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Top 10 tips for the perfect BBQ!

Whether it’s just the two of you or you’ve got the whole gang round, we’re here to bring you lots of little wins to help make your BBQ gathering a sizzling success! Follow our top 10 tips and you’ll be well prepped to host the very best BBQ.

  • Clare - copywriter
  •  7min read
Top 10 tips for the perfect BBQ!

1. Choose the right BBQ

Set yourself up for success by choosing the BBQ that’s right for you. Here’s our top tips:

  • Enjoy that smoky charcoal flavour on your meat? Then choose a traditional coal BBQ. If it’s all about convenience, then go for a gas BBQ that requires little prep
  • Whether you decide to go for a gas or coal BBQ, make sure you choose a BBQ large enough for your gathering - this is especially important if you’re cooking for vegetarians and meat eaters at the same time
  • A good BBQ will last you a long time, so even if you spend a little extra on the one you want, you’ll get better value from it over time
  • Don’t forget to pick up the BBQ accessories and essentials too, like a BBQ brush, tongs and skewers

2. Fuel your day the right way

The type of fuel you need depends on the BBQ, but whether you cook on coal or gas there are a few key things to remember to get your food cooked right and help your day run smoothly:

  • Don’t use excess fuel – you don’t need to pile the charcoal high in your BBQ. In fact, that could make it more difficult for you to cook your food without burning it
  • A single layer of charcoal on your BBQ should be enough for 1-2 hours' worth of cooking
  • If you’re cooking on a gas BBQ, get the grill hot then turn down the gas, lower the lid and use that to help keep the temperature where you need it to be
  • If you want to get your food tasting as good as it can, choose BBQ smoking chips. They’ll enhance the flavour of your meat, fish and veggies

3. Set the right temperature

Setting the temperature for cooking on a BBQ is something that’s easy to get wrong and lead to wasted, burnt food. Here's our little wins to help you cook to perfection:

  • If you’re cooking with charcoal, your hand can be your guide to whether the temperature is right or not – but please take care! It might be best to get a thermometer if you’re a bit of a novice at barbecuing
  • A firelighter and gas lighter will help you get the charcoal burning
  • Don’t cook on your BBQ when it’s at its hottest – it'll burn the outside and leave the inside uncooked
  • If you can hold your hand about 5 inches from the grill for 4 seconds, your BBQ is at a medium temperature and you are good to go
  • You can also control the temperature in different parts of the grill according to how you arrange your charcoal. Pile higher on one side and that will be the hotter side, giving you a cooler side for different types of food
  • You can control the temperature of gas BBQs much easier than charcoal – don’t forget to turn the temperature down and close the lid to help save on fuel costs

4. Don’t forget to marinade

If you want to get your meat and veggies full of flavour, follow our top tips:

  • Add some extra flavour to your food by applying a marinade and ideally leave it overnight
  • Marinading your meats can give them some extra flavour. Why not choose different ones for your different foods, such as BBQ flavour for your burgers, sweet chilli for chicken skewers and lemon and honey for your vegetables
  • When putting your marinaded food onto the grill, be sure to shake off any excess marinade, especially if there’s a lot of oil in it, as this can burn and affect the flavour. A grill tray will help catch any drips

5. Get your meat up to room temperature

Don’t cook your meat straight from the fridge – allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes before cooking to give it time to come up to room temperature...

  • Cooking cold meat on a BBQ can make it more likely to burn, before the inside can really cook
  • When meat is at room temperature it’ll help it to cook evenly
  • When bringing your meat to room temperature, make sure it isn’t sitting in the sunshine – inside in a spot that’s cool and dry is best

6. Test and rest the meat

Make sure meat is well-cooked through and full of flavour...

  • When cooking on the BBQ, be sure to test your meat is thoroughly cooked before eating
  • Cut into pork and chicken to make sure it’s cooked through before serving
  • To improve the flavour of your meat, you should also allow it to rest for a minute or two on a warmed foil tray away from the heat of the BBQ grill - this gives the meat time to absorb the juices and become more tender

7. Prepare some great sides

A BBQ is not complete without some great sides and snacks!

  • BBQ classics include corn on the cob, halloumi, baked potatoes, potato salad
  • Don’t forget the veggies too! Asparagus and veggie skewers are always a hit on the BBQ.

You could even throw in some of your own veg that you’ve grown in your garden or allotment. Not sure how to grow your own veg? Have a read of our helpful guide to get you started.

8. Have a back-up plan

We all know how unpredictable the British the weather can be, so it’s always best to have a back-up plan if it lets you down! If the weather is really bad, you always have your kitchen to fall back on! Depending on how bad the rain is, you might be able to get away with a gazebo or party tent in the garden – you could shelter the BBQ with the gazebo and keep guests sheltered in your house!

9. Don’t forget the dessert

No BBQ or garden gathering is complete without a great dessert (or even a range of them!)

  • When planning desserts for your BBQ gathering, it’s best to keep in mind that you don’t want anything that could spoil easily in the heat of the sun
  • Popular cakes like brownies and fairy cakes are perfect. Despite the heat, trifle or scones with jam and cream are ideal for a summer treat (just make sure to leave anything with cream on in the fridge until you’re ready for them!). Pop them on a cake stand for extra flare. If you want to get creative, make sure you have all the cake baking and decorating essentials to hand
  • For something slightly different, why not consider some legendary wilko Pick & Mix? You can choose cups in different sizes and they’re always a hit with the kids.

10. Get ready for the clean-up!

The clean-up may seem like the worst part of a BBQ but think of it this way – a lot of mess to clear is usually a sign of a successful BBQ...plus it’ll mean that everything is ready to go for your next one!

  • When cleaning your BBQ, the first thing to keep in mind, of course, is that you need to give it enough time to cool down properly so that you don’t risk injuring yourself
  • When it has cooled, tip it over and collect all the ash into a bucket. Then you can clean the base of your BBQ with some warm water and washing-up liquid
  • Use a grill brush with wire bristles to give your grills a scrub and help get rid of any food particles
  • Astonish Grill and Oven Cleaner will take the hard work out of it all and help you get your BBQ clean without using harsh chemicals
  • Remember to give the outside a wipe down, leave to dry and then store until next time – the more you look after your BBQ, the longer it will last
  • Invest in a BBQ cover to keep the elements at bay

Want to make the most of summer and garden gatherings? Visit www.wilko.com