My husband and I excitedly wait for the weather to turn just so we can start grilling our meals. At the first slight drop in temperature and the feel of a beautiful breeze, we uncover and fire that baby up and, depending on how adventurous we want to be, we either use our Webber gas or our charcoal grill to mark the start of the BBQ season!
One of my favourite barbecuing moments, which also truly epitomizes our passion for it, happened when I was eight months pregnant with our second child while we were living in Boston. It was snowing like mad but it was New Year’s Eve and we had to celebrate. My husband courageously went out in his black puffer jacket and beanie, and shoveled out a perfect square shape on our porch large enough to fit our Weber. He then stood under the falling snowflakes with an umbrella barbecuing perfectly grilled, delicious filet tenderloins.
Here I share are my three top BBQ tips:
Choose a grill that fits your personality!
If you’re the laid back type who enjoys taking time to do things right and loves experimenting with woodchips and flavours, and believes that getting someplace is half the fun, then charcoal is the grill for you. But if you’re the efficient type who decides on dinner last minute, prefers to throw spontaneous parties, and wants to able to grill anything at any time – then a gas grill is your best bet.
Whatever you decide to buy, never buy a grill without a cover!
Baby, light my fire!
There are two types of heat: direct, which is generated from below (charcoal or gas) and there’s reflected: which is brought about when your grill is covered. Depending on the food item you’re grilling, you’ll require more of one or the other. If you’re grilling vegetables, a quick direct heat will suffice, while if you’re cooking a few T-bone steaks, direct heat on its own will only burn your steak on the outside before the inside has a chance to cook. Cooking delicate protein like fish and seafood requires the least amount of direct heat and the most amount of reflected heat. For example, a 2kg filet of salmon with its skin still intact as added protection can be cooked on gentle direct heat, while individual bone-in salmon filets will need to be cooked in hinged wire baskets with more indirect heat generated by closing the cover.
Regardless of which type of grill you choose, the most important tip is managing the heat inside your grill.
Get the Must-Have Tools!
A grill brush is one tool that you will use at every grilling session. The brush usually comes with a scraper at the end to get off the really stubborn stuff.
Also essential for grilling are tongs; but make sure you invest in long ones – say 14 to 16 inches – with scalloped ends for a better grip.
Spatulas are must-haves for flipping burgers, but they have to be made of a stay-cool wood that is thin enough to slide under a piece of food.
Thermometers are very handy as they will tell you when the food is ready to take off the grill. Invest in a heat-proof meat thermometer that you can insert into the food, or an instant-read thermometer which will give you the internal temperature of a food in a matter of seconds.
Other useful items include barbecue mitts, a barbecue fork, a basting brush, a herbal basting brush for added flavour, drip pans and heavy duty aluminium foil.