Christian Stevenson, otherwise known as DJ BBQ, has been gracing our Instagram feed since his first book, Fire Food, came out in 2018. He has stormed the internet with his delicious food, fabulous outfits, top tips and tricks to barbecue – and we're big fans!
We asked DJ BBQ to Get His Cook On over on our Instagram Live, cooking his delicious Alabama White Sauce Chicken, and encouraging everyone to join in! Here we've rounded up our fave answers to your questions so you don't miss out…
What's your best barbecue tip?
Cook to temp, not to time. Everybody’s always asked me, ‘hey I’ve got this steak, I’ve got this grill, how long I gotta cook it for?’ And I’m like, ‘barbecue is done when it’s done’. So, I kinda feel my meat, I give it a poke. With steaks I just keep probing. Same with the chicken – I’ll keep probing to make sure it’s at a safe temperature. I cook big fat rib-eyes to about 48, 49, 50 degrees then I pull em off.
How do you season your barbecued meat?
I don’t pepper meat at the beginning because on a hot grill, pepper will burn and it’ll taste acrid. So, when I’m grilling a steak, it’s no pepper till the end, cos when it’s resting, it’s still cooking.
How do you barbecue when it’s windy if you don’t have a lid?
Always the half and half technique – charcoal on one side, new charcoal on the other. Same when you’re doing steaks, or anything. That way, when the fats render off the chicken and the steak, you’re gonna get major flare-ups and you don’t wanna burn your food. It’s ok to kiss the food with the flames though, so move the food to the indirect side.
Can you use any kind of chicken?
You know what I did for this recipe? I got everything from Asda. I got drumsticks, thighs – thighs are, like, my favourite – my kids like breasts so I got some breasts, but I always say the sweetest meat is next to the bone.
How do you cook a whole chicken?
Death Star technique! Remember Star Wars? That’s how you want your grill set up. Half and half – charcoal on both sides and no charcoal in the middle. That way the chicken sits over indirect heat. And then you put the lid on, meaning you turn your outdoor grill into an outdoor oven. So, season your chicken, bit of olive oil, whatever your seasonings are, and just cook it until it’s done – until it’s 74 degrees Celsius.
Who would you love to invite around for a barbecue right now?
If I had my perfect crew it would be Jimi Hendrix, Robert Plant and Dolly Parton. That’s my crew.
What’s your fave barbecue dessert?
I like to grill apples and then I put on some maple syrup or golden syrup, and then maybe some crushed or toasted pistachios. I like fruit.
What are your thoughts on barbecued bananas?
Barbecue bananas man! Here’s what you do. You open the banana and you slice into it and you put a bunch of chocolate in there, you wrap it with foil and you throw it in – it’s a really great dessert. Or peaches! Grill ’em, and then add vanilla ice cream. Amazing! Maybe sprinkle some cinnamon on there.
What is your favourite steak?
Rib eye. So I’ll kinda break the meat away from the bone, where that fat rib is, and I’ll take a knife and I’ll score the fat, and to me that is it. Then you want a really, really hot grill. Remember: half and half technique. Get that sear, build that crust then move it to the indirect side.
How do you avoid over-cooking meat?
Pull it off before it’s where you want it. So, if you want medium-rare, like 54 degrees, pull it off at 48, 49, cos then it’ll rise in temperature. I smack it, I score it, and then I hit it hot and I just keep trying to bring up that temp, building that beautiful crust, that caramelisation, render the fats cos you don’t wanna bite into luke-warm fat, you want those fats to render so they’re savoury and umami.
Any good dishes for barbecue leftovers?
So when I’m done with the barbecue, I’ll throw some garlic in there away from the coals, then I’ll throw some wood on to get the wood smoke flavour and I’ll put a load of potatoes in there - they make great chips, hash browns, or home fries. The next day you get a frying pan, you get it nice and hot, throw some vegetable oil in there, throw the chunked up potatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms and if you want to add some lardons or bacon bits or chorizo you can do that! Get the nice colour on there and then fry an egg and put it on top of the home fries. Oh my gosh!