Top 12 Dos and Don’ts to Master BBQ Meat
BBQ season is well underway, and although we'd all like to think we know exactly what we're doing at the grill - we've certainly ended up with more cremated sausages than we'd like to admit! Luckily, our list of dos and don'ts is here to make sure you master the grill and serve up the very best BBQ meat.
Do choose your BBQ wisely
If you’re in the market for a new barbecue, we’d highly recommend opting for a charcoal one. It's not that there's anything wrong with gas grills, but a charcoal grill will make sure your food has that authentic smoky BBQ flavour. It’s also important that your BBQ has a lid, as this will keep the temperature constant and the meat tender.
Don’t overlook the charcoal
Far too often, us Brits end up leaving charcoal as an afterthought. It might be convenient to pick up whatever you can get your hands on at the local shop or petrol station - but if you really want to impress your guests - take your fuel seriously.
Lump charcoal is a safe choice for any BBQ as it’s fast-lighting and has a burn time of around an hour. Briquettes burn for up to 3 hours and are better suited to those BBQ meat cuts that require a slow roast.
If you're really looking to take your BBQ to the next level, we'd highly recommend wood chips. Soak them in water beforehand and toss them onto hot coals when it's time to start cooking. Hickory and oak give meat that traditional smoky flavour that works so well with poultry and fish, while cherry and apple wood offer a certain sweetness that compliments pork very nicely.
Do use the right tools
Tools are definitely somewhat of a status symbol for the seasoned BBQ chef. Here’s our recommended tool checklist and how to use them:
- Long-handled tongs with heat resistant handles: So you can move meats on and off the grill with ease.
- Temperature probe: It can be tough telling when BBQ meat is cooked through - a probe makes sure you get the perfect finish every time.
- Barbecue gloves: The true sign of a pro, gloves mean you can comfortably rearrange coals and handle hot food.
- Herb brush: Use some twine to attach your favourite fresh herbs (we like rosemary, thyme or parsley) to a wooden spoon. Dip in a little olive oil and brush over the raw meat before it hits the grill.
Don’t forget to prepare
Preparation is the key to a successful BBQ, especially if you're expecting a few guests! Plan ahead of time to make sure everyone is well-fed, starting with a burger, sausage and skewer for everyone. If you do end up with leftover food, chicken, steaks and chops keep well in the fridge and are ideal for mid-week meals.
Do choose the best BBQ meat
From the traditional hot dogs and burgers, to the racks of ribs and Ribeye steaks that take a little more BBQ expertise... There are plenty of types of BBQ meat to choose from and you shouldn't shy away from a little experimentation.
Steak is always a popular choice on the BBQ, but what's the best cut? If you like your steak juicy, opt for a thicker cut and avoid a T-bone. Ribeye is always a good idea as the rich marbling leads to intense flavour, but you can still enjoy deliciously succulent results with sirloin or fillet.
Burgers are a BBQ staple, but they're not all made equal. Show your guests that you take your meat seriously. This 100% British beef burger has been expertly crafted to deliver restaurant-level quality at home. Don't slack on the sausages either, offer your guests a few enticing variations such as lamb and mint and pork and chilli alongside some classic Cumberlands.
Don’t start too late
Lighting the BBQ too late is one of the most common BBQ mistakes, and one that often leads to guests filling up on nibbles before the main event. Barbecues take 30 minutes or so to reach a cookable temperature, so don’t wait until your hungry guests have arrived before you get started! It’s always better to light the barbecue earlier rather than later, as you can keep the cooked food warm in a low oven when necessary.
Do marinate, marinate, marinate!
Marinades are a genius way to tenderize meats and infuse them with exceptional flavour. There are a variety of homemade and shop-bought marinades to choose from and most recipes recommend you leave your meats in them overnight. You can, however, make your life that bit easier with our range of pre-marinated meats that come primed, prepped and ready-for-the-grill.
Choose from ribs, wings, drumsticks or thighs that have been seasoned to perfection in BBQ, Chinese or garlic butter marinades. And if that's got your mouth watering, why not supercharge your next BBQ! Get a selection of our very best BBQ meat delivered direct to your door for an unmissable price.
Don’t BBQ meat straight out of the fridge
Another common BBQ blunder is putting chilled meat and fish straight on the grill, which more often than not results in a burnt outside and uncooked centre. Make sure your meat is cooked to perfection by taking it out the fridge at least 20 minutes before grilling, giving it plenty of time to lose its chill.
Do check BBQ cooking times for meat
Do you sometimes just toss things on the grill and hope for the best? It's easily done, especially when you're busy enjoying a sunny day and good company. However, to make the most of your meats it is vital that you check the cooking times.
Cooking times usually depend on the type of meat, the thickness of the cut and the desired done-ness. For instance, steaks and burgers require each side to be seared on a high heat, before cooking on a lower heat until the middle reaches your desired done-ness. It's also good to bear in mind that although your meat may look done on the outside, it could still be raw on the inside. If you don't have a temperature probe, don't be afraid to slice into pork and chicken to check if the juices are running clear.
Don’t direct cook your thick cuts
Direct cooking is the basic method for cooking meat on a BBQ. It involves placing your meat directly over the heat, and it is great for thin cuts like burgers, steaks, fish and sausages. However, your thicker cuts will taste so much better when cooked using the indirect method.
The indirect cooking method is a bit more advanced, but easy to do once you know how! You simply wait till your coals are warm and separate them into two piles at opposite ends of your grill. Then place your drip tray underneath the grill and between the coals, and place your meat on the grill above the drip tray. Your barbecue will act as an oven, making sure your meat is slowly roasted to perfection.
Do rest your meat
If you want your steak, poultry, pork chops and tenderloin to be as juicy and flavoursome as possible, make sure you leave time to rest your meat! Once your meat has cooked, put it on a foil covered tray and stick it on the top rack of your BBQ - this will raise the temperature inside the meat and ensure a succulent finish.
Don’t forget the sides!
The meat may be the main event, but no BBQ is complete without an appetizing selection of tasty sides. Corn on the cobs are always an easy addition to the grill, as are a few baked potatoes or vegetable kebabs. Make sure you have a good selection of cold accompaniments too, such as coleslaw, potato salad and cheeses.
And there you have it, our top 12 BBQ dos and don'ts. There's nothing better than a good summer BBQ and now yours will be foolproof!