With barbecuing food – as in most things in life – there is a right way and a wrong way to do things.
For instance, when it comes to grilling outdoors you should give your food the same respect as if you were preparing a culinary cordon bleu feast for your boss and his other half indoors. That means it’s not just a case of whacking a big juicy steak onto the Barbie, thumping and poking it around a few times and hoping for the best.
No, you should be thinking in terms of removing the steak from the fridge and allowing it to warm to room temperature before you even touch it. Then you might want to throw a bit of seasoning and butter on the steak and finally strategically place it on the barbecue so it gets the best of the heat but not too many flames so that it gets slightly charred or, worse still, burnt.
And if you’ve already had a steak marinading in the fridge for some time prior to your cook-out then do take time to scrape the excess marinade off before putting the steak on the barbecue otherwise the sauce too could result in flames were it to drip onto the coals.
Another tip when it comes to cooking steaks is not to saturate it with oil. Too much oil will cause the meat to blacken on the flames. Instead just dab a small amount of olive oil onto the steak and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. The method is simple, yet effective.
Another common fault with barbecuing is assuming every area of the grill will be roughly the same temperature. This isn’t actually the case as some parts will in fact be hotter than others. And these are the parts you want to cook your steak on.
Vegetables, on the other hand, can be cooked at lower temperatures and moved around depending on how well they’re cooking. The worst thing you can do is just bung everything on at the same time and hope for the best – because the best, that way, is never going to happen!
A favourite – and easy to cook – barbecue dish which just about every one of your guests will love, is Ratatouille. The main thing to look out for here is burning the vegetables but the following recipe is a guide:
- Get two medium sized examples of the following vegetables – courgette, aubergines, red peppers, green peppers and onions.
- You’ll also need a small box of tomatoes, a head of celery, eight cloves of garlic, just over half a cup of olive oil and some seasoning such as parsley, oregano or coriander.
- To cook, get the barbecue cooking to a medium temperature then place the vegetables in a baking tray with most of the olive oil and toss. It would also be a good idea to add the salt and pepper around this time.
- Next, place the vegetables on the barbecue and cook for around eight minutes (keep the barbecue lid open) and turn the vegetables half way through.
- Remove the tomatoes, put down the barbecue lid and let the remaining vegetables grill for around another three minutes.
- Take the vegetables from the heat and chop into large chunks then add to the tomatoes along with the coriander and oregano.
- The dish will then be ready to serve and will cater easily for up to 10 people.