Barbecue is a great institution where communal cooking and sharing of food, stories and time brings family together. Barbecue is synonymous with summer and everyone looks forward to a sizzling show, great meats, salads and conversation, all summer long. This year and in future, home gatherings and meals are going to take on a greater importance. Struggling with where to start on your staycation BBQ adventure? We’re experts in backyards and the BBQ is a quintessential part of that.
We all know the basics to a good grilling: Seafood, Steak, Brisket & maybe even a veggie sausage if you’re feeling adventurous. How can you step that up and impress your family?
Let’s cook up a plan to take your BBQ game to the next level.
How to get the perfect BBQ steak.
Steak is a BBQ delicacy; your family will be thrilled when their senses detect fresh beef on the grill. Make sure you get the right cut of meat and cook it to perfection.
The formula to a good steak? Simple:
Give your chosen cut a good sprinkling of salt on both sides, set them on a hot grill until they’re nicely seared - check for firmness and then let them rest. Repeat: let them rest! This will let the juices and flavour reset throughout the steak.
It’s important to remember that the heat of the meat will continue to cook it even after it’s off the grill so don’t cook it to the point where it will become well done after sitting, keep it back and let the setting get it to the nice medium rare it should be.
Build a Grill and Barbecue Station.
Before we go too far, we need to check in and make sure your backyard paradise is ready. If you love entertaining and cooking outside, you've got to make sure you have a grill, barbecue or fire pit that will do the job. You will also benefit from creating an entire grill station. Don't settle for a lonely grill, why not design and build a grill station? It's fun project you can do yourself that will take your backyard BBQ to the next level.
Is it really a BBQ if a sausage doesn’t hit the grill?
We’ve moved into the 20’s now so it’s time to step up your grill game. Why not introduce a variety of sausages & hotdogs to the plate. The opportunities are endless. Start with a German bratwurst or perhaps a Traditional South African boerewors?
Hot dogs on the barbecue can be a crowd pleaser too! As with any meat ensure you know what it’s made of. Some sausages are smoked or pre-cooked and can be heated up on the BBQ whereas a fresh sausage will need to be cooked all-the-way-through.
One of our new favourites for BBQ season is to set up a dedicated condiment station. Give your guests the unbridled power to construct their own hotdog or sausage in bread combination. Get creative with the toppings you supply, don’t stray too far away from onions, tomato sauce and barrel-aged bbq sauce but try offering salsa, hot sauce, barbecued tomato or even a blue cheese sauce. Don’t forget fresh buns or bread to hold it!
The best way to cook chicken on the BBQ.
There’s often debate grill-side, as to if it’s worth the effort and/or risk of cooking chicken when you BBQ - you don’t want to undercook a chicken, ever, but, it’s also suboptimal to serve up a dry morsel as well.
The most reliable way to look after the chicken lovers at your party is to salt the chicken all over, sear the outside and then move the chicken to an unheated part of the BBQ. A rack or empty corner of the grill is best, this way the heat will continue to cook the inside of the chicken without drying it out or burning the skin. Always check the meat once it firms up to ensure it’s cooked all the way through, it’s not a steak! (see above)
Epic burgers every time.
Sizzling burgers on the grill is the perfect way to feed a larger family. The most important advice when cooking burger patties is to leave them alone. Only flip them once, think of them as meat pancakes. Try to resist the urge to squish them down, this just removes the juices (flavour) from then and can result in a dry bit of meat. Also, don’t cook medium rare patties, it’s not a steak! (see above).
Vegetables are for everyone, even kids.
Corn is a great BBQ choice and takes very little effort. You can throw a corn cob on, pre-husking. This gives the corn itself a little bit of protection whilst serving as natural tinfoil. You’ll get a great smoky flavour and a well-cooked vegetable. Don’t forget to incorporate capsicums and tomatoes in your plan.
Try adding some colour to your meal with whole tomatoes and capsicums are best grilled by slicing in half and placing the open face on your grill. When the veggies are warm and have a bit of colour, flip them over and get a bit of caramelisation on the other side to finish.
If you’ve got some smaller tomatoes still on the vine, place the whole bunch on the grill, still attached - they’ll be perfect.
Fill up the chiller, it’s beverage time.
Some would say hydration is the most important thing on the menu for your next grill-up. Stock up with some beer, have a few bottles or wine and be a good host by offering a variety of delicious non-alcoholic beverages such as iced tea, homemade lemonade and perhaps a nice fruity punch.
Sangria is a great way to get through a hot summer day, it’s easy to make and can quench a large group of people. A bottle of wine (red or white or both) combined with lemon, orange, lime and your choice of berries and mixer (lemonade or ginger ale is best, don’t use cola).
As always, have plenty of ice-cold water to go along with your alcoholic drinks and make sure you look after your family.
Do you have room for dessert?
The best advice we can make is suggesting your guests bring a dessert - that way you don’t have to think about it! Suggest they bring a homemade apple or berry pie.
Another great trick is to re-light the barbecue and grill some fruit such as peaches or pineapple and serve them with ice cream.
Enjoy your summer.
As always, look after yourself and your family - use sunscreen, remember to cover up with shade and stay hydrated (with water as well) and of course have a great time.
Looking for the best outdoor shade solution for summer BBQs? Try the Shadowspec Unity™