Don't be a slave to the BBQ this summer - upgrade your title to the ultimate king or queen of the grill.
Yes. You can do it. Scrub down that barbecue, get a group of hungry friends round and amaze them with your incredible outdoor cooking skills.
Here are some genius tips and tricks that you'll need to start you on your rise to the top of the grilling game.
Even if your BBQ is a last-minute affair, there's no excuse for not marinating your meat. Marinades add flavour, moisture and just a general bit of pizzazz to your backyard party.
Even if you don’t have a few hours to let those flavours infuse into your steaks and chicken, even 15 minutes in a ziplock bag with the marinade will do a world of good. Rubs are also a great time-saving option, as you don’t need to leave them to sit once they’re massaged into the meat!
Don’t know where to start? Check out our 4 favourite marinated BBQ mains here, including a tasty veggie option….
Blast your burgers
Worried about your patties breaking apart on the grill? Pop them in the freezer for five minutes just before cooking. Not only will it help them keep their shape, but they'll also stay lovely and juicy in the middle. Just make sure you add a few more minutes cooking time to make sure they are cooked through.
Double up skewers
Double up your skewers to halve the level of effort needed. Not only will you gain more control over the food you’re flipping, but that pesky cherry tomato on the end of the skewer is less likely to drop off thanks to the extra support. Genius!
Baste your meat using brushes made of fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme for added flavour and extra juiciness. Tie the herbs together to make a dense, medium-sized brush to dip into olive oil or sticky BBQ sauce and add some more colour and flavour to your goods. Creative AND practical in one!
No more fishy issues
Some trusty slices of lemon are all you need to stop your fishy option from sticking to the bars and flaking into pieces. Chances are you’ve already got some on hand — whether it’s for jugs of Pimm’s, cola for the kids or some classic G&Ts. Not only will the lemon add moisture to the fish, but it will also give it that lovely zesty flavour, too. Winner winner, fishy dinner!
Stop the burn!
We all love some tasty charr marks on our BBQed sausages, but not TOO many… Slow down the cooking process and help the inside of your meat catch up with the outside with a handy spray bottle. Fill the bottle with water - or, for a tastier option, try apple juice - to add moisture to the outside and slow down the colouring process.
Give it a rest
Just like meat cooked in the oven, your BBQed goods will need to rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the moisture tucked right into the centre of the meat to re-disperse through the whole sausage/burger/steak/chicken leg, giving you a juicier and tastier bite.
Keep it clean
When all’s said and done and the guests have gone home, all you’re left with is some dying embers, a few greasy napkins and that ghastly grill that’s in need of a scrub. No one wants to be left with the latter task, but the de-greasing job isn’t actually as nasty as you might think when you know what you’re doing.
While your grill still has some heat, or when you next fire up your BBQ for your next soirée, attach half an onion, flat side facing down, to the end of a fork and rub over the hot bars of the grill. The onion releases plenty of water that steam-cleans the bars, helping to release charred on debris and unwanted sticky marks. Not only will it save your from scrubbing for hours at the sink, but it also means that you can clean your grill without any nasty chemicals that could transfer into the food you cook next time. Perfect!