Inviting friends and family over for a barbecue in your back garden is one of summer’s great pleasures. When the weather’s fine, you can’t beat cooking and eating outdoors, and a barbecue lets you do both. A good barbecue can be difficult to get right, however, and lots of little things can wrong. It’s all a question of careful planning and adequate preparation – get these things right and there’s every chance you’ll have a barbecue to remember. Here are some great barbecue ideas to help you make the most of the good weather.
Types of barbecue
If you are in the market for a new barbecue this summer, you first need to decide whether you want to have a gas or a charcoal barbecue. Food grilled over white-hot charcoal is the classic style of barbecue, and there’s no doubt that charcoal is the best for adding that distinctive smoky barbecue flavour to your meat. However, gas barbecues are much quicker than the charcoal type, and they also make the grilling process simpler and easier to manage. With gas barbeque grills you don’t have to wait for the coals to get hot, and you can adjust the temperature whenever you need to. If price is your main concern, a charcoal barbecue will most likely be the cheaper option.
When it comes to barbeque food, burgers and steaks are a given, of course, but that’s not all you can do. There are lots of possibilities for delicious vegetable kebabs and even seafood. If there’s one piece of advice that’s worth bearing in mind when it comes to planning a barbecue for lots of people it is to keep it simple. Don’t try to do too much, and don’t go overboard with the variety of food you need to prepare. Choose a select few main meats, or grilled veg, and stick with those. Remember to soak kebab sticks in water before using them on the barbecue, and make sure you have done any marinating the day before to allow the flavours plenty of time to seep in.
Useful barbecue tips
If you’re having lots of people over for your barbecue, it’s a good idea to keep them amused while they’re waiting for the food. Garden games like badminton, croquet, swing-ball or giant jenga are popular choices. Also, don’t forget the most important safety considerations; food poisoning, burns and fires are all potential hazards. Make sure all meat is cooked properly, and use a probe thermometer to accurately measure the food’s temperature. Don’t cook raw meat next to cooked meat, the uncooked juices of chicken, for example, can get on to neighbouring foods and cause salmonella. Make sure you always use the right tools for the job – ones with heatproof handles – and always keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
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