With summer drawing to a close, the upcoming August bank holiday could be one of the final few chances to fire up the grill this year. Never one to pass up a BBQ, our Chef Director has shared some of his secrets ahead of the big weekend.
Here are five tips to take your bank holiday BBQ to the next level…
Marinate that meat
All good chefs know BBQ preparations begin long before the big day. Once you’ve selected your meats – chicken, beef or a nice leg of lamb never go amiss – it’s time to get marinating. Coat your cuts overnight for maximum flavour.
Simple ingredients can achieve big results; staples like lemon, lime, garlic and chilli are a great way to add flavour to your food. Set aside some of your marinade to rub onto the meats while they’re cooking on the grill.
Timing is everything
As with any type of cooking, timing is key. You’ll want to fire up the BBQ around 25 minutes before you start cooking, as it can take a while to arrive at the right temperature. Just before lighting the BBQ, you should also remove meats from the fridge to avoid the much-maligned ‘fridge chill’.
Think carefully about your different foods and establish an appropriate order for grilling before you get underway. For example, you’ll likely want to start with chicken and then finish with veggies.
Keep your eyes on the prize
Once you’ve got grilling, it’s important to keep a close eye on the BBQ. It may be tempting to go for a quick refill of your drink, but doing so for just a few moments could ruin your food (and you’ll miss out on the smoky aromas of the BBQ!)
If you find your food cooking at different speeds, you may need to move some items around to balance things out. For this reason, it’s wise to put all the coals on one side of the grill so you have a cooler area to place food that’s cooking ahead of schedule.
Don’t neglect the sides
The mains may take the acclaim, but your side dishes are just as important. From grilled corn on the cob to veggie kebabs and summer salads, this is where you can really cater to your vegetarian guests.
If you’ve decided to grill some vegetables, make sure to slice thin for that delicious charring on the exterior. No seasoning is required; you can always add some extra flavour in the form of olive oil once cooked.
Test and rest
Once your food has cooked, two stages remain: testing and resting. Kick off the first phase by plunging a knife into the meats to ensure that they’re fully cooked through and the juices run clear.
With testing complete, you can set aside the meat to rest for up to 10 minutes. This allows the meat to reabsorb the juices and ensures the finished article is as delicious as possible. Once the meat has rested, serve your food and savour your bank holiday BBQ!