BBQ 101Added 2010-04-23
The barbecue season is definitely upon us and now’s the time to cook up some fun on the grill. The following is a list of basic notions to help you enjoy one of summer’s simple pleasures: cooking on the barbecue!
Lesson 1: Proper equipment
From novice to expert, here is what you need to grill like a chef:
• A long handled steel brush to clean the grill
• Long handled tongs
• Oven mitts or heat resistant protection
• A long handled basting brush
• A spray water bottle to dampen hot flames
Lesson 2: Start with a clean grill
First impressions are important, even when grilling, so make sure your grill is scraped clean. A steel brush with a long handle is best for this task. First, preheat the grill for about 15 minutes and brush the grill when hot – foods tend to scrape off better this way. Brush the grill again once you’ve finished cooking and before it cools down.
Lesson 3: Preheat the barbecue
Turn on the barbecue at maximum heat intensity for about 15 minutes before you begin cooking any foods. You know the grill is ready when you can only keep your hand over the grill for 4 or 5 seconds.
Lesson 4: Oil the grill
To keep foods from sticking to the grill and to imprint those great grill marks, generously oil the grill before cooking.
Any one of the following techniques is good to oil your barbecue grill: a) with a paper towel imbibed with oil; b) with a piece of beef or bacon fat or c) with a vaporizer. In both a and b, the technique is applicable to a hot grill as long as you use a long handled fork. However, if you prefer to spray the grill, remove the grill from the barbecue to keep the oil spray from catching fire.
Lesson 5: Remove excess fat
A thin layer of fat (about 0.5 cm) is enough to add flavour to grilled meats. Not only is less fat healthier but it also helps avoid dangerously high flames when the fat melts into the fire.
Lesson 6: Avoid adding salt to raw meat
Adding salt to raw meat tends to harden its texture. In fact, salt attracts blood to the surface of meat, which then loses its juices and makes meat dry and less tender.
Lesson 7: Do not prick, pierce or stab meat while grilling
Only use a fork to remove cooked meat from the grill. It’s best to use tongs or a slotted turner with a long handle to flip the meat or any other foods you may be cooking. This helps the meat maintain its natural juices and tenderness.
Lesson 8: Meet your new friend: the meat thermometer
A meat thermometer remains the best way to check for doneness. By indicating meat temperature you can be certain that your meat is properly cooked and ready to enjoy.
Does reading about grilling make your mouth water? Get those fires burning, add a sprinkle of imagination and a dash of daring and barbecue success is at your fingertips. Enjoy!