It’s usually around this time of year when our senses are flooded with the familiar sounds of lawn mowers and seagulls, and the smells of neighbouring BBQs start to remind us that summer is well and truly on its way.
So, as you start to dust off and de-grease your favourite outdoor cooking equipment getting it ready for a new season of outdoor living, we’ve put together 5 great barbecue hacks that will amplify your BBQ-ing prowess – regardless of what you’ve got on your grill.
1. The tinfoil and onion DIY BBQ grill cleaner
The first rule of BBQ-ing is to keep your grill clean. And while many may turn to their trusty grill brush, there is an easier way to get your grill looking sparkly clean and ready for your next summer meal. While your BBQ grill is hot, use a sheet of aluminium tinfoil and roll it loosely into a ball (about the size of a tennis ball). Pinch it between your BBQ tongs and use it to rub off any leftover grease or food on your grill. The tinfoil acts as a great scourer getting rid of any stubborn food that clings on for dear life. Follow that up with an onion (chopped in half with the cut side down) and rub that over the grill as well. If the grill is really hot, spear the onion onto a fork as a handle. The natural oils found in onions form a protective coating on the metal and even add a bit of flavour to your cooking.
2. Rosemary kebab sticks
This method works particularly well for lamb, but would also be lovely with beef or chicken too. Simply use sticks of rosemary as skewers for the meat. Mix it up by adding some courgette and pepper too, and you’ll have beautifully flavoured tender kebabs, which are a real crowd-pleaser!
3. The perfect anti-stick, fish-cooking trick
If you enjoy cooking fish on the BBQ you’ll know the pleasures of smoky, lemony salmon, or rainbow trout that’s been snuggled in tinfoil amongst the hot coals cooked to perfection. But there’s a downside to cooking fish on an open grill; the inevitable sticking to the grill itself. Prevent the sticky mess by thinly slicing lemon or lime slices and laying them on top of the grill. Place the fish on top of the bed of lemon slices and cook as you would usually do. The lemon slices act as a guard against any fish becoming stuck, and adds a zesty lemon tinge to your flavour too.
4. The toasted sandwich BBQ wonder
Experiment with a new side dish the next time you cook steak or chicken on the BBQ, with a barbecue-inspired toasted sandwich. Best done on a low heat (usually once everything else is already cooked and is resting for a few minutes), place your prepared sandwich (a favourite filling for the BBQ is red onion, cheddar cheese and a little bit of chutney), wrapped in tinfoil, on the grill, turning it regularly as the bread starts to brown and the cheese starts to melt. Served with a side salad and your favourite cold beverage, this little addition will be a welcome guest at anyone’s summer table.
5. Spritz your way to flavour
Whether you enjoy a good marinade, or whether you simply want to keep your meat cooking with added flavours and retaining as much moisture as possible, try using a spray bottle the next time you fire up your summer BBQ. Working particularly well with pork, you may want to fill the spray bottle with apple juice and spray your meat throughout the cooking time. Or, if you’ve marinated your meat beforehand, remember to keep some of the marinade back to use while you’re cooking. Add the marinade to the spray bottle and spray over the cooking meat every so often to keep the flavours rich and the meat juicy. Other alternatives may include lemon juice when cooking fish, or even a light dressing made of oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and pepper for lamb.
Now that you’re almost summer-ready, why not get your barbecue and grill professionally cleaned by one of our oven-cleaning experts? Read more about how we can help, here.