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Ten Top Tips for Great Summer Barbeques


 Some great tips for getting your barbeque party sizzling so that everyone has  a great time

1. Pick the right barbecue for you

If you like to entertain on the spur of the moment gas BBQ’s are great but many people prefer the smokier and wholesome flavours of a charcoal model.

Gas barbeques offer the perfect fire at the push of a button and are virtually instantaneously ready to grill your meat or any other food you wish to cook on it. The temperature on a gas BBQ can be adjusted with great precision and you don’t have to clean up ash. Take a look at our latest range of world-leading Weber models in our BBQ area near the tills.

Charcoal fans would say food cooked on a gas grill does not have the same distinct flavour associated with cooking meat over real charcoal coals and that this taste is part of the appeal of having a barbeque in the first place. Charcoal barbeques have really developed in recent years with an extensive range of kettle models to choose from and portable models that are great for the beach and picnics. They have some great features to help you cook to perfection but always make sure you always use a high-quality charcoal.

New barbecue area

While the initial investment on a gas barbeque is more, it does end up costing less to operate in the long run so in the end, you have to pick the one that is right for you!

However, let's throw another one in the mix! If you want to be really in the swing of today's outdoor entertaining the Kadai firebowl is a very versatile option. You can use it for cooking, and not just barbeque food but lots of other options such as paellas and curries, then when you've finished cooking use the fire bowl as a fire to keep warm as the sun goes down

2. Keep Clean

Make sure to keep up with cleaning out the ashes of your charcoal grill, and cleaning out the cook box for gas and electric models. Doing this will keep the grills in great shape, improve their performance, and reduce flare-ups.

Many people don’t clean the actual grill all summer long feeling it seasons the grill, if it reaches a really high temperature then there should be not health problems – it’s a personal preference but we'd advise using a grill brush

3. Use a Chimney starter

No more hanging around saying Is it ready yet? Quite simply nothing gets coals burning faster and more evenly than chimney starters.
It’s the easy way to light and prepare perfectly glowing briquettes every time.

4. Lid on or Off?

If you want to cook something quickly (e.g. steaks, hamburgers, chops, vegetables, kebabs) using radiant heat from coals or gas flame, without wanting to bake the food, then the cover is open. If you are cooking something that takes longer like roasting a whole chicken especially if you are using indirect heat (food not directly over fire), then cover is closed.

5. Use Woodchips

Just like spices use different types of woodchips to enhance your grilled food Hickory and oak are great with fish and pork, while cherry and apple wood add sweetness to most meats. 

6. Turn up the Heat

Nothing worse than giving your guests food poisoning so this is extremely important. Easy with a gas model but with a charcoal one make sure the briquettes are coated with white ash before you start cooking.

7. Use the right tools

Who hasn’t lost a sausage down a grill or flipped a burger over the edge much to the dog’s delight?

Every Barbeque King needs an apron, heavy duty oven gloves, decent tongs, fork and a spatula and claw shredders are great for pulling things like pork

8. Be Adventurous

Don’t just stick to supermarket sausages and burgers. Make your own burgers, cook whole fish stuffed with lemon and dill or try pizzas that taste amazing on a BBQ. Don’t forget the side dishes, not just salads and coleslaws but grilled vegetables like asparagus, peppers and courgettes and baked sweet potatoes.

9. Marinades, Herbs and Chutneys.

Marinades Try making your own with hot jalapeno sauces and as we all know to get the food full of flavour leave a marinade for at least three hours or overnight and that applies even more to barbeque food, to make sure the flavours aren’t overridden by the addition of the smoke. In fact, it’s best to save some marinade and brush your meat or fish with the marinade every 10 minutes as it cooks. That way it will add moisture, trap the smoke flavour and caramelise gently as it cooks.

Herbs are a BBQ must They will add an extra dimension to sausages, burgers, chicken and fish- whether it's rosemary, cumin, thyme or sage and your guests will really smell the delicious food they’re about to enjoy.

Chutneys Remember the days of brown sauce with everything! We’re all a bit more sophisticated now and enjoy an ever-increasing range of tasteful chutneys, relishes and pickles, many made by artisan local producers.

10. Finishing Touches

Undercover - we all know the UK weather; it's sunshine all week and then on Saturday rain, so have a covered area prepared to take shelter or some handy garden parasols.

Lights – solar lights add a new dimension to garden entertaining as the sun goes down and day turns to dusk then night. They’re so easy to install but really do create a magical atmosphere

Drinks – Make sure you have a good supply of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks as well and spice them up as well as your food with herbs, Pimms with borage, Gin with basil, white wine spritzers with lemon thyme.

Posted by Charlie Groves

Charlie is the manager at Groves Nurseries.  He is the 6th generation of C.W. Groves to run the garden centre. 

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