Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to barbecue

Cooking food on a barbecue is the perfect way to enjoy cooking and dining. This blog reveals how to cook on a charcoal and gas barbecue.

If you simply want to see which are the best barbecues for grilling great-tasting food, head straight to Buying the Best BBQ.

How to light a charcoal BBQ

Pile the charcoal into a mound under the centre of the grill, placing a few natural firelighters at easy-to-reach points. Light the charcoal and open the vents in the basin - this will allow air to circulate, which will help the fire to burn hotter.

Leave the charcoal to burn for around 20 - 30 minutes, or until the flame has died and the charcoal is glowing and covered in a layer of white ash.

Use a metal rake or pair of tongs to spread the coals evenly across the charcoal grate – this will help deliver an even heat across the grill above.
Use the vents on a charcoal BBQ to adjust heat levels.

How to barbecue over charcoal 

Close the vents and place food at the centre of the grill. Start with items that will take the longest to cook, such as chicken pieces. Grill meat – turning it continuously – until it has browned evenly.

Hooded BBQ's

If the barbecue has a hood, move food to the edges of the grill and put the hood on. This traps heat inside and helps cook food all the way through. It will also help food cook more quickly.

Exact cooking times will vary depending on the food you’re cooking and how much heat your barbecue generates. As a rough guide, sausages and burgers will need around five minutes to cook through; chunkier meat, such as chicken thighs, will need about 10 minutes and larger cuts and joints of meat will take 20 minutes or longer.

BBQ grills

Barbecues without hoods may have height-adjustable grills which allow you to adjust the cooking temperature. You can move the grill towards charcoal for more heat, or move it away to lower the temperature.

How to barbecue over gas

Light the burners and turn them up to full power. If there’s a hood, close it – this will help the barbecue heat up more quickly.

The temperature needs to reach 200-250°C before you start cooking. Depending on how powerful the barbecue is and whether or not it has a hood, it will take around 10 – 20 minutes to heat up.

Turn the heat down a little and place food at the centre of the grill. Cook meat until it has browned evenly on all sides, then lower the heat and close the hood to help food cook through.

Top gas tips:

Some gas models come with lava rocks – these vaporise meat and marinade juices dripping from the grill which infuses food with a deliciously char-grilled flavour.

Choose a powerful gas barbecue that can generate a high heat so food cooks through quickly. This will help meat retain its moisture and flavour.

Warming racks on gas barbecues are ideal for resting quick-cooking food away from the heat while meat is finishing off on the grill.

If you want to buy a gas grill and find the best one for your budget, see our Best BBQ Buys Section.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Winter Grilling: The Winter BBQ

More cooking enthusiasts are taking the winter barbecue challenge—adjusting their regular barbecue routine to take winter grilling to an up scale entertaining experience.

Gas grills make winter grilling practical, and is leading to more experiments with winter parties thrown in part on decks and patios. The winter barbecue is an opportunity for guests to brace the beauty of a winter night and then head inside for cozy comfort.

Grill aficionados say it makes sense to grill outdoors when the temperatures dip. "It's a lot more pleasant to stand next to a grill when it's chilly than when it's 100 degrees," says Darrell Boyd, a BBQ enthusiast.

Winter grilling has practical benefits. It frees up oven space for side dishes and desserts. Kitchen clean up is minimized. And a beer tucked into the snow stays very cold for the grill master.

Successful grilling in winter takes more planning than in summer. Think about what to wear. Dress for warmth and ease, experts say. Tuck in tassels and flaps and keep scarves, gloves, sleeves away from flames. Wear shoes or boots that are easy to put on and take off as you toggle between inside and out. 

Winter Grilling Tips:

No matter where you park your grill in summer, move it closer to the back door in winter— But keep it clear of exterior walls of the house. And definitely don't be tempted to grill in the garage, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. In snowy regions, keep a shovel handy so you can dig a direct path to the grill.

Grills take longer to warm up in cold weather. If it takes a grill 10 minutes in summer to preheat to a temperature of 600 degrees Fahrenheit—ideal for searing burgers or chicken breasts—it might take 15 or 20 minutes in winter.

Resist the urge, even more than in summer, to open the grill top and check on how things are progressing. It brings temperatures down quickly, requiring more cooking time.

Enjoy your Winter Grilling.

If you want to buy a gas grill and find the best one for your budget, see our Best BBQ Buys Section.