Archive for the ‘Barbecue Tips’ Category
Bad, very bad. One thing we can all overlook is what a wonderful home our barbecues can be for rodents, especially those who pack up the BBQ for the winter, not being used and with residues of cooked food; it’s a magnet for those little furry scavengers.
So what can we do? The first thing is to give the BBQ a really good final clean before putting it up for storage, there are a few ways, but the most effective is a really good deep clean with heat, lots of heat, you can buy BBQ cleaners from chemical to scrub brushes and they all do a good job, however we personally never use chemicals to clean the inside of the barbecue other than a little washing up liquid, and with any grease removed on the outside, a little baby oil does the perfect job of restoring and protecting hoods and panels especially Stainless Steel.
Now for the inside, do this first then take care of the outside. With a good sturdy un-treated wire rack, like a cooling rack or similar, wrap it in foil and place it on top of you BBQ grills, then light the barbecue and leave the hood down for between 10 and 15 minutes, the grill will smoke, then when clean the smoke will disappear, once burning free from smoke lift the lid and with longs remove the foil covered rack, the idea of this is to keep heat on the grills and burner bars, with such high temperatures any food residue is turned to nothing but ash, a quick wipe over with a grill brush will remove the ash and leave the cooking surfaces clean and sanitized. (Please in all cases check with the BBQ manufacturer before using this technique with cast-iron cooking grills, this tip is primarily used with Stainless Steel cooking grills)
With the grills and flavour bars clean, you can now continue to wipe down the rest of the BBQ. Once the whole thing is clean, you can put it up for storage, there are a few tips on deterring rodents, one that has the most popular results is using cotton balls soaked in peppermint and placing a few in the grill and cabinet, personally we have never used this but have had many customers comment how they do it and don’t find any evidence of visitors, so for what it costs and the time it takes, we think it’s worth a go.
Now one final tip would be to block off any entry points, especially if the BBQ is to be left outside during the winter, also use a good cover, this will protect the outside from the elements but also make it more difficult for little pests to get in.
One final point is that gas barbecues come with basically two cooking mediums, lava rock or flavour bars, I would remove the lava rocks completely from the grill and store them in a container in the shed or sealed box inside the barbecue cabinet, these may still have a residue of food smells that may attract pests. With flavour bars, if they cleaned well you can leave them in place, or as I like to, remove them along with the actual cooking grills and store them separately in the shed or home, cast-iron grills require more care, so removing them and coating with some grape oil and storing them in the shed will not only provide better protection, but also should any rodents get in the BBQ they will not get to the cooking grills.
This was sent through to us via email from the kind people at Compliance & Safety, a really good source of info for the safe use and keeping of food, often an overlooked subject when shopping, like it, share it and even print it for easy reference!
Many modern and high-end barbecues now have rear rotisserie burners, however 99% of all gas and even some charcoal BBQs have the ability to accept a rotisserie, some supplied as standard. One of the biggest issues is the correct use of the rotisserie and how to position food properly.
Rotisserie cooking is a great way to cook meat and in particular poultry. If you have a rear burner to the back of the cooking area then your BBQ is built for rotisserie cooking, fear not if you don’t though as you can use your standard burners. Cooking using a rotisserie is the ultimate method of ensuring your meat remains juicy, because the meat is constantly turning, it self-bastes using it’s own natural juices resulting in an exceptionally moist and tender meats.
Two of the most important things to remember when cooking with the rear rotisserie burner are to fix the meat securely in the middle of the spit. With poultry,m the wings and legs should be tied tightly to avoid burning. Secondly, make sure you place a large drip pan under the meat to collect any extra juices that run off, these juices are ideal for making gravy, the drip pan can be placed on the grill under the meat, or under the grills if you don’t have room on top.
How to position Poultry on the Rotisserie:
- With the breast down, bring the neck skin up over cavity. Turn under edges of skin, skewer to back skin. Loop oven string around skewer and tie. Turn breast side up and tie or skewer the wings to the body.
- Put a spit fork on the rod. Insert rod on neck skin parallel to the backbone, bring it out just above the tail. Put a second fork on the rod and insert forks in breasts and tail. Test for balance and tighten thumb screws.
- Tie the tail to the rod, the cross the legs and tie to the tail.
Now you know how to load a chicken for roasting, why not put it all to practice with the tandoori chicken recipe below?
The Perfect Tandoori Chicken on the Rotisserie:
Prep time: 15 minutes | Marinade time: 2 to 3 hours | Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- 1 medium whole chicken
- 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tablespoon of paprika
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1½ teaspoons of cumin, ground
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preparation & Cooking:
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Remove giblets and wing tips from chicken. Wash out chicken cavity and pat dry. Place the chicken in a deep dish, coat with yogurt mixture, also get mixture under the skin where possible, Cover and allow chicken to marinate in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours.
- Preheat your barbecue. Remove the chicken from the dish and discard marinade. Place the chicken on a rotisserie spit and cook over an indirect medium heat or with your rear burner on high for 1½ hours, or until internal temperature reaches between 175 to 180 degrees F.
- If heat is too high, reduce and cook over a medium heat instead. Let chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
If your looking for a barbecue with a rotisserie burner, then take a peek at Broil King, most are supplied with a rotisserie included worth over £80!
With the Summer not being as we all wanted, and with word from suppliers that new BBQ models are being launched for 2013, we are starting to see some of the biggest price reductions to date, with Weber Spirit barbecues seeing as much as 35% off the rrp.
New models and a poor Summer so far have forced prices down, but this could be just the time to snap up a real bargain, new models are lauched next year but only with a facelift, the Weber Spirit range is having a complete design change, but the proven cooking side will remain pretty much the same, so if your not concerned with having last years model, you can pick up a current one from under £300 and still have time to use it throughout the rest of this years season.
Outback, as we have said in a recent post are shifting there system back to lava rock cooking, so if your after a bargain from Outback you can almost take your pick as once again suppliers don’t want old stock for next year.
Were now in early August and have another wave of heat expected to reach us in a weeks time, dont miss out, get the BBQ on order now at rock bottom prices and get the family round for a feast this year!
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.
These are random sized pieces of hardwood charcoal are made from wood and nothing more. Lump charcoal will burn at a higher temperature than briquettes, this type of charcoal is often best for cooking steaks, chops and burgers. Do take care when buying lump charcoal as some cheaper options will be full of additives and may even be softwood, this will not get hot enough and additives are never good for cooking with!
These are a uniform, pillow shaped briquette, produced from left over product when producing lump charcoal, the pieces are ground into a consistent size, then using wheat, potato or corn starch as a binding agent they are produced into the same uniform size. Briquettes burn at a lower temperature but last longer than lump-wood, and so are ideal for low and slow cooking, some brands also have wood chips pressed in making them ideal for smoking meats.
Avoid liquid starter fluids, they are a fuel that will taint your food, and completely unnecessary, by far the best and most effective way is by using a chimney starter, all you need is two sheets of newspaper and your away, or a firelighter, the added bonus to chimney starters is that you can light more and add lit charcoal to your BBQ should you need to. Below is a video of Webers’ Chimney Starter being used:
If you want to learn all there is to know about charcoal, then look no further that NakenWhiz! with 75 reviews of charcoal and counting!
The barbecue centre has been supplying gas and charcoal barbecues for over 35 years, we have seen many good and bad BBQ manufacturers and now supply only the best available, from the entry level such as Outback to the premium brands like Weber and Broil King. The professional barbecues are at the forefront and lead the way with design and innovation and are for the professional or demanding barbecue enthusiast.
If your looking to enter the barbecue way of life and have not used one before, then the recommendation always remains the same, tread water first, enter at an affordable level and make sure you have the time and enjoy the experience before going full throttle into the biggest you can buy, some premium gas barbecues can cost thousands of pounds, with an entry professional grill costing anything from £800.
Once you have decided that you want to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, take cost and convenience into account, gas is now the choice for 90%, it’s easy and quick to fire up, this means you’re more likely to use it often. Now if your new your budget is best kept as low as possible, do however take care not to make it too low, this could affect the quality of barbecue you end up with, in turn this can put you off the experience all together, we would always advise that you should look at a £150 to £300 budget for your first gas purchase.
This is where Outback often steps in, they provide a good grill at an affordable price, they offer the same features as a more professional equivalent but on a smaller scale, these grills will see you through a couple of seasons setting you up to either continue barbecuing or if you find you don’t use it you haven’t spent a fortune trying out the lifestyle.
Another brand that offers entry level cooking is Broil King with the popular gem barbecue, priced at under £200 it offers more features and build quality to the larger professional series BBQ’s, the Broil King barbecues have over-sized cook boxes so that you can really try out everything outdoor cooking has to offer, from whole chickens to racks of meat.
Whatever grill you choose, remember that the whole experience is for enjoyment, make sure that you are made aware of all the facts regarding what barbecue you choose, speak to a barbecue centre or supplier to ensure that spares are available, research your list of choices on the Internet to find reviews. One major point that is almost always overlooked is the gas, be aware that your initial outlay for the gas will be around £60, this is because if you don’t already own a gas cylinder you will need to enter into a “bottle agreement”. When you first have a gas bottle you will be charged not just for the gas, but a one-off payment has to be made for the rental of the bottle itself, so do include this in your budget, along with extra items, one really important one being a cover if not included with the BBQ.
Often looks are put before performance, a real shame and one of the biggest areas to look at is the cook-box, some barbecues just don’t have what it takes, and in the case of the cook-box, size really does matter. To save cost, cook-boxes are often very shallow and thin, or have large openings in the bottom of the casting, obviously designed to use as little steel as possible. However there are serious performance problems created by a thin, shallow or open cook-box that far outweigh the benefit of lower cost.
- With a shallow cook-box the burner is located too close to the cooking grids to allow the heat to dissipate properly. This causes uneven heat distribution.
- With a shallow cook-boxes the vaporizer is positioned too close to the cooking grids. Should you encounter a flare up, it will scorch and burn your food.
- With a shallow cookbox, there is not enough room in the oven to rotisserie or roast a large chicken, turkey, or prime rib.
- With a thin cookbox the heat is not distributed evenly within the oven offering poor results when rotisserie cooking or roasting using the indirect or convection method.
- A thin cook-box that is exposed to very high operating temperatures for extended periods of time is subject to warping and distortion.
Broil King are one of the best barbecue manufacturers for using design that is practical to the product, the heavy appearance isn’t only skin deep, it goes through to the core, robust and reliable barbecues built in Canada. Broil King® cook-boxes are extra deep, made from either die cast aluminum, porcelain coated steel or high grade stainless steel, and are designed to provide superior heat distribution and retention, cooking versatility and long lasting durability, this combined with Broilking’s heavy duty cast iron or stainless steel grills make sure that your barbecue wont just cook, it will create the perfect food whatever the meal.
Most typical problems when your barbecue miss-behaves is after long periods of storage, we have talked through burner cleaning etc, however below are some common issues and resolutions when your BBQ presents a problem.
Problem: Barbecue Not Getting Hot Enough
Solutions: Patio gas bottles can shut the valve down in the reg or at the bottle if the flow is turned on to quickly, to resolve:
- Turn the cylinder regulator off then turn all the burner knobs off, remove the regulator from the tank, then reconnect.
- Always turn the cylinder valve on slowly for the first 1/4 turn, turning it on too fast can cause the initial burst of flow to push the leak detection valve to shut down the supply, restricting gas flow.
- Always follow the advice provided by the gas supplier and barbecue manufacturer.
Problem: Burners will not light
- Check that the gas tank is not empty
- Ensure that the burner is sitting flat and level in the barbecue and the venturi tubes are properly seated within the valve (refer to barbecue instructions)
- Ensure that you have cleaned the barbecue burners
- Ensure ignitor is working
- Ensure the cylinder valve is turned on and the regulator assembly is fully tightened to the cylinder valve.
Problem: Flame Burns Out
- Ensure barbecue is sufficiently preheated
- Ensure venturi tubes are properly seated over the orifice(s) on the valve
- Ensure venturi tubes are clear
Problem: Black smoke on food or yellow flame
Solutions: Venturi tubes partially blocked causing incorrect gas-air mixture and therefore improper burn.
- Check and clean venturi tubes
- Check air shutters on venturi tubes for correct setting (many are now pre-set at the factory and are not adjustable, check with instructions first)
- Check condition of burner port holes.
Problem: Flashback (flame burning at venturi tubes, valve, console or control knobs)
Solutions: Immediately shut off the gas supply at the gas tank or supply, let the barbecue cool and then remove the burners and check for any blockage in the ports or venturi tubes.
Problem: Regulator is humming
Solutions: This is not a defect or hazard. The noise is internal and caused by cold propane passing through a restricted space, this usually occurs with a full tank in hot weather cools and the level of propane in the cylinder goes down, always double check for leaks.
Problem: Burner lights with match, but not with ignitor
- Ensure push button is not broken or wet
- Check to see if the wire is broken or frayed
- Check to see if the electrode on the ceramic part is broken, blocked or not central.
- Ensure batteries do not need replacing.
- Check for any obstruction in venturi tubes.
Problem: Too much heat
Solutions: Too much heat can be caused by excessive grease build-up, damaged or miss-seated burners or a faulty regulator. On older barbecues using rocks, there may be too many or they could be too close to each other.
Problem: Excessive flare-ups
Solutions: Excessive flare-ups can be caused by a large build up of grease, clogged grease drain or too much fatty food on the grill at any one time, drain all excess marinades off food before grilling, when cooking high fat content foods, where possible reverse grills too allow fat to drain away from the burners, or if your grills are not reversible, use a foil tray under the grill to catch the fats.
Problem: Incomplete burner flame
- Check and see if the venturi tubes are obstructed, blocked or not seated properly.
- Check that the burner is obstructed or leaking.
Stainless steel is frequently used in barbecues due to its quality, durability and aesthetics, however it is not a maintenance free product all materials will stain including Stainless steel, common discolouration is from smoke, food deposits, using the wrong cleaners and grease. Regular cleaning with a mild detergent solution and a soft cloth is one of the best ways to maintain the appearance and keep the BBQ clean, always ensure you use a soft cloth and nothing abrasive.
Stainless Steel Cooking Grills:
Stainless steel grills can exceed the discolouration temperature of 450°C, this does not affect the grills cooking performance, purely the appearance. Stainless steel cooking grills require attention because foods contain salt especially in rubs and marinades, the salt residue left behind leaves a rust-like colouration, this can be reduced by washing and seasoning the grills regularly with oil. The best oil for cooking grills (cast iron or Stainless steel) is Grape Seed oil, the high burn temperature means that the oil will protect the grills throughout the cooking process, olive oil has a very low burn temperature and will not offer any protection to the grills, it also has a taste that can pass onto food whereas Grape Seed oil has a neutral flavour. Avoid peanut oil, just encase any guests have allergies.
Discoloured Stainless Steel BBQ Lids:
Discolouration from grease on Stainless steel lids is a common barbecue problem, many professional barbecues will have double lined lids, this does protect against discolouration, however does not eliminate it. When cooking barbecue smoke filled with grease particles leaves a deposit on surrounding areas, discolouration is noticeable most close to the bottom of the lid. When grease is deposited on a hot surface it will bake on and become visible as a golden brown sheen.
When fat and grease has become baked on it will not be easily removed by standard cleaners, it can resemble rust and is often confused with discolouration of the actual Stainless steel, this is not the case, the best method to remove the residue is to pre-soak the affected area in a warm or hot ammonia solution, this will soften the baked on grease, wash with the solution, then with detergent and rinse thoroughly with water, remember to wipe dry to avoid watermarks caused by lime deposits in the water.
Cleaning the Shelves and Frames of the BBQ:
In most cases cleaning with a mild household detergent or BBQ cleaner will restore the Stainless steel finish to an as new look, if an area close to the cooking lid has been affected by heat then follow the above instructions for baked on grease. Again applying some Grape Seed oil to the areas most affected by grease after cleaning will protect from future attacks and also aid cleaning next time.
Things to Avoid When Cleaning:
- Never use bleach or cleaners containing bleach.
- Never use metal or steel wool to scour Stainless steel. The residue left behind by the metal or steel wool will show as rust.
- On cosmetic areas such as lids, doors, shelves etc, never use harsh abrasives, they will scratch the surface. Instead use mild solutions and soak areas to clean and use a soft cloth. Scrapers and harsh brushes should only be used on grills.
- If you need to use mild abrasives always go with the grain of the Stainless steel.
- Never use acid on Stainless steel.