Summer is fast approaching! If we think that Easter and Easter Monday are “warm-up” periods for our outdoor cooking, then it is definitely time to dust off the barbecue and get out the tongs. Indeed, long summer evenings with friends, family, drinks and smoke-filled gardens while the first steak goes on the grill await us just around the corner. Here then our first tips to make sure your barbecue runs smoothly and a few secrets for best outdoor grilling.
Tools to help you become a serious barbecue connoisseur
If you know a few secrets to grill and want to go from beginner to expert level, we must tell you that some tools will certainly help you. First of all, a pair of long-handled tongs makes heavier cuts easier and safer to handle. The extra length of the tongs then helps to keep the arms further away from the grill, reducing the possibility of bad burns. Moreover, a temperature probe is an excellent investment for outdoor cooking as, being outside, it can be harder to understand if the meat is cooked. Do you need to grill a “flat” fish (such as plaice or sole)? Then try to use a basket. Secure fish (but you can also do this with meat) in the basket and place it over the grill for easy and even cooking. And the final tool for barbecue connoisseurs? It is barbecue gloves. Their heat-resistant material keeps your hands safe from flames so you can move hot pots and food or even tidy up the coals.
Another secret for grilling: remove food from the fridge 20 minutes before
Remember to remove raw meat or fish from the fridge at least 20 minutes before cooking on the grill. This way the food will have time to come to room temperature. If, in fact, the meat is too cold when you place it on the grill, there is a danger that it may burn on the outside before it is cooked through the centre. This is particularly important with chicken and sausages.
Direct and indirect cooking methods: which to choose?
Direct cooking is the most common method to use on the barbecue. It is excellent for thin cuts such as steaks, hamburgers, fish and sausages since they are placed directly on the fire. One of the main advantages of direct cooking is that the high temperatures inside the barbecue create the perfect conditions for the Maillard reaction, giving the meat an exceptional flavour and texture. Indirect cooking methods are a little more advanced than direct cooking. It is a matter of placing the food to be grilled near, not directly above, the heat source. Once they are hot, separate your coals into two stacks at opposite ends of the grill. Put a dripping-pan under the grill, between the coals. Your meat goes on the grill in the space above the dripping-pan. With this method, the barbecue acts like an oven, so it is perfect for cuts like roasts, which require a slow cooking over a lower heat.
Prepare the pots of your kitchen and the oven as a support
Although it is very difficult for a barbecue to be organized with an uncertain weather, in a period that goes from late spring to early summer sudden downpours must be taken into account. Therefore, always have the alternative to the outdoor barbecue ready: prepare the pans and the oven to finish, if necessary, the cooking you started on the grill. OF outdoor kitchens are designed to cook even in case of bad weather.
Any secrets for best outdoor grilling? Buy an OF kitchen!