You know summer has truly arrived when the smell of a distant BBQ wafts overhead, the intoxicating aroma makes your belly rumble in jealousy. It’s one of our favourite ways to cook and to eat, gathering with loved ones, tongs in hand, watching the flames lick the succulent steaks, sausages blipping and chicken wings crisping up to perfection. It’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon with friends and family, soaking up the summer rays and devouring some tasty goods.
Get fired up, here are our top ten tips for hosting an epic BBQ this summer…
1. Patience - There’s no rushing a BBQ, in fact, part of the charm and the reason we love one is that it’s an event, it's nice to spend time caring for the food whilst chatting away to loved ones, with a crisp beer in one hand and tongs in the other.
2. Timings - Planning your timings for each individual cut of meat before you light the BBQ will help to keep your food nice and tasty and will avoid anything becoming cremated. Grab a little piece of paper and jot down what will take the longest to cook as you'll want to pop that baby on first.
3. Marinades and rubs - Part of the excitement of a BBQ is to add a kick of your own flair, imparting your favourite flavours and proudly tucking into a burger once it’s cushioned into a soft bap, with a dash of a tasty condiment. Rubs and marinades are a fantastic way to do this, our favourite for this summer is a Brazilian take on the classic chicken wing. In a pestle and mortar grind 3 cloves of garlic, along with a teaspoon of cumin, oregano, turmeric, coriander, cayenne pepper and salt. Mix to a paste and then add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Place a kilo of chicken wings into a deep dish and then coat them with the paste. Cover the dish and refrigerate ideally overnight or for an hour or so. Cook for about 30 mins on the BBQ
4. Get that temp bang on - Don’t be tempted to put anything on the BBQ until it’s nice and hot. That will ensure that what you cook will cook to the right timings and will get a nice crispness to the meat.
5. Test - We are big advocates of using meat thermometers, they are the perfect tool to use to check whether your meat is cooked through and to your liking without having to cut through the meat to see if it’s still pink. You can pick these up for a bargain online or in all good kitchen shops.
6. Rest - Just as important as the cooking times is the time you allow your meat to rest. It’s a vital step in getting it to optimum eating quality. You should rest what you cook for at least half of the time in which it took to cook it. You don't need to cover with any foil. This will keep it nice and juicy and mouthwateringly good.
7. Firepits- What you use to cook on is just as important as what you cook. Our favourite way to do a BBQ is to use one of our firepits from Dean Forge. They are the perfect way to huddle with loved ones, enjoying the warmth of the fire at any time of the year. We also love using ours for lots of midwinter gatherings. The firepits are brilliant for providing a tremendous heat and cook meat to perfection.
8. Sides - Sides are vital, full of flavour and texture they help to elevate a BBQ. Coleslaw is a big favourite amongst most, but homemade with some crisped up bacon takes it to another level. Baps, rolls, buns, a fluffy cushion in which to hold a burger, sausage or steak. Condiments, ketchup, mayo and BBQ sauce, delicious dips, sensational salads
9. Don't cook directly on the flames - Flames signal heat. However, you don't want to start cooking when the flames are roaring loudly. Instead what you want to look for is the heat coming from the coals or wood. The optimum temperature is when these are light grey and you can see a glow of orange from them. This means the heat will be consistent and what you cook will cook evenly. Flames will just lick the outside of the meat and char it making it trick you into thinking it's cooked inside when in fact the middle will still be very rare.
10. Waste not - If you end up with any leftover drumsticks, wings, burgers or more make sure to save those. The leftovers make the most incredible sandwich fillers for midweek meals. Simply get all the meat off of the bones, throw into a bowl with a bit of mayo, a dusting of paprika and pop into a buttered bap. Generously drizzle over some BBQ sauce and slice up some avocado. A delicious way to keep those BBQ vibes flowing.