The first Spring Bank Holiday is the perfect opportunity to rediscover the joys of alfresco dining. If the sun is shining, why not make hay? And by that we mean dust down the old Barbie and invite friends and neighbours round for an impromptu BBQ in the garden.
Nothing beats the taste of freshly barbequed food, but preparing all the food and cooking on charcoal can take up a lot of time. Time that could be better spent socialising with your guests and soaking up the springtime sun, chilled Chablis in hand.
Luckily, help is here. We’ve got 7 BBQ cheats that will save you precious time without compromising the result. Your guests will be impressed by all the effort they think you’ve gone to, and they need never know your secret shortcuts!
1 – Precook what you can
They say that success is nine tenths preparation, so take every opportunity to prepare food in advance. While the charcoal is heating up, precook your burgers, chicken wings and sausages in the built-in oven in your kitchen. Then all it takes is a couple of minutes on the BBQ to finish them off, safe in the knowledge that your meat is cooked through.
2 – Sprinkle on some Magic Dust
To give your barbequed chicken that special je ne sais quoi, rub the uncooked pieces liberally with Magic Dust, a dry rub that makes everything taste fantastic. Precook in the oven so the chicken is just cooked but not browned. When the time is right, brush the pieces with this Barbecue Sauce and place on the BBQ to finish off. When the sauce turns syrupy and the chicken skin goes crispy, it’ll be ready to serve.
3 – Grease the grill
For a double win, coat the grill tray with flavoured oil – garlic oil or chilli oil work really well. This will allow you to add extra flavour to the meat while stopping it from sticking to the grill (making it easier to clean later on).
4 – Use aromatic herbs on the BBQ
If you have fresh herbs in the garden – perhaps rosemary, sage or thyme – put a handful on the grill before adding your meat. This way, your food be will infused with an extra burst of flavour while your garden will smell divine.
5 – Brush on sauces at the end
Marinating BBQ meat may sound like a good idea, but most marinades have a high sugar content which means the meat will burn quickly on the BBQ, leaving a bitter aftertaste. For a better result, brush on any sauces right at the end of grilling.
6 – Use a slow cooker
If you have a bit more warning, why not use a slow cooker to prepare your pulled pork, beef brisket or ribs in advance? Not only will this save you precious cooking time once the guests have arrived, slow cooked meat has a deep, rich flavour that everyone will love.
7 – Go electric
Rather than use a traditional charcoal grill or a gas BBQ, consider an electric BBQ. They heat up very quickly, taking the guesswork out of knowing when it’s ready to put the meat on. Gone are the days of fiddling around with firelighters or gas bottles – just plug in and it’s ready to go.