Photo by Evan Wise on Unsplash
Preheat your grill
A charcoal barbecue needs around 20 minutes to reach the perfect temperature. A gas barbecue only needs 10-15 minutes. Before you start, check that the coals are turning white and glowing. Don’t forget you can cook directly in the coals too. Wrap root veg in foil (pierce them first), then nestle them in the coals.
Prep for perfection
When barbecuing skewers, cut all the ingredients to the same size so they're the same distance from the coals and will cook evenly. Cut the ingredients larger than the spaces between the bars so there's no danger of the skewers slipping through.
Get your timings right
Remove meat from the fridge 20 minutes before cooking so it cooks evenly. Not everything is best cooked at the same temperature, so create hotter and cooler areas within your barbecue using the coals, which will allow you to control the heat.
Don't use a fork for turning
If you use a fork to turn your food you risk piercing the meat and losing juices. Long-handled metal tongs or spatulas are your friend. Try to turn your food only once, as turning it too often reduces the temperature of the meat, so it won't cook as effectively.
Trim unnecessary fat and drain off excess marinade to avoid flare-ups. Consider cooking your meat plain or with a dry rub, then add a sauce or marinade after cooking - that way as the meat rests the flavours
Don't overcook seafood
Fresh prawns only need a couple of minutes on each side. Cook oiled fillets on the hot plate of the barbie, and lay whole fish in a foil parcel before barbecuing. Stop fish from sticking to the grill by laying down thin slices of lemon first. The juices will keep the fish moist and protect the flesh from the flames.
Rest your meat
Nobody likes cold food, but heat makes meat fibres contract, so allow it to rest for 5 minutes after coming off the barbecue and it should be nice and tender.
Up the flavour
Marinate foods in advance (even ten minutes will make a difference) or when cooked, toss with good olive oil and chopped herbs, and squeeze citrus juice over fish and vegetables. Use flavoured butters to easily infuse extra-flavour into corn on the cobs, grilled veggies and to melt over meats.