will result in charring and bitter tasting food.

Adding BBQ sauce early on does nothing for the flavor, instead, add a little sauce to food during the end of cooking, around 5-10 minutes before serving so that the sauce sticks to the meat properly and provide a tasty coating.

4. Barbecue marinades

Marinades improve the flavor and texture of all barbecue food, so use them often. Preparing for a barbecue the following day using a few minutes of your time in the evening will result in more succulent food with additional taste.

Marinades take a few minutes to prepare, and when finished, you can cover the marinaded food in cling-film and place in the fridge overnight for excellent results.

5.Cooking small pieces of meat

If possible, cook smaller pieces of meat indirectly, and if not, cook on a low heat around the edges of the grill while you cook the larger pieces in the centre of the grill where the heat is higher.

If smaller pieces of meat, such as chicken wings and sausages are cooked before a whole chicken, or beef brisket, remove them from the grill, wrap tightly in kitchen foil, and place in the bottom of the oven on 120f until you are ready to serve.

6.Cooking large pieces of meat

When cooking larger pieces of meat, apply a seasoning, known as a barbecue rub, prior to cooking. This will enhance the flavour greatly at the end. If time allows, cook the meat for an extended period of time, using a much lower temperature than may be used normally. Ensure that meat is cooked properly at the end by using a temperature probe.

Chicken is cooked through at 165f, steaks and chops at 165f and ham at 160f. Using a barbecue thermometer to test your cooked meat is both a sensible safety precaution and is a great investment for the kitchen as well.

7. Make a dry rub or barbecue seasoning

To maximise the flavour from barbecue food, you can use a "dry rub", also known as a seasoning on the meat prior to cooking.

Dry rubs can consist of as little as salt and ground black pepper, to much more flavoursome varieties that include dry spices such as ginger, cinnamon, garlic, thyme, sage, paprika, ground cumin and many others.

Try experimenting with dry seasoning's, and remember that a little goes a long way. If you have any seasoning left over afterwards, seal it in an airtight container and store in a dry, cool place for several weeks.

8. Use Barbecue wood chips

If your barbecue grill has a lid, or cover of some sort, consider using BBQ wood chips, remembering to prepare them properly before use.

Moisten the wood chips before use by placing a handful or two according to the manufacturers instructions, into a bowl of water, allowing them to soak for at least half an hour before use in your BBQ smoker or garden barbecue.

Avoid placing unprepared wood chips directly onto charcoal or near a direct heat source as they will burn quickly and release a bitter tasting smoke that could ruin your food.

9. Eating healthily

Avoid drinking milk during the course of a barbecue as this slows down digestion of food. Instead try drinking other beverages that complement the food you are cooking, such as imported lagers and ales, white and rose wines, spritzers and fruit cordials for younger guests.

Ensure that excess fat has been trimmed away from all meats before cooking, and once cooked, food may be gently patted down with kitchen towel to remove any excess surface fats before serving. The food will look more appetizing and result in healthy BBQ food at the same time.

10. Safety first

Ensuring your friends and families safety at a barbecue is paramount, and a few basic precautions will go a long way if an accident should occur.

Always have a bucket of water near the grill when cooking. This is fine for use on a charcoal or gas barbecue, and remember to use sand on an electric barbecues should a fire occur.

Fire blankets are an inexpensive and versatile piece of safety equipment that can be used in both the kitchen and the garden, and are readily available at most D.I.Y. stores.

Use tongs when handling food over a hot grill to avoid burns, and use oven mitts when handling hot griddle plates and other items that are too hot to the touch.

We hope you have found these tips useful and enjoy making the most of your BBQ. Feel free to share this with your friends so they can benefit too.

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