Heat distribution is the most important part of the cooking process on a BBQ.
Place your coals in a ring toward the edge of the BBQ for long cooks of large cuts of meat.
In the above photo I have not as yet moved all the charcoal to the perimeter as I wanted to sear the meat first before moving the charcoal to the perimeter for a low and slow cook.
To get even cooking of a spatchcock chicken or butterflied lamb you can use bricks wrapped with tin foil to weigh down the meat so it is flat.
From Noon clockwise:
Spray Bottle - I use this this to keep meats moist particularly if you are cooking slow and low. I fill it with apple juice or apple cider vinegar.
Chimney Starter - A must have for any BBQ Cook, it allows you start charcoal quickly and evenly without using lighter fluids etc.
Tongs - A pretty important part of barbecuing, I even named my website after it ! I would look for longer tongs as you don't want to burn off the hairs on your arms.
Disposal Trays - These are great if you want to smoke food, a bit of water and wood chips. Also, great for catching juices from meat if you are cooking indirectly.
Injector - A relatively new toy for me but everyone who is serious about BBQ swears by them. It really does inject moisture into meat.
Insulated Barbecue Gloves - the chimney starter can get quite hot and these have saved me a few times.
Meat Thermometer - There is nothing better than testing meat to see if it is cooked by touch, however if you feel uncomfortable doing that than these can really assist you.
Timer - I always use the timer, I like to record how long I am cooking, basting, charcoal lasts etc so I can be as accurate as possible with my recipes to you.
Grill Brush - Best way to clean a BBQ.
I like to add seasoned wood to my cooks as it gives a much more smoky flavour. This is different than using wet wood or soaked chips as they really make the meat too smoky in my view as well as dropping the temperature of the BBQ.
I would add them when your coals start to glow and would use them for slow and low cooks.
Some of the best seasoned woods are oak, alder, ash, beech, cherry, chestnut and pear.
Always cooked on gas and charcoal seems like a daunting task?
If you're starting out I would suggest you purchase a chimney starter. The metal cylinder has holes at the bottom which draws in air and when full of charcoal it sucks air from the bottom and circulates through the coals which in turn lights them much faster.
All you do is place a couple of screwed up sheets of newspaper under the wire rack of the chimney starter and place on the grate. Then fill the chimney starter with charcoal and light the newspaper.
How hot is my BBQ?
There are 5 different heat levels on a BBQ. The determine what heat your BBQ is place your hand out about 10cm above the charcoal grate and count how long you can leave your hand.
1) High: 230 - 290 C (2 - 4 seconds)
2) Medium: 180 - 230 C (5 - 7 seconds)
3) Low: 130 - 180 C (8 - 10 seconds)
4) Very Low: 95 - 110 C (11 - 12 seconds)
5) Don't bother
While you can simply toss individual prawns onto the grate, skewers make the job easier.
They eliminate the risk of prawns falling between the grate and you can remove and flip a skewer faster than individual prawns.
It's best to soak wooden skewers to prevent the wood from burning. There are three ways to skewer the prawn on your prepared skewers:
Straight Down the Middle: This is used more often for prawns because they have a straighter body then shrimps.
Top and Bottom Curve: The most common method for prawns is to skewer them in two places, accentuating their tight curve.
Double Skewer: I like this way the best, which is to reinforce your prawn skewers, ensuring no prawn falls off, use two skewers. This method also makes flipping the skewers super easy.
Use rubs for slow barbecuing on such dishes like brisket or pork/lamb shoulder. Never use them on quick grilling dishes like sausages, steaks or burgers. Rubs can enhance flavour in meat as they mix with juices of the meat and make them tastier.
Making your own rubs can be a load of fun and I use the following six categories of ingredients to produce amazing rubs, these are:
Mix and match ingredients from the different categories to get your ideal rub.
Category 1 - Herby
Category 2 - Sharp
Black Onion Seeds
Black Mustard Seeds
Garlic or Onion Granuels
Category 3 - Salty
Danish Smoked Salt
Category 4 - Spicy
Chiili Flakes or Powder
Slap Ya Mama Spice from Louisiana
Category 5 - Sweet
Chinese Five Spice
Category 6 - Earthy
Smoking food on a BBQ does not always have to be wood-based. Sometimes smoking food with spices can produce amazing results. Try this bad boy.
What you will need:
1 cup rice (uncooked)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 star anise
1 lemongrass stalk
1 tsp Szechuan pepper
1 tbsp of loose tea (green, ginger, earl grey etc).
Place in tin foil and wrap up tightly then place on coals and leave as long as you want.
It is the bomb !!!
The main reasons for marinating meat is to either add flavour or to tenderise (breakdown tissue) tough cuts.
Enzymatic - Fruits like papaya, kiwifruit, pineapple, fig, mango and ginger are a good source of enzymes that can break down meat proteins. These fruits all contain a type of enzyme called a protease. For example, the Koreans use pureed fruits in most of their BBQ cooking marinades, particularly Asian pear in such dishes as Bulgogi (thinly sliced beef marinated in a sauce that is a mix of soy sauce, sugar or honey, sesame oil, garlic, onion, and Asian pear). Do be careful not to marinade your meat too long in fruit as it can quickly turn to mush.
Acidic – Vinegar, wine, lemon and lime juice, buttermilk and yoghurt.
With such a beautiful cut like a rib of beef I tend to let the meat speak for itself. In this instance, I just used a 4 peppercorn and salt rub.