There’s nothing we look forward to more than digging out the bbq at the beginning of summer, ready for a few months of dining outdoors in the sunshine. Barbecues are usually pretty casual affairs, but they still require a little bit of planning to make sure everything goes smoothly. Keep these simple BBQ tips in mind to make sure your next summer gathering with friends or family is one to remember.
Use a good quality barbecue
Don’t get caught out last-minute and have to run to the supermarket to pick up a disposable barbecue. Invest in a decent quality barbecue, especially if you’re planning to have lots of BBQs throughout the summer, which will cook the food really well. Go for a charcoal barbecue rather than a gas one, as the charcoal adds that extra special smoky BBQ flavour.
Don’t be tempted to chuck the food on the grill as soon as you’ve lit the barbecue. Wait until the coals have all turned grey and ashy, and are glowing white-hot. This creates the most even kind of heat and will ensure all your food is cooked properly. This usually takes around half an hour (depending on the type of coals and size of BBQ), so make sure to start the preparations in plenty of time before you need to cook.
Invest in some tools
To make things simpler and quicker, invest in a good pair of tongs, a fish slice, a wire brush for cleaning the barbecue and a good pair of oven gloves. Having a good set of tools will make it much easier to cook and serve the food, ensuring you don’t drop any food between the grills or burn yourself on the BBQ!
Plan your timings
In Britain, it’s best to barbecue mid-afternoon so you can make the most of the sunshine and have a leisurely BBQ without worrying about it getting cold or dark too soon. Leave time for the barbecue to heat up, and also think about how many “courses” you’re going to have. Don’t cook everything at once, but instead have a few mini courses to spread out the cooking (and the eating!) – this way the food will be perfectly cooked and won’t get cold, people won’t end up feeling too full after their first plate is piled high, and you get to nibble at lots of different tasty bites throughout the afternoon.
Have a varied menu
Everyone loves BBQ burgers and sausages, but there are plenty of other things which taste fantastic on the barbecue too. Fish works really well, as does marinated chicken. Don’t forget some veggies too – BBQ grilled vegetables are delicious and help to keep the meal fresh and summery. Remember to include plenty of sides too, like green salads, freshly baked bread and plenty of tasty chutneys or relishes. Check out our Ultimate Summer Barbecue Menu for some more inspiration.
Have you got any top tips for BBQing this summer?