Impress at your next barbecue. Learn bbq tips and tricks from the pros  

Matt Wineera, AREINZ
Matt Wineera, AREINZ
Published on September 23, 2018

Did you wonder if Bbq season would ever get here? Finally – a chance to get outdoors and polish that pit master image you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. Even the pros seek out tips and tricks, however, so we’ve brought you some of their most brilliant.

Grill a better burger

Shopping for the right meat is half the battle when grilling burgers. Ground beef that’s too lean will be tough and dry, so you’ll want to look for meat with a fat content of at 20-30%. Hamburger patties about 12cm across and say 100 to 150mm thick maximise surface area (and grill flavour) and ensure that the burgers cook through quickly and evenly. Then, before plopping them on the grill, use your thumb to make a slight indentation in the top of each burger. This avoids the “puff-up in the middle as they cook,” suggests Jamie Purviance, author of “Weber’s Way to Grill: The Step-by-Step Guide to Expert Grilling.” You want the burgers to sear on the outside so don’t be tempted to flip them too early. Then, plan on flipping them only once. And, never press down on the patties as they cook. Pushing down on the burger presses out all the natural juices and your family or guests may ask or wonder why their burgers were so dried out. For the vegetarian in the group. Make a pattie using black and white beans, steel-cut oats, caramelized mushrooms and onions, roasted red peppers, and potato or check out the web for a good recipe. Top that with pickled scallions, red onions, egg-free roasted garlic aioli, and toasted chia seeds, all served on multigrain roll.

Kebabbing?

While most any meat can be skewered and grilled, chicken (as per Jamie Oliver) seems to be the most popular. And, you may want to take a “cheat day” from your diet because the pros at seriouseats.com suggest that you choose thighs over breasts. “Chicken breasts seem like a good choice because their thickness make them ideal for cubing, but their lack of flavor and tendency towards dryness totally undermines that one advantage,” they explain. Skinless, boneless chicken thighs, on the other hand, remain moist, making them ideal for grilling. Position the chicken pieces on the skewer so that they slightly touch one another. This allows them to retain their juices better. Don’t cram them together,  a slight touching is all that’s needed.

Grill a killer steak

Don’t take your steaks directly from the refrigerator to the bbq grill. Always allow meats to rest at room temperature depending on their size before you grill them. If you have a thermometer that can penetrate the steak then use its internal temperature of say 12 to 12.5 degrees celsius as a guide befor you put them on the bbq grill. Before that, however, consider adding your salt, pepper or even rub to the steaks as they come to room temperature. “My secret is coating the meat with a liberal amount of rub an hour before cooking and [leaving] it out so it comes to room temperature,” John Bracamonte, Pitmaster and co-owner of Brazen BBQ in San Diego suggests.” Use a digital, instant-read thermometer to check the temperature of steaks both before grilling and while they’re still on the grill. Steaks are rare at 51 degrees Celsius ,  medium at 57 degrees and well-done at 62 degrees, according to World BBQ champion Chris Lilly. “Remember that steaks will continue to cook after they’re removed from the grill,” he cautions. Once off the grill, give the steaks time to rest uncovered, because covering them causes the food to steam and can make the golden brown crust or skin soggy. How long should they rest? About 10 to 20 minutes, although as the bbq chef , it’s always your call.

Mmm … RIBS

The tenderest ribs come from long (several hours), slow cooking. Spikes and valleys of heat will tighten and dry out the meat, but consistently low temps will produce soft and succulent meat. Wait until the last 30 minutes of grilling to sauce the ribs. For added flavor, sprinkling on “brown sugar during the last hour of cooking … and let that caramelize over the top.”

Gettin’ saucy

The biggest no-no when it comes to saucing your meat is to do so before you put it on the grill. Brush on barbecue sauce during the last part of cooking. Because most contain a lot of sugar, the sauce will burn if added too early. Make your own sauces or checkout what’s available at your favourite supermarket.

 

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