21 Aug The Dos and Don’ts of the wannabe BBQ Master Chef
Seems simple enough, but once you’ve been elected head honcho of the grill, there’s a lot…at steak. Check out our fool proof tips to go from amateur to master of meat.
Do be a steak snob
Set yourself up for success by sourcing high quality cuts from your local butchers. Check out our ‘Meat the Butcher’ feature for top tips on how to select your steak.
Do be a segregationist
Keep raw and cooked food trays, bowls, chopping boards & marinades separate. Mixing could be hazardous.
Do plan ahead
Let your meat reach room temperature before cooking, this will ensure the flesh gets cooked evenly throughout. If too cold, you’ll end up burning your meat on the outside before the middle is fully cooked.
Do listen to a wise word from the hairy
Don’t BBQ in your birthday suit. Too many naked chefs have left the grill more naked than they began – if you know what I mean.
Do stay lubricated
Use a stiff wire brush to clean your grill before and after cooking. To oil the grill, dip a cloth in vegetable oil and run it over the grate with tongs.
Do use common sense
Never put cooked meat back onto the same dish you used for marinating the raw food. Always use a clean serving dish or plate.
Do channel your inner Pharoah
Rather than pile the charcoal straight into the grill, stack the coal into a pyramid. This will allow the fire to burn better and will concentrate the heat in the centre. If something is cooking too fast, you can move it to the pyramid’s perimeter.
Do give it a rest!
Let cooked meats rest on a clean plate, cover with foil for about 10-15 minutes before cutting so juices can redistribute within the meat. If you cut into your meat immediately, all those juices (i.e. delicious-ness) will run out of the meat and pool onto the platter.
Don’t be hasty
Wait until your grill reaches the perfect temperature; too hot and your meat will singe and form a bitter crust. Too cold and your meat won’t crisp up, leaving you with a boiled-like flavour and texture. Wait until the flames die down and the coal is coated in white ash.
Don’t be sloppy
Keep a bowl of warm soapy water or baby wipes handy to wash your hands. You don’t want to mix marinades or meat juices together. And wiping greasy hands on your apron just isn’t cool.
Don’t cheat with charcoal
Cheap quality coal has all sorts added to it to help it burn and will leave you with meat that tastes like your sucking on the end of your car exhaust pipe. Stick to high quality lumpwood charcoal that won’t have any chemical additives.
Don’t miss the turning points
You need to leave your meat on one side long enough to achieve a nice and crispy caramelisation, but leave it too long and it will burn and blacken, causing it to taste tough and bitter. For thicker, larger cuts of meat, turn frequently to avoid the meat catching.
Don’t brush on barbecue sauce until the last minute
Wait to baste your meat with barbecue sauce until it’s nearly cooked. Since the sauce has sugar, it will burn and char to form a bitter crust when left on the grill for too long.
Don’t do it raw
Using a sharp knife, cut through the centre of the meat or to the bone to check that the meat is cooked and juices are running clear. If still in doubt – don’t be a hero! Chuck it back onto the grill until fully cooked and clean any utsenils used to cut into the meat.
Don’t be condiment happy
A marinade or sauce can bring out the best in your meat, but using too many condiments and sauces can be overkill and will mask the taste of what it is that you’re actually eating. Keep it simple by using a few fresh ingredients when making marinades, salsas or sauces.
Don’t be a worry wart
Grab a glass of Beefsteak Club Malbec, turn up the tunes, and have a delicious summer BBQ.