Follow these simple barbecue tips… to start with vary the temperatures on a charcoal barbecue by moving the coals carefully with tongues and a bbq glove to protect your hand.
A lid will helps with indirect cooking by maintaining a steady temperature. Simply slope the coals over to one side rather than just spreading across the whole grill grate.
Get a temperature probe and check your food – The safest way to be sure you are serving food that is cooked through, without being overcooked. By inserting the tip of the probe into the centre of the thickest part of any food you can be sure your high risk items such as poultry and minced products are cooked to 75c core temperature, and that you also get beef and lamb steaks cooked just how you like. Expect to pay upwards of £20, with the higher end products having faster processors and more features.
Direct heat: Cut breasts into bite-sized pieces and thread them onto a skewer for kebabs. Whole breasts should be pounded with a rolling pin before grilling to make them flat and even. Indirect heat: For chicken, legs or thighs need cooking on a slower heat for a longer time, until the thickest part reaches 74C. Beer can chicken, where a whole chicken rests on a can, is another classic barbecue recipe. BBQ marinade 4 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp smoked paprika + 1 tsp lemon juice.
Direct heat: Hanger steak (or onglet) and skirt need the highest heat and quickest cooking, but most steaks (sirloin, ribeye, porterhouse, fillet) should be cooked on a high heat, to personal preference (60C for rare, 70C for medium, 75C for well done). Indirect heat: Brisket and short ribs take hours on a low heat, but they are some of the best cuts for barbecuing. BBQ marinade 2tbsp Worcestershire sauce + 1 tbsp olive oil.
Direct heat: Sear neck fillet and grill lamb chops over hot coals. Ask your butcher to butterfly a leg of lamb so it can be cooked over direct heat for 15 minutes, then move it to indirect heat to let it cook through for the final half hour, until the core temperature reaches 65C. Indirect heat: Slow-cook a leg of lamb on the bone on a low heat for 2½-3 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone. BBQ marinade 2 tbsp harissa + 4 tbsp natural yoghurt + 1 tsp lemon juice.
Direct heat: Diced pork threaded on skewers, chops and escalopes should be cooked over direct heat. Sausages should be cooked on hot coals, but be careful they don’t cook too quickly, otherwise the outside will blacken but they will still be raw in the middle. If in doubt, stick a probe in the middle to check it reads at least 72C. Indirect heat: Pork belly should be cooked at a low temperature for a long time. For the best pulled pork, use pork shoulder on the bone (also known as Boston butt), and cook it slowly until it falls off the bone. BBQ marinade 2 tbsp runny honey + 2 tbsp Dijon mustard.
Direct heat: Most seafood is cooked quickly at a high temperature to stop it from drying out: mackerel, sardines, octopus, crab, prawns, mussels, razor clams and fillets of fish wrapped in pancetta, edible leaves or foil. Indirect heat: Whole fish, cooked in a basket, or thicker steaks will benefit from the lower heat of indirect cooking to make sure the core temperature reaches 70C, but be careful not to cook for too long. BBQ marinade 4 tbsp lime juice (1 lime) + 1 tbsp brown sugar + 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped.
Direct heat: Most vegetables are barbecued quickly: asparagus, courgette, aubergine, spring onions and bell peppers. Even new potatoes can be parboiled, threaded onto skewers and finished on the grill. Indirect heat: Wrap big root vegetables such as potatoes, onions or beetroot in foil and roast them in the embers. BBQ marinade 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar + 3 tsbp olive oil + 2 cloves of garlic, crushed.
See www.barbequick.com/recipes/ for more details.