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Meat & Poultry

Mastering the Barbecue

Mastering the Barbecue

Everyone loves a barbeque and it’s a great way for bringing friends and family together. Here are a few tips to get you going on cooking some fantastic barbeque food:

Gas or Charcoal

There are two main types of barbeques, the gas barbeque and the charcoal barbeque. Gas barbeques are by far the easiest and most accurate method for cooking outdoors, however they are expensive and don’t have the traditional ‘barbecued’ flavour. Most people love the smoky tastes of food cooked on charcoal barbeques.

The Gas Barbeque

Open the grill lid before turning on the gas and preheat the grill for approx. 10 minutes. Then adjust the temperature of the grill according to the food you're cooking. Closing the barbeque simply speeds up the process and helps ensure even cooking, creating an oven-like heated area. 

The Charcoal Barbeque

Add a good layer of charcoal to the barbeque. Once alight give it about 20-30 mins for the flames to die down and to come to an even temperature and the coals to become white hot. 

Direct Heat and Indirect Heat 

It’s great to have a combination of direct and indirect heat when cooking with charcoal, the direct heat sears the meat and lower, indirect heat cooks more gently and is perfect for larger pieces of meat. The way this is achieved is to have more coals on one side than on the other. Some barbeques will have an additional higher shelf which will cook the meat more slowly.

Wood Chips

Wood chips are great and add some interesting additional smoky tastes to the cooking. Try experimenting with different types to find your favourite and remember, if you don’t have any wood chips to hand you can always smoke some fresh herbs, woody herbs like rosemary and oregano give a lovely aroma.

To stop meat sticking to the barbeque

Apart from burgers, lightly brush the meat with vegetable oil before cooking as this will ensure the meat doesn't stick to the grill bars.

Avoiding cross-contamination

Be super careful to keep uncooked chicken well wrapped before cooking, make sure that it’s kept in a completely separate area to your salads and cooked foods. Also, be careful when you’re cooking the chicken on the barbeque that it’s not touching or dripping onto cooked meats that are about to be eaten.

Flip only once

Flip your burgers and meats only once to prevent them breaking up. To get those cool criss-cross grill marks simply turn the meat 90 degrees after 3-4mins.

Cooking BBQ Steaks

Remember that an uncooked steak is quite soft, it then toughens up as is starts to cook, which is when the juices are pushed out of the steak.

A simple test to see how cooked your steaks are is to use the base of thumb test where you press the steak with your finger and compare this to how the base of your thumb feels depending on how you position your hand. If you hold your hand out limply, the base of your thumb will feel just like a raw steak. Rare steak will feel like the base of your thumb when you are holding your thumb and index finger together.

Medium rare steak will feel like the base of your thumb when holding your thumb and second finger together. Medium steak should feel the same as when you hold your thumb and 3rd finger together. Medium Well when you hold the thumb and 4th finger together and Well Done when you hold your thumb and little finger together. Don't forget, that after resting the steak it will still be cooking, so if you want a medium steak, cook it to medium rare and it will then continue cooking to become medium after you've removed it from the grill.

Cooking BBQ Burgers

A great tip is to press the middle of the burgers with your thumb before cooking to make a small indentation, this will prevent the burgers forming a dome shape when cooking. Place the burgers over the direct heat and leave to cook for 2-3 mins, now turn with a spatula. Once the burgers are turned, continue to cook until they are cooked to your liking and now add your cheese if desired. When the cheese is melting place the buns on the grill to lightly toast for about 1 minute. Try a great tasting burger recipe .

Cooking BBQ Chicken Breasts

A great way of packing more taste in your chicken is to marinade it beforehand. Try crumbling a Knorr Stock Cube and blending it with a little olive oil to make a paste. Use one stock cube for every four chicken breasts. Rub the mixture into the chicken really well and leave to marinade in a re-sealable plastic bag for at least 15 minutes. You can also try these great marinades:

Maple Mustard BBQ Rub:

Blend the crumbled chicken cube and oil mixture with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, 1 tablespoon Maille Wholegrain Mustard, 1 garlic clove, chopped, and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. 

Smoky Paprika and Chilli rub:

Blend the crumbled chicken cube and oil mixture with 1 tablespoon smoked paprika and ½ teaspoon chilli flakes.

Rosemary Garlic BBQ Rub: 

Blend the crumbled chicken cube and oil mixture, 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar, 1 clove garlic chopped and ¼ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary.

Always take care that the chicken is thoroughly cooked. For best results cook on medium heat for 20-30mins, turning once after 15mins. To be absolutely sure the chicken is cooked all the way through just cut with a knife at the thickest point and check, if there is any pinkness continue cooking. Or for peace of mind a digital thermometer is a very useful gadget and can be bought inexpensively. To ensure chicken is thoroughly cooked, the centre of the chicken should reach 72°C.

Cooking BBQ Pork Chops

Be sure to brush both sides of the pork with some vegetable oil just before cooking. Cook for 5 minutes each side on direct heat. Keep them cooking until they are only slightly soft when pressed and until the juices are running clear. Remove from the grill and leave to rest for 5 mins before serving. For some great extra flavour try crumbling a Knorr Pork Stock Cube in with the olive oil to make a paste. Rub the paste over the chops and leave to marinade for at least 15 mins before cooking. 

Cooking BBQ Kebabs

When preparing your kebabs soak the bamboo sticks in water for at least 30 mins to help prevent them from burning, or use metal skewers. For kebabs cook on medium heat. When you've cut up the vegetables (such as peppers and onions) place them in a large mixing bowl, add some olive oil and mix the vegetables through with the oil so the oil coats the entire surface of the vegetables.

Keep the cut of vegetables generous so they don’t burn too quickly. When you've cut up the chicken or lamb, place in a separate mixing bowl and again add some olive oil and mix well so that the oil coats the meat completely. 

BBQ Prawns

For some great tasting BBQ Prawns, mix some chopped garlic, lemon juice, paprika, oil and Knorr Chicken Stock Cube together in a large bowl, add your peeled king prawns and coat well with the marinade. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. Thread prawns onto wooden skewers that have been soaked in cold water for 30 mins and barbecue for 5-10 minutes until cooked through. Serve hot with lemon wedges and garnish with freshly chopped herbs.

Cooking BBQ Salmon Steaks 

Brush the salmon steaks with olive oil and place on a medium grill, skin side down. Cook for around 6mins until the salmon can be turned without sticking to the grill bars. Turn and cook for a further 3-4mins. Serve immediately. Or for ease use a fish cage for easy turning on the BBQ. For some great extra flavour try crumbling a Knorr Fish Stock cube in with the olive oil to form a paste, add some lemon juice, crushed garlic and herbs and leave to marinade for 15mins before grilling. Delicious!

BBQ Ribs

For BBQ ribs take a whole rack of baby ribs. Mix together a Knorr Herb Infusion Stock Pot, some tomato ketchup, some Colman’s English mustard, some sugar, cayenne pepper, paprika and ground black pepper in a medium sized bowl to form a paste, add the ribs, coat thoroughly and leave to marinade. 

Then cook gently for 20-30mins turning occasionally. Some people like to boil the ribs first as they believe the ribs are softer. An easy way of cooking ribs for the BBQ is to start them off in the oven on low heat for 30-45mins before finishing them off on the BBQ.

Dealing with flames that really flare up

Don't use a water bottle to extinguish flare-up flames. When the water hits the grill bars it can splatter, causing burns, or can even crack the porcelain-enamel finish of the grill. The safest and easiest way to extinguish flare-ups is to put the lid on the grill. The lid will reduce the amount of oxygen that feeds the fire, thus limiting or snuffing out the flare-ups. If you can’t safely put the lid on, simply step back for a while and leave the flames die down.