Summer is in full swing, and that means your backyard should be ground zero for the majority of your meals for the next few months. Whether it’s the smoky, delicious flavour barbecue provides or just the act of cooking al fresco, BBQing is one of the pleasures of summer. Here are eight tips to help make you the master of the grill.
Brining and injecting aren’t cheating
Master grillers might look down their noses on these methods, but when you’re barbecuing at home, you’re not in a competition. You’re only cheating yourself if you’re not using all the tools at your disposal that will help you get the most flavour out of your meat. Brining (letting the meat soak in salted water for up to 24 hours) and injecting (where you use a syringe to inject flavourful liquids into the meat) helps to ensure that the meat will be moist and tasty. There’s nothing worse than a dry piece of BBQ, so rigging the game for a favourable outcome is just smart cooking.
Smoke it if you’ve got it
If you only have a gas-powered barbecue, it’s perfectly fine – you’ll get effective heat distribution with gas. But if you do have access to charcoal it will give your meat a distinctive and delicious flavour that you just won’t find with gas.
Searing is a waste of time
Just like the idea that you can see the Great Wall of China from space, the idea that searing meat will hold in moisture is a myth. Instead, it’s more likely that searing will cause the fibres of the meat to tighten, which in turn means you’ll lose moisture. The crusty surface that’s formed by searing isn’t waterproof, and therefore won’t hold in any fluids.
Don’t poke your meat
While you might be tempted to use that impressive looking BBQ fork, don’t. If you puncture the meat, you’re letting valuable juices leak out. Instead, use the less cool but far more effective pair of tongs when you need to flip things.
Cook it low and slow
If you know you’re going to be using the grill, plan ahead. If you’re not rushed you will have the ability to cook the meat at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time. The higher the temperatures, the more the fibres of the meat contract, squeezing out moisture and taking away from the flavour of the cut. But if you’re going to grill at low temperatures, make sure you give the meat enough time to cook so that it doesn’t come out raw.
Patience is a virtue
When you’re done grilling, take a few minutes and wait before you cut your meat. We know – it’s tough to sit there salivating when a perfectly cooked piece of steak is sitting right in front of you, but trust that the wait will be worth it. By holding off, you’ll effectively retain a lot of those precious juices you’ve been cultivating from the very beginning. If you cut into the meat right away, those juices will just spill out onto the plate, where they can’t be enjoyed.
If you’re looking for the quickest way to rob your meat of flavour, by all means, boil it before putting it on the BBQ. By boiling, you’re losing all of the feat and flavour that provides taste. Even if you’re pressed for time, don’t take this shortcut.
With veggies, speed is key
If you’re cooking veggies on the grill, speed is your friend. Slice your veggies into thin strips and then char along the bars. You don’t have cook them for long to achieve that BBQ appearance and flavour.