Enjoying the outdoors while cooking a few snags on the barbie is a classic Kiwi pastime, and it’s easy to see why. Who doesn’t enjoy the chance to get their grill on instead of staying cooped up indoors?
1. If you don’t have a brush, clean your BBQ with tin foil
If you don’t have a brush for your BBQ, a ball of tin foil can do the trick to clean a crusty grill. Just crumple up the foil into a ball and scrape it against the grates. It’ll act like steel wool and help detach the leftover burnt debris.
2. Or, clean it with an onion
Half an onion is a cheap, effective and environmentally conscious way to clean your grill. Just stab it with a fork and use the onion like you would a bristle brush. You’ll need to get your BBQ hot, first, to loosen up any built-up grime, then scrub with the sliced side of the onion face down. It’ll remove the grime and won’t leave your grill with any harsh chemical tastes, either.
3. Cook your fish on top of citrus slices
We all know how frustrating it is flipping fish only to have the meat tear or the skin stick. Oiling your grate can help, but a better option is to lie your fish directly on top of a bed of lemon slices. Not only will it prevent your fish from sticking, but it’ll infuse it with a delicious citrus flavour.
4. Cook things in a cast iron skillet
If you have a cast iron skillet, don’t be scared of using it directly on the BBQ. They’re sturdy things that can withstand plenty of heat. Skillets are particularly useful if you’ve only a small amount of food to cook, and don’t want to mess up the entire grill. Or if you’ve something delicate to cook, such as fish or eggs. By using it directly on your BBQ, you’ll still get all that great smoky flavour.
5. Put ice cubes in your patties to stop them drying out
The next time you make burger patties, try putting a small ice cube in the centre of each of them. Yes, it sounds weired, but it keeps the burger moist and prevents it from drying out.
6. Cook pizza on your BBQ
Your BBQ gets incredibly hot and cooks pizza brilliantly. Heat helps crisp up the crust and stops it from getting soggy. So, next time you whip up pizzas with the family, cook ’em on the barbie! You could also consider using a barbecue-safe pizza stone.
7. Apply your rub an hour before cooking meat
For tastier, moister meat: if you’re using a rub, instead of a marinade, make sure you apply the rub about an hour before you’re ready to cook.
8. Use two skewers instead of one
To stop clumsy little skewers from collapsing on you while you grill your veggies (or while you attempt to eat them), use two skewers instead of one (wood or metal works). Your mushrooms and peppers will stay on a treat.
9. Serve condiments in a muffin tray
Post-BBQ clean-up should be as smooth as possible. And this is a great tip that’ll save you lots of cleaning. With burgers and sausages, there’s a lot of condiments like mustard, ketchup, and relish to go round, plus cheese and extra toppings. Passing it around to guests can be a pain, so just use a muffin tin for everything!
10. Make banana boats
Need a delicious BBQ dessert perfect for kids? Make banana boats. The skins serve as the containers. Just slice them down the middle and top them with chocolate chips and marshmallows before putting them on the grill. They’re easy to make and they won’t make a mess.
11. Checking the propane level in your gas tank
Unsure if you have enough propane to grill out? Then tip a bucket of hot water over your propane tank; it’ll feel cold to the touch where there is propane and warm where there is just air. This means you can check the level with your hand.
How many BBQ burners do I need?
Consider how much food you’ll be barbecuing at once. Another way to think about it is to consider how many people you usually cooking for. There’s no point having a massive barbecue just to feed two people, or having a small barbie if you regularly cater for a footy team!
- Charcoal barbecues: tend to be smaller, except for many of the spit roast designs. This, combined with the fact that charcoal grills need constant monitoring to maintain the heat right, means that to feed a big party, you’ll be spending most of your time working on the barbecue.
- Gas barbecues: can have anywhere from two to eight burners. If you usually cook for only one to three people, a two or three burner barbecue should do the job. However, if you throw parties or have a large family to feed, four or more burners may be necessary to get everything cooked.
- Electric barbecues: are typically portable and feature just one or two burners. While it’s a convenient size to take with you, you do sacrifice on cooking capacity.
- A hotplate type barbecue: or a grill with a hotplate section is good for grilling onions, stir fries, or other food that’s too small to cook on a regular old grill. Alternatively, you can just use a pan or other barbecue-suitable cookware on top of the grill, if you only need it occasionally.
- Side burner: may also be helpful if you’ll want to cook or heat sauce, soup, or other liquids.
Canstar Blue recently grilled Kiwis on their favourite BBQs to find out which roasts the competition. To read the full research and figure out what BBQ might work for your home, hit the button below and get comparing!