6 Common BBQing Mistakes to Avoid

Friday 14th June 2019

Firing the BBQ up on a lazy summer evening and eating a delicious grilled dinner outside is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have during the summer months. Here’s a quick guide to a few common mistakes and how to avoid them. 

For the best tasting meat make sure to quickly clean the grill before cooking! If you don’t then residue from previous usage will smoke and burn, adding the wrong flavour to your meat. To clean, simply heat the BBQ on high with nothing in it for 10 minutes, then use a brass or steel brush to scrub all the residue off the grill. Only a quick clean is needed. For a more thorough guide on BBQ cleaning & maintenance click here. 

It’s important to get your grill to the correct heat before adding any meat. Preheating the grill properly will cook the meat faster and will leave it much more moist and tender. The ideal temperature for cooking is usually between 350 & 450 F depending on the type of food. It usually only takes 5 to 10 minutes to heat the BBQ to this temperature.

Most people just crank the heat up as high as possible when cooking - but this is the wrong tactic. Too high a heat will blacken your meat on the outside whilst not cooking it thoroughly enough on the inside. Our advice is to keep one half of your BBQ on high heat for rapid cooking and searing, and the other half for more gentle cooking. On a charcoal BBQ do this by having more of your coals on one half of the BBQ, and only a thin layer on the other side. On most gas BBQs the heat can be controlled independently for the individual burners.

We see this one all the time! Yes we know - it’s difficult to be patient when all you want to do is start cooking and eating the delicious meats you’ve bought, but you must! The coals may look nice and hot when there’s flames and the coals are burning red, but trust us - they’re not nearly as hot as they are when they turn grey! Be patient and wait for the coals to turn grey and glowing! Test this (carefully) by holding your hand 6 inches above the grill. If you can hold your hand here for 6 seconds then it’s a low heat. If you can only hold it there for 2 seconds before having to remove your hand the it’s a high heat. 

Flames licking around your meat may look like authentic BBQ cooking to get that “flame grilled” effect, but this is not the best way to cook. Flames on your food will leave unpleasant sooty deposits on your meat. Flames typically occur when fat drips from the meat onto the coals and burn.

The occasional flame is ok, but if lots of flames start then you’ll need to manage them. The simpliest method is simply to move the meat to a cooler area of the BBQ, but if the flames persist then you can manage them by lightly spraying some water into the offending area, or putting the lid on to choke the flames completely. 

This is another one we see all the time. Many people don’t know that, once the meat is finished cooking, leaving it to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into it will let it soak up all of it’s internal juices and distribute them evenly throughout the meat. This happens naturally and is one of the easiest methods of improving the quality and flavour of your meats. Once finished cooking the meat lay it on a plate or board and let it sit for 5 minutes - no touching, no cutting into it and certainly no eating! This will make your meats much more tender, juicy, and flavoursome!