Whether you need some new BBQ food ideas, or just want to know how to grill your meat and vegetables to perfection, the head chef of burger chain Byron, Fred Smith, is here to advise.
How to grill vegetables on the BBQ:
- Always coat vegetables in oil to cook, and make sure your grill is hot enough so that the they sizzle as soon as they hit the surface.
- Generally, vegetable, sunflower or rapeseed oil are good choices as they’re inexpensive and the flavour’s neutral. Use olive oil for aubergines (as they will absorb it) and butter for mushrooms and corn, as it enhances the flavour. You can also experiment with goose or duck fat for potatoes.
- Don’t wander off while the vegetables are cooking – they burn too easily! Instead keep watch and turn them when needed.
- Spring onions are great on the BBQ – just toss in a little oil and salt before grilling them.
- If you haven’t tried red peppers on the BBQ, you should. Barbecue them from raw, and then strip off the black skin from the outside, leaving a lovely sweet and smoky flesh to eat.
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes are fantastic on the grill. Boil them first, then cut into halves or slices, either with or without the skin. Grill, before serving tossed in a classic vinaigrette, chopped herbs or green chilli.
- Most foods are best cooked straight on the grill to get that charred smoky flavour. Sweetcorn, however, is best cooked still in the husk to protect it from direct heat. Once the husk is blackened, remove it and cook for another minute to get a few scorched kernels. Then serve with butter, a squeeze of lime and some chopped chilli.
How to cook meat on the BBQ:
- As a rule, anything that doesn’t contain much fat naturally should be brushed with oil so that it doesn’t stick. Most cuts of lamb, for example, will require no additional fat, while venison and other game meats, which are very lean, require oil. A well made hamburger will have enough fat content to require no oil, as will pork and most beef cuts. Chicken with the skin removed will benefit from a light coating of oil, but chicken with the skin on doesn’t need it.
- Be careful not to over-crowd the cooking surface when grilling hamburgers as you’ll lose too much of the heat. Your BBQ needs to be really hot so that when you place your hamburger on the surface, it sizzles. When you see juices spilling out of the meat, cook for another minute or so – your burger will be juicy and delicious!
- If you’re toasting a bun on the grill, use the space round the edges where it’s cooler. You can also use the BBQ to melt cheese on top of a burger and reheat bacon, creating a tasty bacon cheeseburger.
- For larger items like chicken thighs or drumsticks, use tin foil. Marinade the chicken in a mix of wholegrain mustard, honey and soy then place it, unwrapped, on the hottest part of the grill for a few minutes on each side until well browned. Remove from the grill and wrap in foil, then place back in the corner of the BBQ where the temperature is lower. After 10 to 20 minutes the chicken should be moist and cooked through, with all the delicious juices caught in the foil.
- If you want to glaze cuts of meat such as pork chops, chicken breasts or hamburgers you can keep a small pot of glaze on the side of the BBQ and use a pastry brush to spread it over the meat while it grills.