Firing up the barbecue usually signals the start of summer, but if you want to avoid those dry, overdone chicken pieces or coal lighting disasters, take a look at our top 5 BBQ mistakes to avoid, so you can get the most out of your favourite gourmet cuts of meat minus the hassle!
Not Cleaning The Grill Grate
Proper maintenance and thorough cleaning is a big part of owning a barbecue. Over the winter months your grill has no doubt been sat in your garage gathering dust, so now you're getting ready for some great family feasts, you want to make sure your outdoor cooking runs as smoothly as possible. A well maintained barbecue is not only important for food safety reasons, but also for making sure your succulent cuts of meat cook efficiently. Cleaning the grate should be your first job - use a wire brush and hot water to get rid of stuck on food pieces and debris - this will create those visually appealing grill marks and improve the overall quality of the cooking.
If you have a gas powered barbecue you're almost always guaranteed consist results, but charcoal lighting requires a bit more care and preparation. We recommend that you use a combination of charcoal and firelighters - avoid using a lighter fluid or any other flammable liquids, which can not only be dangerous but also leave a bad taste on your food. Assemble your coals and firelighters in a pyramid shape, with around 3 firelighters nestled in between the individual coal pieces. Give your BBQ around 30 minutes to properly heat up, after which the coals will have turned grey and you're ready to get cooking!
Overlooking Food Safety
When you're in charge of the big family barbecue you need to keep food safety in mind at all times. Always wash your hands thoroughly after touching any raw pieces of meat - always have a designated side dish for putting your raw meat on and make sure it doesn't come into contact with any buns, vegetables or other kitchen cutlery and utensils. Take care to wash up all chopping boards and other raw meat plates with hot water and washing up liquid. Ensure that raw meat doesn't stay left out at room temperature for more than two hours - if it's a particularly hot day, keep refrigerated until you need to cook it. Cold cuts and leftovers should be consumed within three days ideally.
Getting Poor Quality Cuts Of Meat
Burgers and similar meat products are comprised of almost three quarters of water, which means if you go for the cheap options, they will shrink very easily and will appear small and shriveled after they've been exposed to the high heat of the barbecue. Although all meat products are prone to some shrinkage, good quality beef, sausages and chicken are going to respond a lot better and will cook more effectively on your grill - so if your barbecue experience has been underwhelming in the past, now is the time to invest in something better. Our Gourmet BBQ Box is filled with 20 individual cuts of delicious, traditional and free range cuts that will leave the whole family feeling satisfied.
Cutting Into The Meat Straight Away
The temptation is to serve your barbecue treats when they're piping hot, but it's better to let the meat stand for a few minutes so the juices don't spurt out and dry out the cut. Giving your great quality pieces a little time to cool will keep them juicy, succulent and retain all the great flavour.