Seven Tips for a Sizzling Summer Barbecue

Barbecue. Barbecue Tools. BBQ. Charcoal. gardening.
May 30, 2018 9:02 am

It’s time to make the most of those long, warm summer evenings by relaxing in the garden with some delicious barbecued meats, fresh salads and even some World Cup football! Here are our top tips to help you get the most from your barbecue and avoid the common pitfalls that too often result in overcooked food and your tranquil barbecue turning into a family disaster.

Safety First – Make sure your barbecue is positioned away from fields, buildings or other items where it could cause an accidental fire. Never leave the barbecue unattended and ensure young children are occupied well away from it. A temperature probe is a worthwhile investment for peace of mind that your meats are cooked through, whilst barbecue gloves and long tongs will help you to avoid getting burnt.

Make a list – It sounds all too simple, but making a list really helps. Going to the butcher or supermarket unprepared often means we get carried away buying too much or too little of the wrong items from the tempting arrays of barbecue meats and other treats. Remember, there is only so much that each person will consume, so work out in advance how many people will be eating and list an approximate amount of sausages, burgers, vegetarian options, baps and other foods you need to buy to feed your family and any guests.

Get the garden ready – This is especially true if you are putting on a big barbecue for a group of friends or family. Remember that people have so many different preferences; some people love to sit out in the full sun whilst others want to be in the shade. Others love to lay on the sun lounger while Auntie Dorris may find if difficult to get back out of a plastic chair! Make sure you have everything you need to make all of your guests comfortable.

Prepare salads and accompaniments in advance – The barbecue should be an enjoyable time to spend with family or a group of guests. Prepare items such as salads, dressings, sauces, breads and other cold foods earlier in the day, store in the fridge and take them out just before you are ready to start serving. That way you can focus on cooking the hot barbecue food to perfection without trying to perform too many tasks all at once.

Choose an appropriate charcoal – There are many types of charcoal available but the two most common options are lump charcoal versus briquettes. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages; lump charcoal lights easily but burns more quickly and tends to work out more expensive. Briquettes burn for longer and it is easier to maintain a constant temperature ideal for cooking bigger pieces of meat, but unfortunately some have a chemical smell, take a while to light and produce a lot of ash.

When choosing your charcoal consider the type of wood it has been produced from as this can affect the flavour which infuses your barbecue food. For example, oak wood provides a smokey, caramelised flavour whist applewood something very sweet.

Buy a good quality barbecue and tools – Investing a little extra in a good quality, sturdy barbecue and professional barbecue tools can make all the difference to the end food products. A gas barbecue may give you a little more control over the heat but needs to be balanced against some of the smokey flavour lost versus a charcoal barbecue. Ensure the size allows you enough cooking space for the guests you are catering for and make sure you have the right tools to safely and hygienically handle all of the products you intend to cook.

Put the kitchen on stand-by – The UK weather is notoriously unpredictable and you never know when there could be a sudden storm or a quick shower. Have your pans ready and the kitchen clear, just in case you need to finish off cooking the food indoors.

Pecks Groundcare and Country Store has a wide range of barbecues and accessories available in Ely, with free parking and expert advice on hand to help you choose the right products. Plus, look out for our special barbecue recipes coming to Facebook this summer and enjoy taking some time out to create the perfect barbecue!