Do’s and Don’ts – the Barbecue Basics

Friday, August 3, 2012 @ 08:08 AM
Lee Phillips

You don’t spend over thirty-five years selling barbecues without discovering all of the tricks of the trade to make cooking on a barbecue foolproof. Here we share some of Napoleon® Grills hot tips for grilling great food time and time again:



  • Prod, poke and play with food. Piercing meats releases the juices and results in dry and chewy food.
  • Keep lifting the lid.  If your barbecue has a lid it is there for a reason – to help food cook properly.  Food can be left to cook on its own while you enjoy the company of your guests.  Lifting the lid increases the cooking time and can cause flare-ups.
  • Scorch and Torch.  Cooking foods at very high temperatures for short periods of time produces meat that can be charred on the outside and pink on the inside. Great if you want to sear meat, but be sure then to continue to grill chicken or pork through thoroughly. Control the cooking temperature and time by checking the thermometer and using the vents on the charcoal grill and the adjustable burners on a gas grill.
  • Spray water to reduce a flame.  Pouring or spraying water produces steam vapours that can scald and it ruins the finish of your barbecue.
  • Block air vents on charcoal barbecues.  A fire needs oxygen, keep vents open to light your barbecue and leave them open throughout the cooking. Close the vents to extinguish the flame and save briquettes.
  • Use petrol or lighter fuel on charcoal grills.  Only use non-toxic firelighters – taste the food and not the fuel.
  • Mix cooked and uncooked foods.  Keep foods apart and do not re-use plates and dishes that have had uncooked foods on them.


  • Use the correct method to cook.  There are two ways to barbecue – directly or indirectly. ‘Direct cooking’ is where small cuts of meat such as chops or burgers are placed directly over the heat source and turned once to cook both sides. ‘Indirect cooking’ can only be done on barbecues with a lid. The food is placed away from the coals or the lit burner.  Once the lid is on, the heat circulates, creating an oven – you can now roast or bake.
  • Keep uncooked food chilled.  Refrigerate food until it is ready to be cooked.
  • Trim excess fats.  Keep food healthy and reduce flare-ups, minimise fats and oils in marinades.
  • Make use of grilling videos and troubleshooting guides. If you want guidance, check out the Internet for more advice or talk to a barbecue centre.

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