Prevent some literal and metaphorical fires before they even start.
Much as barbecue vibes are immaculate, achieving said vibes can invite a lot of stress into the Head Barbecuer's life. Whether it's food cooking too fast, too slow, or not realising its full potential in the absence of herbs and spices, there's unfortunately a lot that can go wrong when barbecuing.
We have all been to a barbecue where things have gone all too wrong. I can count on one hand the amount of barbecues I've attended where there hasn't been complete meltdown for the cook and/or their sous chef. Luckily, we have some top barbecue hacks from David Rice, Development Chef at The Pavilion in Ballygarvan, who is going to let us in on some home truths when it comes to this delicate art.
1. Crank up the heat
Preheating the grill is essential for ensuring even cooking and preventing food from sticking. Allow the grill to heat up for 10-15 minutes before placing any food on it.
2. Think Big
Don't be afraid to cook a large joint of meat on the BBQ if feeding a lot of people. It's easier to manage a large roast than 8 individual steaks.
3. Marinate and season
Marinating your meat or vegetables prior to grilling adds incredible flavour. Use your favourite marinades or create your own with a mix of herbs, spices, oil, and acid like lemon juice. Don't forget to season your food with salt and pepper just before grilling.
4. Direct and indirect heat
Set up your grill with different heat zones by placing coals or burners on one side for direct high heat and leaving the other side cooler for indirect cooking. This allows you to have more control over the cooking process and prevents overcooking or burning.
5. Use a meat thermometer
To ensure your meat is safe to eat and cooked to perfection, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. This way, you can avoid undercooked or overcooked meat. Nothing spells failed barbecue like group food poisoning, and a meat thermometer will really help you avoid this unsavoury outcome.
6. Let it rest
After grilling, allow your meat to rest for a few minutes before slicing or serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a succulent and more flavourful final product. Experiment with flavours: Don't be afraid to get creative and experiment with different flavours. Try adding wood chips or herbs to your grill for a smoky or aromatic touch.
So there you have it, the six expert hacks for all those who dare to barbecue during this heatwave. We hope they help you put out, or totally prevent a few fires, metaphorical or otherwise.
Header image via Getty Images