For Summertime - Top Barbeque tips!

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Want to make sure your food is cooked to perfection, your guests have a good time and you enjoy it, too?
Here's how
Light the barbecue before the guests arrive — at the very least, your visitors will arrive to the tantalising smell of the debris burning off the barbecue grills.

bbq pic

Have everything in place ready to go. Get marinating the day before and be as prepared as you can.
Be organised around your barbecue — have enough work surface. What other equipment will you need?
How will you keep raw meat separate from cooked?
Stay with your barbecue — for as long as you are grilling, for the best results and for safety's sake. You won't get lonely. Chefs never do. There are always a handful of — invariably male — guests who huddle around giving their chefs advice. Barbecuing is theatre.

Use great basic ingredients — Our local butchers and farm shops are award winning for the delights that they can produce!
Seasoning is often neglected. This is one of the first lessons to learn. Only add salt to a marinade if you are marinating for no more than 2 hours. Pepper is fine overnight.
Lose fridge chill — Always give enough time out of the fridge, at least 20 minutes, for raw barbecue dishes to lose their chill and to be approaching room temperature.
If the meat, chicken, fish or vegetable is too cold in the centre, the outside may well burn before the inside is cooked.
Temperature control during grilling — Control the proximity of the food to the coals. If you can, use a rack system with three different heights and moveable grills and hinged sandwich racks. If not, shuffle your grilling food around from hot patches to cooler parts of the rack, or place the food on foil to slow things down. Always have a water spray handy to calm down over-excited flames!

Test for 'doneness'
Using a small sharp knife, cut into the centre of the meat (down to the bone if there is one), to check that the flesh is cooked and juices are running clear. For flaky fish, such as salmon, press the flesh with your finger or a fork to check that the flakes come apart, indicating that it is ready.
Rest the meat - this part is as essential a part of the barbecuing process as any other. If you were to eat a steak directly off the barbecue, it would be tough and juices would flow out the moment you prodded it with your steak knife. Leaving it to rest for a few minutes allows the meat sinews to reabsorb the juices. Rest the meat on a warmed tray on the top rack or away from the direct heat covered with perforated foil.
Top tips for marinating
Marinate overnight whenever possible for maximum flavour (unless stated otherwise in the recipe).
Extra virgin olive oil is great, but you should never use it in marinades. It burns and smokes on contact with the barbecue — use light olive oil, or vegetable oil instead.
Before placing on the barbecue grill, rub or shake off any excess marinade, particularly if there is any oil in it, to prevent burning or flaring.
Never put cooked meat back onto the same dish you used for marinating. Always use a clean serving dish or plate.

All set? Good, then you're ready to turn up the heat ...

(Ed: This article seemed a good idea last week during Summer!)