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The ultimate guide to......

Barbecues

There's something special about lighting up the barbecue; the smell of sizzling sausages, eating in the garden, men taking charge of charring. This year make sure you're ready for barbecue season with a barbecue buying guide, it's full of tips, hints and advice to ensure you choose the perfect barbecue for you and yours.

Gas barbecues

The quick and easy solution; gas barbecues feature simple push-button ignition and are ready to cook in minutes. Gas barbecues are quick and easy to clean and boast adjustable cooking temperatures allowing you to cook food more evenly.

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Charcoal barbecues

The traditional choice; charcoal barbecues provide an arguably more authentic taste (though this has long been disputed in the barbecue world) and are less expensive to buy and maintain. Charcoal barbecues are also often portable allowing you to choose your spot in the garden accordingly.

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Cooking areas

Every barbecue has a cooking area which is measured in square centimetres (cm2). When choosing your barbecue, it is the size of the grill that will determine how many people you can cook for at one time.

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People Grilling surface Gas burners
Up to four people 1800 cm2 2
Up to six people 2000cm2 - 2500cm2 3
Up to eight people+ Over 2500 cm2 3+

Tips for the chef

  • Be organised: have everything you need ready, such as food, marinade, seasonings and tools at the grill side before you start grilling.
  • Never stab the food when turning it, always use a pair of tongs to grip and turn. Stabbing meat with a fork will allow tasty juices to drain away into the fire.
  • Foods will cook faster in a covered grill - resist the urge to peek except when basting or turning.
  • Tender cuts of meat can be marinated in as little as 15 minutes. Less tender meats need to be marinated for at least six hours.
  • Remove chilled meats from the fridge and allow them to reach room temperature.

Gas barbecue ignition

Spark ignition failure is a common occurrence after the winter break. If this happens: check the ignition cable is pushed well onto the connection at both ends. Clean the tip of the ignitor and the area around it.

Cooking

Before placing food on the heated barbecue, wipe the grill bars with a little vegetable oil to stop food from sticking. Use tongs to do this to keep your hands away from the heat. Never spray oil onto a hot grill.

Preparation & cleaning

Before the first barbecue of the year remove the lava rock and charcoal and scrape out any debris. The natural lava rock in the barbecue can be reheated - set the grill to a high temperature for 10 minutes to burn off any encrusted food that's stuck. Scrape away the charred remains with a wire brush.