We all love it when we can down tools, get out the barbecue and hear that familiar sizzle pop while we catch up with friends. Whether it’s bank holiday weekend or the sun is shining after a long day at work, there is nothing better than the smell of chargrilled deliciousness wafting through the air.
Let us give you a helping hand for what to avoid when your having a barbeque. We’re going to unfold the mistakes people make on the barby, and what you can do to get it right.
Choosing the wrong kind of barbecue
First things first, choosing the barbecue most suited to your needs is essential. There’s no point investing in a state of the art grill, to only use at one function. That might leave you wondering, ‘what’s the best kind of barbecue?’. Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy answer to that one. But a good place to start, is with the kind of barbecued food you like to eat. If, for example, you’re a fan of smokey pulled pork, opt for a barbecue that offers indirect heat, like an American-style smoker. If you often have large gatherings where you need to turn around burgers and hot dogs quickly, a gas barbecue might be more convenient.
Not getting the timings right
We’ve been there, stocking up on barbecue essentials and ending up with a trolley bursting with goodies to grill. However, the hard bit is knowing what to put on the barbecue, when.
As a rule of thumb, meat items should go on first, with thicker cuts of meat like chicken legs and ribs taking priority, followed by the thinner items, like steak and vegetables. We recommend writing yourself a list before you start barbecuing – that way you’ll have a reference point so you don’t make mistakes while socialising.
Not cooking food long enough
As fun as barbecues are, nobody likes a dodgy tummy. While the meat might look done, it might still be raw on the inside. Rather than roll the dice and risk a bad tum, invest in a meat thermometer to tell you what you need to know.
We don’t all know how hot meat should be before we eat it, and often use our judgement to make a call. But as a general guide, the chicken should be 75 degrees Celsius, and pork and lamb and should be 65 degrees Celsius.
Putting food on as soon as you’ve lit the barbecue
If you’re a seasoned barbecue pro, you might know exactly when to put food on the barbecue. But if you’re new to cooking on the grill, it’s not always obvious. If you put met on when you’ve first lit the barbecue, it’ll lead to scorched outsides and raw insides. Steaks and chops aside, items like sausages, chicken drumsticks and sausages are best put on the grill when the flames have died down and the embers have turned white.
Not using the barbecue to its full potential
It’s only natural to think of meat as the ideal barbecue partner, but the truth is, there are so many items that taste great on the barbecue. Think along the lines of roasted new potatoes, vegetable and halloumi skewers, toasted buns and barbecued banana and brown sugar for pud.
You’re not prepping properly
The art of a barbecue is in the preparation. From your barbecue shopping list to the cooking timings, right through to making sure you’ve got enough barbecue essentials, like drinks, Party Ice Cubes and cutlery. Prepare before the day and make barbecuing a breeze.
You’re not marinading the ingredients
There’s nothing wrong with plain meat, veg and fish – it’s nice. But if you want to from ‘nice’ to spectacular, you need to marinate your ingredients. Ideally, marinate your ingredients the night before, allowing the flavours to infuse. While this isn’t a bona fide ‘barbecue mistake’, we still think it’s hugely important.
You’re not letting the meat rest
What’s the point of letting the meat rest, we hear you ask. Well, as the meat cooks, the muscle fibres start to firm up and water moves towards the outer surface of the meat. When you’ve finished cooking your meat, cutting into it straight away pushes the water out. By allowing it to rest, the moisture sinks back into the meat, leaving it tender and juicy. What’s more, the meat carries on cooking for a short while after you take it off the grill, so for those of you who don’t like a dry burger, take note!
You’ve not got the right tools for the job
It’s all well and good having the barbecue of your dreams. But if you’ve not got the right tools, you could end up in a sticky situation. We recommend investing in a few essential items, like a fish slice, a heavy-duty oven glove and a pair or two of tongs.
You’ve forgotten to plan drinks
Summer evenings are the perfect chance to indulge in scrumptious food. But there’s another side of things you absolutely cannot forget – drinks! Whether you go the whole hog and plan food and drink pairings, or just make sure you’ve got the right amount of beer, Party ice cubes, and soft drinks, your drinks menu can make or break your bank holiday barbecue. If you don’t want parched guests, this is one barbecue mistake to avoid!
For more tips on hosting the ultimate barbecue, check out our guide here.