It’s coming up to National BBQ Week, so if we needed any more reason to strip back the bbq cover and dust off the steel tongs, then this is it.
But whether you’re grilling burgers, cauliflower steaks, tofu, zucchini or shrimp, it’s easy to fall victim to a range of common BBQ mistakes. To give you a helping hand, we’ve compiled a list of things to avoid doing to help you master the skill of the gas BBQ.
Everything from preheating your grill to using the right tools can make all the difference. Let us know if you have any tips worth sharing!
Not Cleaning Your BBQ Enough
If you’re not cleaning your gas BBQ after every use, then you’re not barbecuing right. With leftover bits of food and grease, you’re not only causing a potential fire hazard, but the charring will impact the overall flavour of your food. And not in a good way.
Without cleaning your grill after every use, you’re setting yourself up for a flavour nightmare. The cleaning doesn’t have to take long either. There are plenty of quick and easy cleaning techniques and tools for you to use once your BBQ has slightly cooled down after you’ve finished. You can use this two-piece cleaning set to remove insects and other debris from your burners.
Top tip: cleaning your BBQ while it’s still hot is quicker than waiting for it to go completely cold. Make sure to use gloves to protect your hands!
Not Preheating the Grill
Never put food on your BBQ just after you’ve turned it on or lit the charcoal. You need to give your grill time to heat up before starting to cook, just like you would with an oven. This will help ensure your meat is cooked through and will also give a nice, crisp char.
Wait until the flames have died down and charcoal has gone a grey/white colour to put food on the barbecue.
Use the Right Tools
We’re not saying you need a batch of expensive barbecue tools to master the barbecue. But there are a couple of tools that can help you improve your skills and create a tastier meal.
If you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a good quality pair of steel tongs and a long-handled spatula. These will help you with maneuvering your food and cook it through evenly.
From a smoker box to enhance the flavour or brushes to baste your meat with marinades, here are a range of Outback accessories that will improve your overall BBQ experience.
Grilling With an Open Lid
It’s human nature to be curious, so it’s only natural to want to keep an eye on how things are cooking when doing a BBQ. But, just like an oven, opening the gas BBQ lid repeatedly will let the heat escape and cause a drop in temperature.
Try to keep the lid closed for as long as possible to allow your food to cook through for the best results.
Pressing the Meat Down
The beauty of a BBQ is you can let the meat do it’s thing. As long as you nail temperature control (more on this in a bit) you can avoid prodding, moving and pressing down on the meat.
When a slab of meat is pressed down on a BBQ, the juices are absorbed by the flames causing it to burn quickly. Instead of doing this, allow the meat to cook in its own juices for a moist middle.
This also ties in with our previous point, leaving the BBQ lid closed for as long as possible. Combining these tips together will give you the juiciest of results.
Assuming the Meat is Cooked
It’s easy to do some guesswork with barbecue meat by going off timings and how it looks on the outside. But just because your meat looks slightly charred, doesn’t mean it has cooked all the way through. This assumption can result in undercooked meat on the inside but a burnt outside.
The last thing you want is a batch of food poisoning at your BBQ party, so it’s always best to use a thermometer to make sure. You can even find thermometers with built-in alarms to alert you when the meat reaches your desired temperature. You can then leave the meat to cook without having to check on it every so often.
Cooking All Veg for the Same Length of Time
BBQ sides aren’t complete without some veggies, but they can be easily ruined by overcooking if you’re not careful. There are a few steps you can take to avoid a raw, crunchy middle and burnt outside of your vegetables.
Firstly, avoid cooking all the vegetables at the same time if some take longer than others. For example, peppers and onions will take longer than mushrooms and asparagus on a gas BBQ.
You should also avoid cutting the veg too small as they can easily fall through the grill gaps or cook too quickly.
Forgetting About the Guests
Although you’ll want to focus on the food to make sure it’s done right, you don’t want to completely forget about your guests. Nailing the prep beforehand will allow you to spend more time with your friends and family, focusing on the food when it’s time to cook.
These tips should help with the organisation of your day to give you more time to entertain your guests.
Ensure You Have Foil or Sand in the Drip Tray
To avoid fat fires and flare ups, make sure you have a drip tray filled with sand. This is the most common reason for fat fires on a BBQ, so it’s important to remember to refill your tray after every use.
Carry Out a Leak Test
If you have a gas BBQ and haven’t used it for a while, you should check there isn’t a gas leak. You can easily do this yourself by mixing 50/50 washing up liquid and water and then brush the solution onto the correct areas. For more information consult your instruction manual.
No More BBQ Blunders
Once you’ve stopped making these common mishaps, you’ll be able to host a BBQ to remember with even tastier food and less stress. Happy grilling!