There is nothing quite like grilling food outdoors surrounded by your friends and family. Barbecues are awesome occasions and are also one of the most delicious ways to cook food. Unless you are lucky enough to live somewhere that is warm and sunny all year round, you most likely spend the cold seasons looking forward to the summer when you can get the grill out for the first time and invite your loved ones over for a burger and a beer. When done right, the flavor and aroma of barbecued food are unparalleled, and becoming an expert at grilling is fairly straightforward.
To help everyone take their grill skills to another level, here are our top tips for the perfect barbecue.
1. Marinade the Meat
Not every cut of meat is born the same, and there are so many meats that are always better after a few hours of marinating. Many people just take the easy route and use a store-bought marinade but you will get so much more flavor if you make your own. The perfect marinade can tenderize the meat, enhance its flavor, and open up some brand new grilling opportunities. Make sure your homemade marinade has the right levels of spice, sweetness, and salt, and you will be on to a winner.
2. Learn to Smoke the Meat
Real meat lovers know that there is nothing quite like smoking your meat to give it that special barbecue flavor. Many people choose to smoke their wood in a separate burner so they can add any type of wood they like. Each type will give the meat a unique flavor and aroma, and finding the perfect wood for different types of meat is an exciting journey. There are different burners available on the market and you can read about a stick burner smoker and other alternatives online. When it comes to smoking, your best friends are always going to a delicious sauce and rub, and plenty of time and patience.
3. Salt Tough Steak Before Cooking
We have all been to restaurants where the chef has managed to turn a cheap cut of meat into something tender and delicious. This can be very perplexing as when you try to cook the same cut at home, it is like chewing a tire. The expert trick is often to rub the meat down with salt an hour before you cook it. The salt will suck the moisture up from the middle of the meat so that it is more evenly spread throughout. Then you just need to wipe the salt off, rinse the meat, and pat it dry. The difference this can make to your steak is phenomenal and will save you a lot of money buying rumps rather than fillets.
4. Keep the Grill Clean
It doesn’t matter if you have sourced the best meat, prepared the perfect marinade, and found the smokiest of wood chips, if you cook your meat on a dirty grill you are going to ruin it. It is very important that you clean your grill immediately after use because this is when it will be easiest. While the grill is still warm, any carbonized food is far easier to wipe away than if you leave it to dry and harden. Just a warm soapy sponge should be enough, but if there are so difficult spots, use a stiff wire brush and a little elbow grease.
5. Create Your Very Own BBQ Sauce
As with marinades, the best sauces are always homemade, so you should never settle for a bottle of generic, store-bought sauce. The great thing about BBQ sauce is that it is so versatile. Some people prefer a sweeter sauce, while others like something a bit smokier with deeper spices. Try making a few different sauces for your guests to choose from and to match with the various meats you cook.
6. Get to Know Cooking Temperatures
Knowing when your meat is ready is the best way to ensure your guests are happy and well-fed. This can even be done with a meat thermometer or with touch. By pressing your thumb together with different fingers and feeling the hardness of the same spot on your hand, you will be able to differentiate between rare, medium, and well-done steak. When barbecuing a whole chicken, see if the leg will twist. If the joint won’t move, it will need more cooking.
Spending time with your loved ones with some tasty meat and cold drinks really is what summers are all about. With this summer just around the corner, now is the time to make sure you are at the top of your barbecue game. Follow these simple tips and you will be able to take your grill skills to a whole new level.