The Perfect Barbecue

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This month it’s all about barbecues at Sunny D, with the sun putting in an appearance and a big giveaway of barbecue treats. Time to brush up your fire skills with our top barbecuing tips. We’ve also put together some mouthwatering marinade recipes to give your outdoor feast that extra zing.

Charcoal not gas

Cooking over an open fire takes skill. You may think it’s just about chucking a few sausages on, but most people are terrible at barbecuing and no one wants sausages burned on the outside and raw in the middle. It may seem obvious but without the right barbecue you are doomed from the outset. A gas barbecue may seem convenient but you may as well cook indoors. It won’t give the food that wonderful smoked flavour that you are after. It’s all about the charcoal. And did you know there are different kinds of charcoal, which imparts different tastes to your food?

Patience is a virtue

It’s best to light the barbecue well before you want to start cooking and probably before your guests arrive. Then you need to wait for the flames to die down. Avoid the temptation to start cooking straight away. The coals should be very hot but without any open flames. That gives the best heat, without any danger of burning your food.

Be a grill master

Start with a clean, well-oiled grill. You did clean it after the last barbecue didn’t you? Give it a scrub with a wire brush and then be generous with the vegetable oil. This prevents the food from sticking. Don’t turn the meat too frequently, really one flip is all it needs. Leave meat to ‘rest’ for a few minutes on a warm plate. This lets the juices settle for the perfect barbecue flavour.

Plenty of choice

So what to cook on your barbecue? Meat, of course, juicy chicken wings and legs, which can be marinated the night before, steak, homemade burgers, and of course the humble sausage. But don’t forget fish which can be very successfully barbecued, either fillets or even a whole fish if you’re feeling brave. Vegetables love the grill and taste fantastic with a smoky flavour. And don’t skimp on the side dishes. Tasty salads guarantee you have enough food to go round and make for great variety, with spicy sauces for the perfect accompaniment.

‘Elf’ and safety

Do make sure that meat, particularly chicken, is properly cooked through. Always keep raw and cooked meats separate to avoid the danger of contamination. In hot weather, throw away any food that has been cooked and left sitting for more than an hour. Keep children well away from the barbecue to avoid the risk of accidents.

Did you know?

It hardly needs to be said that the USA is home of the barbecue. The word comes from the colonial Spanish word "barbacoa", probably meaning the wooden structure on which meat was cooked. George Washington wrote about going to a ‘barbicue’ in Virgina way back in 1769.

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