Top tips for the perfect BBQ

Couple on vacation having barbecueAt Alan Blunden Insurance, we are experts in offering home and motor insurance in Southend. Our team here are also experts in something else too – making the perfect barbeque! With the weather warming up nicely, we have gathered together some of our top tips:

  • according to the Met Office, the county of Essex has more than 1,550 hours of sunshine during the average year – that’s plenty of sunny days for the perfect BBQ;
  • the only difficulty is likely to be in choosing just when sunny hours are more or less assured – for that you may turn to the same Met Office website for detailed 5-day forecasts for Southend and other towns in the country;
  • when it comes to the BBQ itself, one of the keys to success is simply being organised – this includes organising enough work areas, equipment and storage for food about to be cooked and that has already been done;
  • it is probably a good idea to light the coals, briquettes or whatever fuel you are using ahead of your guests’ arrival – that aroma of BBQ smoke may greet them on arrival and give them an appetite for the food that is already to be cooked over the hot coals;
  • once the range is fired up and for as long as the coals remain hot – a long time, in other words – be safety conscious not only to the risk of fire but also the surfaces that remain blisteringly hot;
  • although your first thoughts for the type of food to cook are likely to be meats, such as steaks, chicken, burgers and sausages, remember that the summer months are also a time for very tasty, fresh vegetables to cook on the grill – it is not only your vegetarian guests who are likely to appreciate the distinctive taste or grilled courgettes, tomatoes, corn on the cob or even fruits such as apples and plums – check out the BBC Good Food page for more vegetarian BBQ ideas:
  • marinades may allow you free rein for your creative culinary skills – meat marinated overnight not only absorbs the flavours you have concocted, but also helps to tenderise the meat;
  • a common mistake is to season your meat whilst it is marinating – pepper may be fine, but avoid adding salt until no more than 2 hours before you begin cooking;
  • since you are likely to have stored meat and other food in the fridge overnight, remember to take it out and allow it to reach the ambient outdoor temperature for at least 20 minutes before putting it on the grill;
  • BBQs have the unfortunate reputation for cooking meat until it has been burnt to a cinder or else it is still raw – constantly check that any meat or fish is cooking evenly by testing it with a knife or fork;
  • just as you probably do with your Sunday roast, remember that any cooked meat needs to stand and rest once it has been taken off the heat – this not only helps to seal in the juices but also completes the tenderising process.

The final step is no more difficult than ensuring that all of your guests get a taste of your efforts and enjoy the very English treat of eating a well cooked meal in the open air on a sunny day in Southend.

Further reading: Channel 4 BBQ tips