Top Tips & Advice from The GrillMaster

To help make your Barbi the Best-ever, here are some BBQ Tips & Better For You Advice from The GrillMaster!

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Brilliant Barbi Tips!

BBQ Tip 1 - A Long Soak

Marinated food tastes great and grills better, as apart from enhanced flavour, it also helps protect food against high grill temperatures. Normally the longer the better, but a simple tip to cut marinating time is to place food in a sealed plastic bag, massage in marinade and place in fridge. This cuts marinating time by half.

BBQ Tip 2 – Over the Rainbow

Introduce some colour to your Barbi food, red, green or yellow bell peppers are great flame-roasted to enhance flavours. Once skin has blackened, place in a plastic bag to cool. The skin will then easily peel-off. Green and yellow courgettes also grill well as do chilies, asparagus and aubergine.

BBQ Tip 3 – Barbi Parties

Choose a theme, the US, South America, especially following the Olympics last year, South Africa and of course Australia after the Commonwealth Games are all good. It also helps that they have great wine and beer too! The Caribbean & Mexico are also cool. Remember great Barbi parties are based on the three ‘B’s’ – Blues (or any music you fancy), Booze & BBQ’s.

BBQ Tip 4 – Gas or Charcoal

Most first time BBQ’ers buy a simple charcoal grill, but gas grills can now cost under £50. So just what’s the best? Well; gas is simpler to use and more easily controllable. Whilst charcoal is more traditional and adds that essential BBQ taste. A simple guide is ‘gas for ease’ and ‘charcoal for taste’.

BBQ Tip 5 – Hot Tip

A good guide to grill temperatures is the hand test. Hold your hand around 6” from the grill; if you can only keep it there for around 30 seconds, the temperature is too hot, 1-2 minutes is high and an ideal searing heat. 2-3 minutes means a medium temperature, ideal for normal grilling. 3-5 minutes is fairly warm and good for keeping food warm. Any longer and the grill is not ready.

BBQ Tip 6 – Low & Slo

BBQ is not a race against time, so don’t grill too quickly or on too high a heat as this causes food to burn on the outside whilst being under cooked in the middle. The trick is to ‘sear on high’ and then take it ‘low and slow’. It helps if the grill-bars are well oiled, but don’t turn food to often as this reduces heat.

BBQ Tip 7 – Follow Smoky Joe

Enhancing that true smoky BBQ taste is best done on charcoal by throwing wet wood chips, herb branches on the coals. Try different types of wood, apple is good or vine clippings. A similar, although not quite as good, a similar effect can be achieved on a gas grill with a lava rock bed.

BBQ Tip 8 – Become a Grill Star

Create some Barbi-theatre, by ‘fanning-the-flames’. Quickly press down on meats or poultry with a long-handled spatula; this releases natural fats, causing a brief ‘flare-up’. Please take great care when attempting and keep any clothing well clear. Do NOT attempt to enhance effect by adding extra oil.

BBQ Tip 9 – Try Criss-crossed

To achieve professional, cross-hatch grill-lines, sear meat, fish, poultry or fruit/vegetables on a hi-heat, lengthwise to the grill-bars. Remove and quickly wipe grill bars with oil and repeat at right-angles. Once both sides are seared return to normal cooking, turning infrequently.

BBQ Tip 10 – Don’t forget Safety First!

Position BBQ’s on level ground, well away from hedges, fences, or overhanging shrubbery. When lighting charcoal, only use proper BBQ lighter fuel, never, ever use petrol or other flammable liquids. If using gas ensure grill lights immediately, if it fails, turn off gas, leave for a few minutes and try again.

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Better For You Advice

BBQ Advice 1 – Burnt is Bad!

Thankfully long gone are the days of a burnt burger in a bap, once served with the cry, ‘if it ain’t – it ain’t BBQ!’ Burnt food is bad for you, it doesn’t look or taste good, it certainly doesn’t do you any good either! Happily, the majority of today’s Barbi’s are the antithesis of the bad old burnt BBQ days.

BBQ Advice 2 – Pick n’Choose

Having a Barbi is a more relaxed and informal occasion then a normal meal and indeed the choice of food much more varied. In fact, you’ll probably get a wider choice of healthier food then you would indoors, with fish, lean meat, poultry, vegetable and even fruit all being high on the grill stakes!

BBQ Advice 3 – Sausage to Swordfish

There has been a major evolution in the type of food now cooked at the average BBQ, with a swordfish steak as likely to be served as a sausage, brochette or burger. In fact, we’ve become a nation of foodies and nowhere has this been more apparent than on the Barbi, where gastro-grilling now rules.

BBQ Advice 4 – To Prep or Not?

Proper preparation is very important, with a lighter more ‘au natural’ style the key, without heavy, fattening sauces or accompaniments. Marinating is also very important with the use of olive oil and balsamic vinegars, plus the addition of garlic and chilies good health pointers and also enhancing taste.

BBQ Advice 5 – Grill is Good!

Even the way that barbecued food is cooked is healthier, with the idea that a BBQ is a ‘fat reducing machine’, being not too far from the truth, as fats tend to evaporate during the grilling process, which also enhances flavour. BBQ’ed food also arguably retains more nutritional content; so, grilling is good!

BBQ Advice 6 – Foodie, Not Fast!

BBQ’s are actually the antithesis of fast food, not only is the choice and type of food healthier, but there is also the ‘chill & grill’ element of creating a relaxed environment. Also important is the fact that food is consumed slowly and not ‘on the hoof’, which in turn aids proper digestion.

BBQ Advice 7 – Peer Pressure

The ever-growing sophistication of BBQ is probably the result of pressure from foodie friends and family to continually be able to offer an ever-wider choice tantalisingly healthy food. Another factor being most food looks great straight off the Barbi, with today’s grills being so much more user friendly.

BBQ Advice 8 – Chill after Grill

Healthy lifestyle benefits don’t fizzle out at the grill-end, yes, it’s when you chill, that the final health advantages kick-in, as for many families the weekly alfresco meal is the one time, we’re able to, relax and catch-up on the latest. After-grill chillin’ is very beneficial to a relaxed state of mind.

BBQ Advice 9 – Heartedly Healthier

Believe it or not spicy BBQ foods are healthy. Chilies have heart and anti-toxin benefits, the hotter the better! High Omega 3 foods like sardines, mackerel and tuna are real grill-stars. Vegetables naturally notch up health points as do fruits such as mango, papaya and bananas, all high in fibre and vitamins

BBQ Advice 10 – Better For You

Life alfresco isn’t all physiological there’s a healthy share of psychological benefits too. For most a BBQ is a form of emotional escapism, creating feelings of well-being and a desire for warmer, more relaxed climes, whether around the Med, or further afield in Australia, Caribbean the US West Coast, or South Africa. Barbi’s and alfresco living is here to stay and is genuinely better for you!

Legends of the Grill

Legends of the Grill?

BBQ’s should be enjoyable, relaxing and fun and pretty much, mainly they are; however sometimes people go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that their BBQ is the best, most unusual or simply just challenging. So here are some of the most surprising and possibly believable BBQ stories that we’ve come across over the years…

Legends 1 – Biggest BBQ Party Ever

Happened in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 2009, when around 17,500 people attended a surprise 40th birthday party, drinking over 85,000 bottles of beer and gallons of rye whiskey.

Legends 2 – Longest ever running BBQ Party

Is supposed to have been a beach BBQ in Montego Bay Jamaica in 1995 which allegedly lasted for seven months until fatigue and a lack of any more ‘jerked’ food, drink or money brought this mammoth grill-in to a halt.

Legends 3 – Largest ever Single BBQ Cook-off

Following a bet, the largest ever single BBQ cook-off occurred in 1988 in Kansas City when 5 steers were roasted in a huge pit for nearly 2 days, with a 100 gallons of BBQ sauce, the subsequent grill-fest lasted for 3 days.

Legends 4 – Strangest ever BBQ/Braai Meal

Occurred just outside of the town of Waterberg on the Limpopo River in the Limpopo region of South Africa in 1952 when a crocodile ate a springbok and was then caught, coated in a special spiced mud and barbecued whole, the resultant Braai meal was enough to feed 40 people.

Legends 5 – World’s Toughest ever BBQ

Was not actually a single Barbi occasion, but a continuing method of cooking food which used to happen in the Australian Outback when Bushmen on walkabout would prepare and grill specially prepared meat with ever increasing amounts of Bush herbs added daily to make it more palatable!

Legends 6 – Weirdest ever BBQ Party

Probably not the best of locations and slightly scary was the Stag-night BBQ party held in Tijuana in 2011, which was organised by the Groom’s best friend and somewhat unwisely held in a graveyard with the guests dressed as ghosts. Proceedings were brought to an abrupt halt when the event was raided by the local Polizei on suspicion of cannibalism!

Legends 7 – Scariest ever BBQ Meal

Grizzlies are a common problem in the Canadian Rockies, so it was perhaps no surprise that a Hunting party’s Barbi held in a remote part of the Banff national park in the Spring of 2016 was invaded by two Grizzly bears who ate most of the food before departing after one burnt their paws on the fire!

Legends 8 – Most extreme BBQ ever

Adrenalin junkies would find this a hard to beat Barbi feat. Held on Lake Walapoa in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2017 a bungee jumper plunged down to grab a burger that was being grilled on a Barbi floating on a raft 250ft below. Believe it or not he managed to not only take, but eat most of the burger!

Legends 9 – Most Dangerous BBQ ever

Probably the most stupid and dangerous BBQ ever happened in Brazzaville, Congo when soldiers decided to use the ammunition compartment of a burnt-out tank as a BBQ, unfortunately they didn’t check to see if there was any live ammo on board, which then exploded; although somewhat shocked, luckily no one was hurt!

Legends 10 – Hottest ever BBQ Event

Active volcanoes should be avoided, so it was possibly not the most sensible thing to do for a group of scientists who held a Barbi at the base of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, in Iceland 2010, just after it had erupted using the molten lava for charcoal although sensibly wearing heat protective suits and breathing equipment!

Legends 11 – World’s Most Expensive ever BBQ Party

In typical LA style, the world’s most expensive ever BBQ was held at The Colony Club on Malibu Beach, California in 2018. 30 people attended a ‘glitzy’ Beach BBQ, with everything being done to excess including the Krug and Oysters. The total bill, a massive $1.1 million!

Legends 12 – Most Regal BBQ ever

Occurred in a Memphis BBQ Rib shack on May 14th, 2014 when Princes William & Harry had an impromptu Barbi meal wearing plaid cowboy shirts. It’s rumoured that both took a stint at the grill to serve up Back Ribs and Pulled Pork sandwiches.