Lockdown doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of the great British summer – whilst the weather is set to soar, why not put on the perfect BBQ for your household?
From the food to the tools, we have you covered with some handy tips to help get the barbie started in your very own back garden.
The grill is the heart of any barbecue. While many backyard chefs have a preference between gas and charcoal, if you are starting from scratch there are a few factors to consider before making the decision.
If you are looking for an easier cooker, gas barbecues offer the perfect fire at just the flick of a switch and enable you to start sizzling straightaway. The other great advantage is that temperature can be changed with great precision ensuring fewer burnt bangers. The alternative, a charcoal barbecue, is a more traditional method. The charcoal gives the food an authentic smoky chargrilled taste however it requires patience (at least 40 minutes) for the initial flames to die down, giving you the whitened cinders essential for your first fry.
Pizza ovens are also a huge trend right now and a pizzas, flatbreads or garlic breads are perfect addition to your BBQ.
Whichever you choose, make sure you stock up on plenty of fuel before your outdoor gathering, so you don’t get caught short – and make sure the little ones are looked after and kept away from the hot surfaces!
A chef is only as good as his tools, so invest in a decent set of grilling utensils that will last you for years to come. Essentials include; a stainless-steel spatula, tongs and a grilling fork that can stand up to the heat – and don’t forget the apron and oven gloves!
It’s also vital that there are outdoor worksurfaces for both prepping the food as well as an area for keeping the food warm once it has been cooked. Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a fortune getting your cooking station prepared, a couple of fold out tables instantly makes an useful countertop.
The Main Event
This is the fun part, because it’s the focus of the entire day where you can let your culinary prowess shine. We recommend keeping it simple and opting for a small number of classic dishes done well, rather than an array of more complicated options.
Meat is often the preferred choice such as, burgers, sausages or chicken skewers, however seafood such as salmon, prawns and tuna steaks are also popular choices on the barbie. For any vegetarians or vegans in your home, make sure there are some options available, as well as an area for grilling these separately.
More often than not, a good marinade can take the BBQ experience to the next level because not only does it add flavour, but it also tenderises. The rule of thumb with marinating is the earlier the better, so it’s best to prep this the night before for best results.
Don’t forget about the sides – these usually make up two-thirds of what you actually eat! Classic dishes include potato salad, corn on the cob and coleslaw along with a salad.
Make it simple and let people customise their burgers and meat with a range of toppings, including an array of condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard along with a few surprise ingredients like guacamole, bacon bits and hummus – and don’t forget the cheese!
No BBQ is complete without cool, refreshing drinks on ice. Make sure you have plenty in stock, including non-alcoholic beverages so everyone can stay hydrated.
As well as beer and wine, pitchers are a great addition! Fruit punches and Pimms are ideal for a summer cookout and for the little ones or those wanting to avoid alcohol, a mocktail or a jug of homemade lemonade are always a hit.
The Set Up
If there are quite a few of you in your household, a buffet style option may be best, however it is vital that there is an inclusive space for everyone to gather and enjoy the feast – think plenty of chairs, cushions and benches – and some nice throws for when the evening turns a little chillier.
Alongside seating, make sure you hit the right note at your barbie with a fun summer playlist. We recommend a mix of upbeat classics alongside some relaxed tunes for when the sun starts to set - and don’t forget the citronella candles or lamps to prevent the pesky bugs from gate crashing the barbeque!
We’d love to see your BBQ set ups and culinary creations – tag us in your images on social media or use the hashtag #KeepmoatHomes.