How to Create a Stress-Free BBQ Experience
1. Tongs? Check! Tasteful frilly apron? Check! Fuel? Err... hold on...
It’s important to do everything within your power (and bank account) to prep and grill safely and effectively. Protect yourself with heat resistant gloves and an apron, as a BBQ can reach temperatures of up to 400°C. To reduce the risks of injury even more, select utensils (tongs, forks, skewers etc.) with longer handles, so that you’re able to keep your body and arms further from the heat source. Of course, do make sure you’ve actually got a barbecue grill to cook with - bit pointless otherwise!
Forgot the fuel?
For last minute purchases, use White Horse Express service for parcel deliveries that arrive the next working day if you order before 7.30pm. Matt Stretch, our own Head of Sales and Operations, had this to say:
“...This is perfect for disorganised people like me who have remembered to buy burgers and beer but have forgotten the charcoal!”
If you only remember on the day of the BBQ, then it’s too late – we deliver high quality products, not miracles!
2. Set up your cooking area outdoors.
First port of call: make sure you’re setting up everything outdoors, and not in an enclosed area or under a canopy. Avoid all small spaces and put your BBQ on a non-flammable surface. Seems obvious, but we’ve seen enough YouTube videos to know that people need to be told this from time to time! You’ll need to consider whether the space you choose to cook in will have a high amount of “traffic” - be mindful of how people may need to move around you while you’re standing at the grill. Be especially aware of children and animals, as they won’t be as wary of a hazardous sizzling tray of coals as an adult.
Yes, we know it can rain sometimes. No, we can’t control the weather.
3. Make sure those coals are a - glowin’.
A non-toxic solid fuel is essential for a traditional BBQ; You can use bagged lumps of charcoal for that quick heat-up duration or use charcoal briquettes to create a longer lasting heat. Both supply consistent heat for an evenly cooked meat joint. Use a couple of firelighters to get started - when lit, they will burn for 8 to 10 minutes to really get that flame blazing. White Horse energy sells these in packs of 50, 200 and 500 on our White Horse Express page. They’re incredibly versatile and a fool-proof necessity for even the most seasoned BBQer. The flames will soon lick around the coals or briquette and generate some impressive heat.
4. Direct grilling.
You can choose between direct or indirect cooking methods, but this is the classic method. Grilling takes a maximum of 20 minutes on a high heat. Any longer and you risk your food becoming charred and inedible. The direct method is ideal for a perfect rare steak – sear both sides and you’re good to go. Our lumpwood charcoal creates a beautiful smoky flavour and you can cook directly on the coals (at your own risk) to truly saturate the meat and make everyone’s mouths water in anticipation.
5. Indirect cooking.
When the coals are placed on one side of the grill, this gives you the option to choose between methods. You can continue directly grilling other ingredients while your meat slowly cooks all the way through on the other side, retaining its temperature and smoky flavour. This will result in a delicious tender meat that falls off the bone and will guarantee that your cousins will love you to the fridge and back (if not the moon).
6. Cooking larger joints.
For food that usually relies on an oven (bread, a whole roast chicken, casserole) you need not waste that heat on your BBQ. Place charcoal or briquettes either side of the grill, leaving a gap in the middle. You can also add a drip tray containing a small amount of water to maintain the heat for longer and catch any drips from the food. If cooking with charcoal on one side, make sure to rotate your meat regularly for an even cook. Ecoblaze charcoal briquettes are ideal for this method, as they have an unmatched burn duration, and the desired temperature can be maintained for hours.
7. Check the temperature regularly.
It's a good measure to use a meat thermometer, as this makes checking your meat much simpler, instead of guessing how well-done your burger is. As a general rule, monitor the cooking process by measuring its internal temperature instead of timing the cooking duration. but you can roast on lower temperatures by using indirect grilling methods for larger joints of meat that take longer to cook.
8. Clean up that mess.
Residual grot stuck to the grill can be removed by simply turning the heat up high and letting it all burn off. If this doesn’t work, then wait ‘til your BBQ has cooled and wipe away remaining dirt using a special BBQ cleaner and a soft cloth. Don’t use abrasive sponges or scours as these could damage the metal and ceramic surfaces. But whatever you do, clean up as soon as you can, as this will ensure your BBQ will remain in good condition and will be one less thing to worry about the next time you use it.
9. Cool off, mate!
Coal takes a while to cool down – briquettes take even longer. First, remove the grate/grill with the tongs, then smother the coals to starve them of oxygen and let them cool down for 12 hours or more. You can close the lid on your grill to do this. It’s best to leave it overnight before disposing of it. It's important to be aware that it could take up to 24 hours for all the heat to escape, so don’t dispose of your fuel unless you’re certain there are no embers left that could start a fire.
If you’re still not a level-headed grill extraordinaire after reading this, remember to keep practising.