Bank Holiday BBQ

9 BBQ Hacks You Need to Know This Summer

We can’t always trust the weather report. So when the sun finally comes out (and stays out) it can be a bit of a surprise. You rush to spread word you’re hosting a garden party and make a last minute dash to the shops to stock up on essentials. But don’t panic. Here's a few really simple BBQ hacks to make sure your BBQ goes off without a hitch.

1. Don't Use Old Charcoal
Still have some charcoal lying around from last summer? If it's not used within six months of opening it'll have had too much time to draw in the air's moisture. Don't chuck it away though. Just mix a few briquettes with a new bag and it'll burn just fine.

2. Use an Egg Carton to Light Charcoal
Having trouble lighting the charcoal? No problem. Put a few pieces of charcoal in an old egg carton and place in the centre of your grill. Light the edge of the carton and let the cardboard do the rest of the work.

3. Wait Until the Charcoal is White
It's easy to be impatient and chuck food on the grill straight away. But you'll only end up tapping your fingers, waiting for the heat to catch up. So light the charcoal and wait for it to change to a white/grey colour. Once it's changed colour you'll know it's hot enough to start cooking.

4. Grease the Grill Before Adding Food
It's an obvious one but it's one we sometimes forget - greasing the grill prevents food sticking to it. You could infuse the oil to give your food extra flavour too. Why not add garlic? Or maybe even chilli.

5. Take Meat Out of the Fridge 15 Minutes Before Cooking
This rule isn't limited to BBQs. Meat left at room temperature will cook more evenly. The outside is less likely to burn and the inside will be really succulent. But don't leave it longer than 15 minutes otherwise you'll encourage unwanted bacteria growth on the meat.

6. Cook Your Burgers Properly
You might like your steak medium-rare. But burgers aren't like steak. Burgers are made with minced meat which means any harmful bacteria lurking in that meat is mixed the whole way through. And the only way to get rid of the bacteria is to properly cook your burger.

Click here to read our blog: The Truth About Rare Burgers - Are You at Risk of Food Poisoning?

7. Get a Criss-Cross Effect on Your Food
It looks great and gives your food a lovely chargrilled flavour. So how do you achieve it? Place your food on the grill as if it were at 10 o'clock. Leave it to sear for a couple minutes then turn it to 2 o'clock.

8. Drizzle Meat with Apple Juice
This works really well with pork. All you need to do is lightly coat the meat with some apple juice while it's on the grill. The apple juice keeps the meat moist, tender and gives it a lot more flavour. Be careful not to drench the meat, you just need enough apple juice to stop it from drying out.

9. Use Two Sets of BBQ Tongs
Use one set of tongs for handling food and the other for turning hot coals. Keeping them separate will make sure your food won't get dusty from the charcoal. The Churrasco BBQ Meat Tongs are great because the Brazilian cherry wood handle is heat resistant and long enough to keep your hand away from any flames.

Nisbets Code DC476 Meat Tongs

Need help choosing the right BBQ? Our BBQ buying guide takes you through the differences between gas and charcoal models and how you should care for them.

By Briony Cook
Consumer Marketing Executive at Home Chef.
It's no secret Briony's passionate about food. She's always talking about it. And if she's not talking it's because she's eating. Briony knows a thing or two about baking and her colleagues love it when she brings in her latest creation.

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