It can be a small gathering, a birthday party, or as we come into the confirmation and communion time of the year, a large social gathering. For us, this will be our 3rd communion, so I’ll share some of the tips I have picked up along the way.
Fill me in on any of your tips.
First Things First: Start With a Clean Grill
- Turn on the grill to high for 10 minutes and close the hood. This will help burn off any old food on the grill plates and vaporizing bars.
- Let the BBQ cool down and then using a grill brush, wipe off any old food residue.
- Remove grills and clean with warm soapy water and a non-abrasive metal pad.
- Remove the large grease tray and grease cup and wash down with soapy water.
- If your BBQ has a viewing window, also wash this down with a slightly abrasive nylon pad and warm water.
Preheating the BBQ Don’t Skip this one. Always preheat your grill with the lid closed for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Preheating your BBQ will also prevent food from sticking to the grate and gets the grate hot enough to sear properly.
Keeping the Hood Down It keeps in all that smokiness that develops with fat and the tasty juices on the vaporising bars. It also maintains the correct temperature which is essential for grilling.
Create a Heat Zone Ideally, you want to have one section at high heat to sear the outside of foods and one at medium to low heat to cook them thoroughly. Always and I mean Always make sure the food is cooked through thoroughly before serving. A digital thermometer is your best friend here.
Fire does marvellous things to vegetables too if you get the technique right. I recommend grilling them over a medium heat. Try avoiding high heat because if you take your eye off them for too long, they will burn. What you want is that lovely charring along the bars – it looks amazing and tastes out of this world. Actually, vegetables are one of my favourite things to grill. However, sometimes when there small, they can occasionally fall through the grill. So, for small veggies you can wrap them together in tinfoil pack. Remember to brush your vegetables with olive oil before placing them on the grill.
For a juicy burger, using your thumb gently push down the middle of burger and simply place an ice cube in the middle of the burger before cooking. The reason for this is that meat will absorb the water as it melts and leave you with a nice, juicy burger. For some extra added flavour, add some butter on top of the ice cube.
Don’t cut the fat! Fat is flavour, and in a grilled hamburger it really does matter. 20% is ideal but you can get away with 15% too. When you use lower fat, it can cause the burgers to fall apart, and it just won’t taste as good.!
Let’s not forget fish. Fish and smoke are outstanding together. Throw some Apple and Rum wood chips in the smoker and personally witness the transformation. You can grill fish in foil parcels, or my favourite way is to put a seabass fillet in our fish basket. It will be cooked through, but you will also have a crispy skin. Not only is it easy but it’s very impressive looking. Like grilling meats, a good produce is half the work. Try use your local fishmonger for best results. We are lucky to have Roberts beside us – fish at its finest!
Chicken isn’t all that hard to cook, but some people do it wrong on the BBQ. For delicious chicken that is crispy on the outside and so juicy on the inside, use a low heat and remember to turn often.
Everybody loves sausages, you want them to be crisp and golden outside and cooked all the way through the middle, but still moist and juicy. To achieve this, you will start with low heat, and then end with a higher heat. This will leave a nice sear for taste and colour. Make sure you leave enough space between them so you can turn them easily. You will need to turn them constantly. Always try to use a good a good quality sausage for the best result. I love the Italian sausages from James Whelan Butchers. Delish!
Lets get to know your Grill..
- Grill Plates– The Grill plates are what you cook on. They are made from cast iron and are heavy
- Warming rack– sits at the back of the grill, meant for placing food that is done and to be kept warm
- Stainless Steel Burners– the most important part of your grill as this is where the flame comes from
- Vaporising bars – metal guards that protect the burners from falling grease and food particles
- Control knobs– depending on your grill you could have 2-4. If you have a BBQ with a side burner, there will be a separate one for that also.
- Grease tray– full-length tray under the burners that catches everything
- Grease Cup – a small cup (under the grease tray) that catches grease to minimize flare-ups
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