Top chefs share expert tips for a banging BBQ – and point out major mistakes

As lockdown restrictions ease we’re now able to meet up with up to six friends or family members so long as we’re outside.

Which means we can finally spend some quality time together.

And, with the seasons changing and the weather getting warmer (for the most part) that means barbecues are at the top of our list of upcoming social events.

But, having not seen our loved ones for months, or even a whole year, throwing a few sausages and burgers on the grill just won’t cut it.

The Daily Star spoke to some top chefs to discover their tips for cooking the best BBQ food possible.

Here’s what they had to say:

Irini Tzortzoglou, from irinicooks, said: “For me the perfect BBQ is made with a balance of meats or fish and accompaniments.

“A lovely salad, a good bread and a few dips and sauces are a must!

“The cooking is crucial too. All too often the person minding the BBQ understandably chats and enjoys the glass in their hand too much to take proper care of the food cooking.

“All things have different cooking times and this is often ignored and basting regularly ensures moist and flavoursome meat.

“I use a good extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice and herbs in my marinades. Lamb suits a robust herb like rosemary and garlic of course!”

You can also change up your side dishes – try adding potato and pasta salad, some soft cheeses, interesting breads and dips.

While celebrity chef Mark Greenaway added: “I think the best tip I can give is to buy a BBQ that is large enough that can have controllable heat zones, that way you can vary the heat depending on what you're cooking.

“I think the biggest mistake us Brits sometimes make is thinking everything must cook on a scorching hot bbq, let's face it we have all eaten a burnt sausage or two at a friends BBQ, there is nothing worse than almost raw in the middle but burnt on the outside sausages.

“I spent five years living and working in Sydney, Australia and one thing they are amazing at is hosting a bbq.

“In Australia the rule when invited to a BBQ is bring your own protein, so the host will do an amazing spread of side dishes and each person that turns up brings a few steaks or some marinated pork chopped, someone will always turn up with some sausages or seafood, so it always ends up being an event that everyone is involved in and not just the host.”

And, Heliot Steak House Executive Chef, Ioannis Grammenos added: “Remove your meat out of the fridge at least one hour before cooking and rest the meat after you’ve taken it off the heat in order to seal in the moisture.”

You need to bring your meat up to room temperature before cooking or it could burn on the outside, but not cook through within.

Plus, he added that we Brits often make some crucial mistakes.

Ioannis said: “People tend to not light the Bbq early enough, leaving you cooking over live flames rather than hot coals for a more even finish.

“Plus, cooking too many items at once makes it hard to keep track of different cooking times and temperatures.”

You can set timers on your phone linked to each meat or vegetable so that you know when they’re fully cooked.

Meanwhile, chef and recipe developer for HelloFresh Mimi Morley explained the secret to incredibly flavoured meat.

She said: “To ensure your meat packs a delicious punch, marinade these for as long as possible to ensure the flavours permeate the outer layers – ideally leaving your meats to marinade overnight will ensure optimum flavour.

“However, if short of time, prick the meat making small holes and place in a sealed freezer bag massaging the marinade as you go to help speed up the marinading process. Do this for around one hour at the very minimum.”

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And, what you cook on helps too.

Mimi noted: “Your choice of charcoal is important, and understanding how different types can impact taste.

“If, for example, you opt for charcoal created from oak trees it will release subtle smoky caramel tones, while coal from orange wood carries a deep marmalade flavour that compliments the likes of chicken, duck and turkey.

“Top tip! Try soaking oak wood chips in water and put them on the hot coals when you’re ready to BBQ, this will create a heavy smoke flavour which is ideal for red meats, game and fish.”

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