Brisbane’s long summer is an opportunity to continue dining outdoors, especially using the barbecue. In the previous edition we touched on cooking the perfect steak on the barbecue, but this guide will help you master the art of barbecuing in general.

Although seen as a relatively easy form of cooking, the perfect barbecue meal is actually a highly orchestrated event requiring a reasonable amount of concentration and planning. The following tips are designed to help you become a barbecue master so you’ll never cremate another sausage, undercook a steak or have different parts of the meal ready at different times.

Preparing the barbecue

Always make sure your grill and cooking surfaces are clean. A dirty grill will affect the flavour and cooking quality of your meat – and it’ll often end up sticking to the surface.

10 minutes before you want to cook, pre-heat the grill on high heat.

At this point, you may want to oil the grill. We’d recommend you don’t do this and instead apply the oil to the meat directly. The reason for this is that most cooking oils have a low smoke point, so applying them directly to grill will mean they burn off quite quickly.

Temperature control

Controlling the heat is important and many barbecues have built-in thermometers. If yours doesn’t, pour a few drops of water on to the plate and if they sizzle off quickly, it’s ready to go.

If you’re cooking a thick steak or a big piece of meat, you should also consider a meat thermometer to check the internal heat of your steak.

  • Rare: 52C°/125°F
  • Medium-rare: 55°C/130°F
  • Medium: 60°C/140°F
  • Medium-well: 66°C/150°F
  • Well done: 72°C/160°F

Plan the cook

Ensure you have all the utensils you need at hand prior to cooking. Above all, the most important tool is a quality set of long tongs. These will keep enough distance between your hand and the grill and give you the most control when turning items.

Ensure you have all the items you are going to cook in the order you are going to cook them. This will ensure everything is finished cooking at the same time.

Meats should be taken out of the fridge in advance so they have time to come to room temperature before cooking – this will ensure an even cook.

All items should be ready for the grill i.e. steaks seasoned, items marinated etc.

For the cook, start with items that take the longest time to cook or that are suitable to be kept in a warming tray. We recommend starting with onions and sausages first as they take the longest and are ideal for resting in a tray while you cook other items. You can then move on to cooking steaks so that they’re can rest while you finish items that don’t take long like kebabs, skewers and chicken.

Cooking a barbecue can be a fun and easy way to feed your friends and family, it’s also low effort in the prep and clean up. And with this little bit of a planning you can ensure it’s a success.