A little preparing before starting to cook will make life easier, ensure that the BBQ is a success and everyone including the 'chef' has fun.
- Choose meat that does not need long slow cooking - use steaks, ribs or chops.
- To help tenderize and impart more flavour, marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking. As well as a 'wet' marinade, try a 'rub', which consists of a dry mix usually made from a mixture of spice or dried herbs. Rub this into the food's surface and leave for 30 minutes before cooking. Marinades are also good for whole fish as well as fillets, kebabs, poultry, fruits and vegetables such as peppers, aubergines and courgettes. When ready to cook, remove the marinaded food and allow any excess marinade to drip back into the dish rather than the hot coals. If liked, brush the food lightly with extra marinade during cooking.
- Ensure that poultry and pork are thoroughly cooked. Remember that boneless cuts are quicker to cook than, say, drumsticks.
- Never leave raw foods, especially meats, poultry or salads, in direct sunlight or a warm place for longer than a few minutes. Keep covered in a cool place until ready to serve.
- Use separate utensils, especially pastry brushes, knives and boards, for raw and cooked foods in order to avoid cross contamination.
- Prepare as much as possible ahead of time. This will speed up the cooking once you are ready to start cooking.
- If food is cooking too quickly move it away from the centre, towards the edge of the grill.
- The best way of checking the heat of the charcoal is with the hand. Place your hand above the heat - the longer you can keep it there the cooler the BBQ: 2 seconds = hot, 3-4 seconds = medium hot and 5-6 seconds = low heat.