Do you fancy yourself as a bit of a grill master or BBQ connoisseur, or would like to be one?
Would you love to host a brunch, lunch, picnic or feast, or just a backyard cook-up on a lazy day to entertain a crowd? Having a barbeque has to be one of the most enjoyable ways to eat as a group, but where do you start?
CHOOSING THE RIGHT BBQ
When considering buying a BBQ, one can often come away quite perplexed at all the different options available. A good starting point is to go with a trusted brand as a kick-off – you really do get what you pay for with barbeques when you consider that they spend the whole time outside open to the elements.
Brands such as Outdoor Chef, Beefeater and Gasmate would be three of the best, with Outdoor Chef my personal favourite – affordable and awesome (with the range available from Bunnings), too easy. The Outdoor Chef Geneva, is a great all-rounder, for looks, style and ease of use, plus it is European so guarantees absolute quality. The two-burner system with rotatable funnel for optimal direct and indirect barbecuing (awesome for baking the perfect scones and pastries), plus integrated thermometer in the lid and the non-stick pizza pan for smoky flavoured homemade pizzas (kids love them!), makes cooking a cinch. The fast combustion (from 1 to 350 degrees in about 5 minutes) also means you don’t have to wait long to get cooking #lovenotwaiting. Gosh, it does sometimes feel like you are talking about a car …
If looking for a portable option, the Lotus Grill is also a great little item. We have used it many-a-time for camping, nice and simple.
So, things to consider include:
1. What style of BBQ do you need?
- Flat top is great for sausages.
- Hooded is a bit of an all-rounder.
- Charcoal or gas? Charcoal gives off the most incredible flavour, but gas offers convenience, versatility and ease of use.
2. What quality are you after?
Look for a barbeque that is well made with good quality materials and surfaces i.e. stainless steel, vitreous enamel. It will be worth the extra investment, lasting longer than cheaper versions.
3. What is the heat output?
Find out the heat output.
4. Does it come with a thermometer?
Make sure that if you are buying a hooded or kettle BBQ, it has a thermometer. This is very important for roasting, baking or pizzas.
USING THE BBQ
When using the barbeque, Celebrity Chef Darren Simpson has provided the following top tips.
- Have all your ingredients well prepared in advance because once you start cooking, it’s fast and furious!
- Always clean your barbeque after you use it. Don’t wait until the next time, otherwise the crusty bits will be left behind!
- A quick and easy way to clean a barbecue is by rubbing half a lemon over it. The acid from the lemon will clean it.
- Expand the life of your BBQ by putting the cover on it. It will give your barbecue a longer life and keep the salt, rain and sun off.
- Get your kids involved from a young age by teaching them how to cook. They can help prepare and cook lunch and dinner. This is a great way to expand your kids’ palette and get them interested in food. The Children’s Food Education Foundation is a great website that is helping kids learn to cook and eat well.
- When you start up the barbecue, watch out and be careful with young kids around because a kettle barbecue especially gets very hot!
- If you want to get a really great char-grill colour and caramelisation, keep the lid off and cook on a high heat. If you’re cooking a larger roast or fish, use a medium to low temp and keep the lid on, this creates an oven environment from the kettle.
- Always season your meat and fish after you barbecue, it will keep it moist and juicy. If you get flecks of charred barbecue bits on your food, just lie to your guests and say it is black pepper!
Once you have got your barbeque, it’s time to cook! Darren recommends the following dish.
Grilled Pizza Bread
For the dough
- 350g 00 Italian flour
- 150g maize flour
- 10g fresh yeast
- 200ml tepid water
- 1 tbsp salt
Add the yeast to the water and dissolve. Add the flour and salt, and mix with a dough hook for ten minutes to form slightly wet elastic dough. Cover and leave in a warm place for one hour.
- 250g mixed cherry tomatoes crushed seasoned with salt, pepper and one crushed clove of garlic
- 100g my mate Pino’s spicy salami paste
- 150g soft fresh goat’s curd
- 4 tbsp grated Parmesan
- ½ bunch of freshly picked marjoram
- ½ bunch of picked basil
- 1 head of Treviso shredded
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
- A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your barbeque as high as it will go!
- Roll out 200g of the pizza dough into a thin circle and brush with a little olive oil.
- Grilled the pizza till crisp on both sides.
- Spread with the spicy salami paste.
- Sprinkle over the tomatoes, Parmesan and goat’s curd.
- Sprinkle over the shredded Treviso, basil & marjoram.
- Serve at once drizzled with olive oil and lemon wedges.