Summer seems to have arrived with a bang in the UK, and for many of us – that means it’s barbecue time! However with social distancing still in place, big family get-togethers aren’t happening just yet – however you can still take steps to enjoy the best BBQ during the lockdown.
Thanks to the simple nature of cooking outside, you don’t need fancy ingredients or hard to find food, so no need to brave the shops for longer than is necessary – just get your favourite meats and veg, and get outside!
It’s an argument that will no doubt rage on and on – should you choose a gas or charcoal BBQ? Well there are pro’s and cons for both.
A gas BBQ has the benefit of being fairly quick to heat up – so no waiting around for the charcoal to heat – just pre-heat your grill for a few minutes before popping on your food. They can also be a doddle to clean when compared with having to get rid of charcoal, and then clean out.
However, on the downside, many BBQ purists suggest that the taste just isn’t the same – however you can get smoke boxes to add some delicious “smoky flavour”. Gas BBQ’s do tend to err on the more expensive side than charcoal too, and can be less portable – so not so great if you’re planning on moving around.
Charcoal BBQs have the advantages of a more authentic BBQ taste, and charcoal burns hotter than gas, meaning that you can quickly get an authentic chargrilled look to your food.
On the downside, it’s far messier and can take a while to heat up.
While the debate will no doubt continue, whatever barbecue type you choose, a lot of the enjoyment is around eating “al-fresco” so don’t stress too much!
Get Prepared in the kitchen
To get truly great BBQ food, a lot of the magic should actually happen in your kitchen prior to even lighting the grill. For example, steaks should already be at room temperature before going on your grill to get the best out of them – so take them out of the fridge, cover with clingfilm or foil and pop into your kitchen cupboard to bring them up to the right temperature.
Marinades and rubs can provide extra flavour when cooking on the BBQ, and there are plenty to choose from which are already pre-prepared and ready to use. For something a little different, check out the world food aisles in your supermarket.
If you prefer to make your own marinades, there are a wealth of options, but one simple rule to remember is that you need to include fat, acid and flavour – think oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic – but there are way more varieties than this. Experiment with different oils – think sesame oil with soy sauce for a taste of the east – or lemon juice, olive oil and some basil for a Mediterranean treat.
We all do it – just throw some burgers and sausages on the grill. It’s easy and fairly quick. However, it can soon get “old” and it can be fun to experiment with more flavours and foodstuffs.
Plenty of vegetables cook really well on the BBQ, and even that old favourite corn on the cob, can be elevated to a greater taste with the addition of butter, a pinch of sugar (or even syrup) and just a touch of salt. Just wrap in foil – cook for around 30 minutes – and you’ll have perfect BBQ corn cobs.
Aubergines, courgettes and peppers work well and can be threaded together to create more-ish veggie kebabs. Just make sure to season well and brush with oil – or even a marinade.
Another great tip – make some sweet potato wedges on your BBQ. The secret here is to microwave them in your kitchen first – for around 5 minutes. Then season and pop on the BBQ for around 15 minutes. This allows them to be crisp on the outside, but soft in the centre – just like any good “chips” should be!
“Invite” family and friends
So right now we cannot meet face to face with family and friends, but that’s not to say that you can’t share the enjoyment. Why not host a virtual BBQ via Zoom – both sides get outside and enjoy the sunshine and some great cooking with the video rolling.
Why not consider having a “BBQ – off”? Share photos of your food with your loved ones, and score points for who’s looks the most delicious. You can find out more about the best ways tech can help you to stay in touch here.