Holiday Helper 5 – How to BBQ properly

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Hi guys, I hope you’re not madly rushing through the holiday season already, going to Christmas parties here, there and everywhere, and making sure you get your Christmas shopping done before the 24th. I hope you’ve had a minute to plan out your holidays come January (for those of us in the warmer climates anyway) or if you haven’t, you better get onto it soon!

Hopefully you’ve had a few minutes to think about what you want for dinner tonight, and perhaps over those long summer nights. If you have I’m sure you’ve considered a BBQ or two. Hopefully your BBQ worked perfectly for you in the past, but if it didn’t quite go as planned, or you want some tips before you fire up the BBQ, keep reading and I’ll share with you what I know about BBQing for summer. 

Equipment for BBQing in any house or apartment:
While it makes sense that you need a BBQ to make BBQ’d food its often the case that people with big backyards have the BBQs and those of us in apartments tend to miss out. Well, luckily for us, there are many small BBQs on the market these days that fit perfectly on a small balcony.

And if you don’t want a gigantic BBQ or a mini BBQ you can also grill foods on:

  • An indoor electric grill
  • A grill pan on the stove
  • Or use the oven.
Most recipes that require a covered BBQ can be adapted to an oven, and most recipes that require grilling can be moved to an indoor electric grill or a grill pan on the stove – which means you don’t have to miss out on BBQing this summer if you don’t own a BBQ!

Best foods to BBQ:
Some foods are more suited to BBQs than others, though really there isn’t a lot that can’t be done on a BBQ. Some BBQ cooking might require a wok attachment, while others you might need to get a special rack. The Middle Eastern and South American cuisines often use a flat metal basket that clips together to cook foods such as whole and filleted fish on the BBQ. This means the delicate fish doesn’t fall apart as it cooks, or worse still, get stuck to the grill. To see what I mean, watch this video. If you’re interested in getting one, you can find them at Bunnings hardware as well as cooking stores.

Some of the best foods to BBQ are:

  • Seafood – prawns especially!
  • Meat – steaks, chops and cutlets.
  • Chicken – breasts, thighs and wings.
  • Corn on the cob – keep it wrapped in its green jacket (or use foil)
  • Whole fish – use the flat metal basket (link above) 
  • Onions – goes without saying!
  • Eggs – breakfast on the BBQ is awesome too!

Best cooking techniques to use when BBQing:
When you’re BBQing you might want to keep the steak or chop or fillet as one single piece, but other times you might want to chop them up and cook them as small pieces. One way of cooking the pieces in a smaller size is to make them into kebabs. 
Here are some great tips on cooking kebabs on the BBQ:

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of BBQing kebabs each time, you can cook them using your sandwich press too. 
IMPORTANT: If you are using wooden sticks to make kebabs, you must soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before you put them on the BBQ. If you don’t, then your sticks will burn, as will your food, and you’ll be calling the fire department rather than enjoying a great night with friends. Alternatively, to avoid this situation, buy some metal skewers instead (no pre-soaking required for metal skewers).

The best way to cook whole pieces of meat is to marinate the meat overnight and then cook it whole. This is a great technique to use for whole chicken breasts, large steaks and cutlets or chops. Be careful though as sweet marinades burn fast. Use a foil tray on the BBQ so the marinade is much easier to clean up (just throw the tray away at the end). 

Marinades for BBQing:
In case you’re not sure what a marinade is, it’s usually a combination of wet or dry ingredients that you can leave your meat to soak in so that the meat takes on the flavours of the ingredients. The ingredients used in marinades can be herbs, spices, oils, vinegar, juices (e.g. lemon or lime juice), sauces (e.g. soy or oyster sauce) or yoghurt and it will often include salt and pepper. 

When marinating meat it’s best to marinate the meat the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight to give the flavours time to develop. You don’t have to leave it overnight, so 2-3 hours is usually the minimum recommended time, but overnight is best so try to plan ahead. 

IMPORTANT: Raw meat is put into a marinade so don’t use the leftover marinade as a sauce unless you cook it first. The raw meat juices can make you sick so throw away any leftover marinade unless you’re going to use it to baste the meat as you cook it (drizzle extra over as you cook – it helps keep the meat moist and get more flavour in there). 

Some marinades can be used for a single meat (e.g. it suits only chicken) but some can be used for many (e.g. the marinade recipe is okay to be used on lamb, beef, chicken and fish). There aren’t really any rules to marinating, so don’t worry if you find a chicken marinade and then use it on a piece of beef. 

Here’s a list of marinades so you’ll be able to try some out for yourself. 

If you hadn’t thought of having a BBQ this summer, give it a go. It’s pretty easy to make a quick marinade and throw some meat in the fridge overnight. And it’s even easier to cook it on the BBQ, and you don’t even really need a BBQ these days either. There’s plenty of options out there, and plenty of ways you can make BBQing your own, so give it a go this summer!

Question: What’s your most favourite BBQ food? Leave a comment below. 

One thought on “Holiday Helper 5 – How to BBQ properly

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