How to become a Barbecue Legend

Enjoy a perfect barbecue whether you're in your garden, at the beach or camping

Whether you’ll be enjoying your own outdoor space this summer or you're off to the beach or a campsite, make the most of the lighter evenings with these tips for the perfect barbecue experience.

You're already a legend in your own household for your barbecues (but is it for the right reason?). We like to think we know all there is to know about cooking outside (c'mon guys, admit it) so please add your own tips in the comments below. If you know someone that could do with some tips then please share (and if you reading this because someone has shared it with you, please don't take offence!).

1. Preparation is vital

Prepare whatever you can in advance - chop vegetables, marinate and skewer meat etc. This will not only save time later but also help to ensure food safety.

Stuff like skewering always takes longer than you think and there's nothing worse than the early ones interrupting your preparation, especially if the catering is for hordes.

Marinated meat tastes soooo much better when it's been immersed overnight. And always in the fridge, of course. Poultry needs no more than two days, but red meats and pork can be marinated for up to five, this means if the event is on Saturday, you can start your prep on Monday night!

If you do get the odd early arrival - put them straight to work rearranging the deck chairs or whatever job one is never going to get around to doing.

The prep here is to think about the jobs you're going to give to them!

2. Location, Location, Location

For a perfect barbecue, scope out the perfect spot - yes, you’ll want a lovely view if you’re at the beach, and somewhere close (but not too close) to your tent on a campsite, but also look for a shady spot to lay out raw food before it hits the grill.

If there's a breeze and your grill can be moved try and position it where the wind is your friend not the enemy.

It's best to cook as close to the house as you can, otherwise you'll find yourself constantly running for miles in and out of the kitchen. Best keep it a little distance from any combustable items though - like your house itself. No-one wants a barbecue to be remembered for burning the shed or even the house down! Unless of course you've an outdoor kitchen (watch this space).

Don’t forget a bag for rubbish and a washing up bowl to store all your dirty dishes. That way you can rinse and wash up later with minimal fuss.

3. Family Fun

It’ll be these relaxed, family occasions that your friends, children and grandchildren will remember years from now, so don’t forget to get them involved too.

With young children, you may not want them too close to the barbecue itself, so ask them to set the table or better still, why not make them the official event photographers? The lower angle of their pictures often makes for much, much better snaps - just remind them to look at/through the viewfinder!

Another great picture idea, particularly if you've got the family together, is to try and recreate some pictures from the past.

Make sure you've got the perfect picture to hand, so that everyone can focus on their pose and the set up. Then edit them to put the two images side by side.

4. The Main Event

I'm sure you find cooking in your kitchen a lot easier and more successful when you use high quality, trusted equipment - and the same is true of barbecuing.

When you’re on the road, you want a barbecue which is easy to carry, has sufficient grill area and will stand the test of time.

We love the Travel Kadai Firebowl kit because; it can be stored away in it's own duffle bag, it's supplied with tongs, a stand and a grill and it works brilliantly with our skillet pans, which allow you to easily cook several elements separately on the same grill. It’s dual-purpose, also acting as a fire to keep you warm as the night draws in on the beach or at the campsite; a great design made from a recycled oil drum.

When at home, go for the best barbecue you can afford such as the Titan. We used to be a bit sniffy about the authenticity of gas barbecues and if you're just cooking for yourself then charcoal is fine, but if entertaining, the versatility that one of these beasts offers is hard to match. Or if you want to be different, try a paella burner.

5. Let there!

It’s always a good idea to have a few tricks up your sleeve in case you, or your other half, need a little assistance!

Long matches are a great idea or a gas lighter, even more so - don’t let breezy weather beat you. Put two or three matches together, one head just below the next, for a 'Scout's match'.

Our Natural Firelighters; wax dipped, fine wood shavings - are odourless and really easy to use.

For a touch of theatre, try our traditional iron Bouffadou Pipe - simply point the end into the base of the fire and blow through the mouthpiece.

If your theatre turns to disaster and the fire gets out of hand don't forget to keep a bucket of water handy, but disguise it as a beer or champagne chiller.

Lastly, a few handy tips to ensure your perfect barbecue is remembered for all the right reasons!

Be organised - ensure you have sufficient work surface (even if that just means a chopping board or serving plates) and all the equipment you need to hand. Consider using a side trolley to help you.

Be time conscious - light the barbecue in plenty of time and be realistic about how long the food will take to cook; for best results, only put food onto the barbecue at room temperature.

Be safe - don’t forget to check the rules for your campsite or beach.

We love eating al fresco during the summer months and we’d love to see any photos of you doing the same. Share them with us on Facebook or tweet us.


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