Cooking On The BBQ

7 May 2013 On The Menu

The weekend BBQ at the cottage is a wonderful summer tradition. Here are some tips for beginners to make sure the meal turns out great every time.

BBQ Cooking Tips For Beginners

Cooking on the barbecue requires some practice to become an expert. Once you get it sorted out, your friends and family will treat you like royalty.

How To Cook On A Barbecue

What is the difference between grilling and barbecueing?
Grilling refers to food cooked quickly on high heat over gas, charcoal fires, or wood.
Barbecuing refers to food cooked slowly for a longer time on lower heat over a wood or charcoal fire that is a bit smoky.

Preparing To Cook
Run the BBQ on high with the lid down for 10 to 15 minutes to burn off any residual grizzle that may have survived the clean-up after the last usage. If you don’t have a thermometer you can use the “three second test” for medium heat. If you can hold your hand over the flames for 3 seconds without getting burned the heat is medium.

Keep a spray bottle with water handy to suppress any flare-ups caused by dripping fat and grease.

Wash the meat with cold water and dry it off before you prepare it for the grill.  If the meat is wet it will not sear properly.

Don’t ruin a top quality piece of meat with marinade (sirloin, rib-eye, T-bone, fillet mignon).  If you want some extra flavour use a bit of olive oil, sea salt, and crushed black pepper.

Cooking Tips
Minimize the number of times you lift the lid.  Every time you check the meat you release most of the heat and disrupt the cooking temperature.

When you flip the meat, place the second side onto a different part of the grill.  This ensures exposure to a maximum amount of heat.  The time to cook the second side should be the same as the first side.

How do you know if the meat is rare, medium, or well done?
Rare – The meat is red in the centre but the entire piece of meat is warm.
Medium – The meat is still pink in the middle but brown all around.
Well – The meat is grey in the middle.

Using your finger to test the readiness of the steak isn’t recommended but may be acceptable if you are cooking for your fishing buddies or immediate family.  If you touch the middle of the steak and it is spongy, the steak is rare.  A medium steak is firm but gives way a bit.  A well-done steak will be tough.

When cooking for guests, you should probably use a thermometer to test the readiness of your meat.

Always use tongs instead of a fork to avoid piercing the meat and allowing the juice to run out.

Let the steak sit for a few minutes after you remove it from the BBQ to let the juice spread throughout the meat.

After You Finish Cooking
Always remember to shut-off the gas at the tank as well as the burners. Take the time to thoroughly clean the grill and the area around the BBQ. This not only makes it easier the next time you want to use the barbecue, it also helps keep the animals away.

Go to the BBQ Maintenance page for tips on BBQ care, troubleshooting, and repairs.
Go to the Cottage Meals and Recipes page for simple and tasty cabin recipes.
Go to the Planning Cottage Dinners page for general cabin cooking tips.