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Getting started with your BBQ

Over the years of Barbequing and selling BBQs we have picked up some great hints and tips from the experts, our customers and from each other. Some of the most valuable ones have been the most simple and without these barbequing would not be the same for us.

Two simple yet so important tips (you will see how these tips work hand in hand)

  1. Using correct cooking method
  2. Cooking with the lid down

1. Using correct cooking method

One common mistake made in barbequing is cooking using incorrect methods resulting food drying out and the opposite more worrying result is under cooked food which can cause all manner of problems for you and even worse for a guest which can cause them never to attend your annual BBQ feast or worse still end up in a hospital bed with food poisoning. Weather its gas or charcoal you cook on there some basic principles for cooking on a BBQ.

To set up on both Gas and Charcoal the below principals should be applied. (you will see in all methods the lid remains down for cooking as per tip 2)

Charcoal BBQ set up

Grilling

The typical and straight forward method for basic BBQ cooking. Used for smaller cuts of meat and food that takes less than 20 mins to cook.

  • Open the lid and bowl vents.
  • Arrange lit charcoal on each side of the charcoal grate.
  • Pour a little water into a drip tray and place between the glowing briquettes.
  • Replace the cooking grate and put your food directly above the drip tray.
  •  You can reduce heat if the BBQ is too hot simply close the close the lid vent slightly.

50/50 cooking

50/50 method using the “sear & slide technique”, Sear meat directly over the hot coals, then slide it over the drip tray to cook through slowly. This method is great for chicken breasts, butterfly leg of lamb and sausages…

  • Open the lid and bowl vents.
  • Position glowing briquettes to one side of the grate.
  • Pour a little water into a drip tray and place on the other side.
  • Replace the cooking grate and place food to be cooked quickly directly above the coals.
  • Place food that is to be cooked more slowly above the drip tray.

Gas BBQ set up

The typical and straight forward method for basic BBQ cooking

  • Light all the burners and turn up to full heat.
  • Allow the barbecue to pre-heat for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Place the food on the cooking grate directly above the lit burners.
  • If BBQ is burning too hot reduce heat at an even amount across all burners

The traditional kitchen oven method adapted for BBQ heat circulates around food cooking the food slower without burning. Great for roasts, baking bread and even for adding flavour of smoke to food.

  • Light all the burners and turn up to full heat.
  • Allow the barbecue to pre-heat for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Switch off the middle burner(s) and arrange food above the un-lit burner(s).
  • Turn the other burners down to medium, to lower the temperature and close the lid.

As suggested in the name 50/50 allows you to cook directly & in-directly at the same time.

  • Light all the burners and turn up to full heat.
  • Allow the barbecue to pre-heat for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Switch off the middle and right or left hand burners.
  • Sear food over the lit burner (direct heat), then move over to the un-lit area (in-direct heat) for slower cooking.

2. Cooking with the lid down

Now that your BBQ is set up in the correct method the next most important tip is to cook with the lid down. This may be difficult as the perception of most Irish people is that a BBQ should be stood over with a beverage in hand turning and pressing the juice out of burgers and piercing sausages. This could not be further from the correct way to BBQ. Please BBQ men and women of Ireland step away from the BBQ, put your feet up and enjoy your beverage of choice.

Cooking with the lid down allows you to monitor the temperature of the cookbox. With the lid open the temperature gauge will be taking a reading of the air temp mixed with heat off the grill and it will also be pointing to the sky and not facing you the cook where it can be read.
Cooking with the lid down allows the food to essentially recycle flavour and moisture by preventing it escaping into the atmosphere where it will be lost from your food.

Cooking with the lid down reduces flare up completely be default and if burners/charcoals are set up correctly at the correct temperature they should not occur nor effect your food however they cannot be 100% guaranteed not to happen and having the lid down lowers oxygen levels meaning the flames will not reach the height or cause the same effect if the lid were open.

To cook with the lid down may seem to be cooking blind but its simple when you know you’re cooking temperatures and times. You can simply monitor these with a lid mounted thermometer and watch or egg timer. These times and temperatures are common across all cooking and can be found in any good cookbook.

You can now see how cooking with the lid down lends itself to the methods outlined in tip

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