A Beginner’s Barbecue Guide
During the winter months, cooking a delicious meal on the barbecue is the perfect way to keep warm. The good news for beginners is that using a barbecue is actually not as complicated as it looks. Learning to cook perfectly over a grill can take some time, but once you master it, you’ll be well on the way to impressing your friends with tasty culinary creations. We’ve broken down the basics of operating barbecues, and included our favourite tips and tricks to help you get started.
What are the Different Types of BBQ Grill?
There are three main categories of barbecue as determined by their fuel type: gas, electric and charcoal. These can then be further divided into in-built and portable barbecue. Although each of these can be easily used by beginners, it’s important to note that the type of fuel within your barbecue will affect the flavour of your food. For this reason, professional chefs generally recommend charcoal grills for their superior ability to produce food with a rich smoky flavour.
Charcoal barbecues are often very affordable and come in a wide variety of makes and models. Although it can be a little bit tricky to keep charcoal grills running at a constant temperature, we think it’s worth it purely for the authentic fire barbecue experience and taste. In comparison, gas barbecues are a great option for beginners as they are convenient to use and simple to clean. The gas that powers these grills is an incredibly affordable fuel option, and you can still achieve that coveted smoky flavour by placing barbecue wood chips in a smoker box. Electric barbecues are a great option for those looking for a unique cooking method that requires minimal time or effort. Many electric barbecues are able to prepare meals in an automated manner and come equipped with multi-cook features.
What do I need to start BBQing?
Once you’ve got a good understanding of your barbecue’s fuel source, there are a few additional tools you should have to take your barbecuing skills to the next level. The first and most basic of these is a lid for your barbecue. While this might seem self-evident, the truth is that a barbecue lid is one of the easiest ways to ensure you lock in flavour and keep your barbecue’s temperature constant. Next, grab a pair of heavy-duty oven gloves to help you avoid any nasty burns, and a good pair of tongs to give you more control over your cooking.
One of the best things about barbecuing is the many accessories that are available to help upgrade your skills. Whether you find yourself needing a fish slice, a roasting trivet, or even a thermometer, a local store such as Park Road Timber and Hardware will stock the accessories you need.
How to Barbecue
Before you turn on your barbecue, it’s best to ensure the grill is clean. This can prevent your food from sticking to the surface of the barbecue and helps you achieve those classic grill lines. To clean your barbecue, use a stiff bristled brush to remove gunk, grime or rust, and remove any debris from the bottom of the grill. Then, apply a thin layer of canola oil to the grill and wipe away any excess before turning on the heat. This step is known as ‘seasoning’ and it’s a surefire way to create a non-stick cooking surface.
Once your barbecue is clean, it’s time to start thinking about preheating. For electrical barbecues, this means simply plugging the cables into a power socket, and for charcoal, this involves adding charcoal underneath the grate. For grills such as a portable gas barbecue, you need to ensure the valve on your gas line is open, as this allows gas to flow through (note: be extra careful around gas). Just as there are many different barbecues, there are also many different ways to preheat, so your best bet is checking your barbecue’s manual and following its instructions.
When everything’s ready to go, you only have to focus on your food and adjusting the temperature. Our biggest tip is to always flip your meat or vegetables using tongs or a spatula to avoid losing juice during turning. For the best flavour, you should ideally only flip each item once and avoid pressing down on anything with a spatula while it’s grilling.
Ready to Get Started?
At Park Road Timber & Hardware, we’re experts when it comes to all things barbecues. We stock a wide range of barbecues and accessories perfect for experienced barbecuers and beginners alike. Our most recent addition is the leading Webber range, including quality equipment and accessories such as weber barbecue gas. To find the best barbecue for your needs, contact us to discuss our product and accessory range, or visit us in store.