The BBQ is a great national tradition, but even experienced BBQers can find the process a bit stressful, especially if you’re expecting a crowd. However, by getting as much prepared in advance as possible, and learning a few BBQing techniques, you can ensure you aren’t stuck next to the grill for the entire night. Here are a few tips for throwing a BBQ that’s memorable for the right reasons.
Getting organised for a BBQ is about more than getting the right number of beers and burgers. If you’re serving anything with marinades or sauces, get them prepped the night before, and do as much as possible in advance. This means that when you throw a barbecue in Perth, the only thing left to do is to cook the meat.
If you need to know how much food to get in, then think about how many people are coming and how long they’ll be staying. Working out BBQ numbers can be tricky, especially if your friends have different appetites, but it’s essential unless you like lots of leftovers.
Clear a workspace
When you’re cooking large amounts of BBQ food, having enough workspace is essential. You’ll need separate areas for raw and cooked food, plus you’ll need all the BBQ equipment to hand, so you can grab it while you cook. If you have an outdoor BBQ kitchen, then make sure all the surfaces are wiped down and your grill and tools have been scrubbed, ready to start cooking.
Light up early
Gas BBQs are easy to pre-heat, but if you’re doing a charcoal BBQ then leave plenty of time for it to heat up. Most people underestimate how long it’ll take. Guests will arrive hungry, and won’t want to sit around waiting for you to light the grill, then wait long periods for food. If you’re making anything that takes a long time, such as whole chicken or brisket, then ensure they’re cooking long before guests arrive.
The best ways to ensure safe cooking when BBQing include:
- Properly thaw frozen food before grilling
- Bring food out of the fridge 20 minutes before it goes on the BBQ
- Wash your hands regularly to avoid cross contamination
- Turn the meat regularly so it cooks throughout
- Use a meat thermometer to check if food is cooked inside
- Don’t leave cooked meat out in the sun, and never leave on the table for more than two hours
Rest your meat
When you have a swarm of hungry guests, it’s easy for food to disappear. However, resting the meat is an important part of the BBQ process, as it helps re-distribute the juices for a tastier meal. Clear some workspace where you can allow meat to sit before serving.
Stay close to the grill
Even if you’ve followed a recipe to the letter, sometimes meat will cook more quickly than expected, so it’s important that someone stays close to the grill at all times. If you’re holding a BBQ in Perth, then enlist the help of friends and family to take turns at the grill, as well as doing jobs such as fetching more meat and cleaning up.
Create a place to chill drinks
If people are bringing their own drinks to the BBQ, then odds are they have been brought on the way to your party and aren’t yet chilled. Some alfresco kitchens have a built-in wine cooler, but if you need more space you can use a large bucket of ice. Adding water to the ice will chill the beer quickly, but the fastest option is to use one cup of salt for every three pounds of ice, which can chill a beer in 3 minutes. Just rinse the cans or bottles before you drink.
Have snacks on hand
People will be drinking as soon as they turn up to your BBQ, and if the food takes longer than expected, they can get impatient. Make sure there are snacks on hand to fill the gap, even if it’s just a few shrimp skewers, which will tide them over until the main event.
Clean up as you go
Nobody wants to be up until late cleaning up plates and rubbish. Make sure there are bins around so guests can throw out beer cans and leftover food, and clean up a bit as you go along. This will ensure you don’t wake up to a huge mess in the morning.
The key to a good BBQ is planning, and by following the tips above, you can ensure you have everything in place for a hassle-free BBQ. Whether it’s family coming over or a huge party, by prepping in advance you can ensure you aren’t stuck grilling all night, and that everyone leaves feeling full.