How to host the perfect BBQ
When the sun comes out for more than ten minutes (and the rain stays away) there’s nothing like having a cook-out with fresh BBQ food, drinks, music and hours of lazy gossip. In today’s tech-obsessed world, it’s no surprise to learn that the good old-fashioned BBQ has come a long way, but there are so many options to choose from it can get a little confusing – so that’s why we’ve put together this little cheats-guide … burger flippers at the ready!
What’s the best BBQ?
There are lots of things to consider before buying your perfect BBQ, you need to think about how often you’re going to use it, how many people you’re likely to be cooking for, whether you want to use gas or charcoal and how much space you have.
So, charcoal or gas BBQ – what’s the difference?
Well, the one thing you’ll get from a charcoal barbecue is that distinctive smoky flavour – although some gas versions try and replicate that, it’s never quite the same. However, with charcoal comes mess, so if you’re looking for a simpler option a gas BBQ will really cut down on the time it takes to clean up afterwards which, let’s face it, no-one wants to do after eating and drinking their own body weight! Charcoal does have an advantage from a cost perspective, they’re a lot cheaper to run than gas versions. But if time is a consideration, then a gas BBQ will get you cooking much more quickly as you don’t have the waiting time you need for charcoals to heat up. Both types come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, so a crucial step is deciding on how often you’re likely to use it. If you’re a keen griller and are going to be getting the maximum use out of it, it’s worth investing in a model that’s going to last you longer and comes with a lengthier warrantee. If you’re more of a casual BBQ user, there are lots of portable BBQs that are less expensive and easy to quickly set up in any outdoor space (that permit BBQs of course!)
What else will I need for my BBQ?
It may seem obvious but many a BBQ has gone off track from lack of planning, it’s good to make sure you’ve got all the kit ready before you start because timing is critical – you don’t want to take your eye off the ball while you’re rummaging about in the kitchen cupboards for the missing spatula! Here’s a little checklist of the absolute basics you should have to hand before you fire it up
- Grill Fork
- Grill Glove
- Gas or Charcoal
- Aluminium Foil
- Food thermometer
These are the bare essentials, but there’s a lot more you can do to make sure your BBQ goes down in history as the best ever! Make sure you prep your food before the guests arrive, that way you aren’t distracted and can make time to chat while you grill, an absent host is never a good thing. Also consider asking your guests to bring a side dish or desert, it’ll help everyone feel involved and want to show off their own cooking skills, plus it’ll save you time on the prep work so you can focus on the main event!
Another important thing to consider is the ambience – you could be serving up a feast fit for a king, but it won’t taste as good when you’re perched on rickety old furniture that’s seen better days! It shouldn’t cost much to just add a little flair to the dining space, just adding some strings of lights, plump cushions, and an assortment of eye-catching bowls for nibbles can really help set the mood.
Now for the boring safety bit – BBQ flare ups can happen so you’ll want to be prepared, it’s a good idea to have a fire extinguisher handy just in case and always make sure your BBQ outfit doesn’t have any loose fittings that can stray into a flame – frazzled sleeves are a rookie error!
What to cook for my BBQ
Everyone loves the traditional burgers and sausages, but to make your BBQ even better it’s good to step out your comfort zone and try something a bit different. You could try making your own burger sauce, add a marinade to your chicken, make some fish skewers, the possibilities are endless. If you’re having Vegan friends over (or you’re vegan yourself) you can still have all the fun of a BBQ and all of the taste too – luckily there are lots of meat-free burger options to go for now and you can get creative with things like marinated tofu, vegan kebabs with lots of lush veggies and cauliflower steak. Also, try grilling some pineapple for dessert, absolutely delicious and everyone can try it!
How do I clean my BBQ?
The most important step (and least enjoyable depending on how much you like cleaning!) is keeping your barbecue healthy. There are lots of ways to get rid of the residue, but the Food Standards Authority recommends that the best and safest way is to clean by hand. This is a basic step-by-step you can use to maintain your grills health and your own
- Scrape off the worst of the food residue while your grill is still hot, as this is when it’s easiest to loosen
- Once the grill has cooled down to a touchable temperature, use a solution of washing up liquid and hot water to carefully clean down
- Make sure you dry quickly after cleaning to help prevent any rust
- Lastly, use some kitchen towel to apply a thin layer of vegetable oil as this will also give a shield to prevent rusting
Don’t forget to clean down your side tables too, as these can be a real hot-spot for bacteria, so use an ant-bacterial cleanser to give them a good scrub.
Show me some BBQs!
So hopefully this has whetted your appetite and your now ready to get the perfect BBQ for a summer of happy grilling. We’ve got so many to choose from, these are just a few of our fave BBQs and accessories …
This charcoal cooking grid is adjustable so you can control the heating, making sure all your steaks, chicken, burgers, bangers, fish and more are all cooked exactly to your taste!
It’s got a wooden slated side shelf and bottom table and includes plenty of convenient space for serving and storage. There’s also a wood handle and 2 wheels, so it is easy to move once everyone has enjoyed their BBQ favourites.
This versatile grill features both a charcoal and smoker BBQ, so you can heat up various meats and vegetables. The included temperature gauge lets you monitor and take control of the heat, ensuring your meat is grilled accurately and with the perfect consistency for the most delicious results.
A BBQ cover is always a good idea as it means you won’t have to move it around or find somewhere to store it and keeps it in perfect condition for the next time the sun decides to make an appearance!
For those who take their barbecuing VERY seriously, this is an essential piece of kit. Supplied in a smart aluminium box, these barbecue accessories are made from durable stainless steel. The set includes a brush, spatula, skewer, tongs, fork and corn pins – all easily cleaned and stashed away back in their box.