These are some of the factors that you need to consider in order to throw a great barbecue for your friends and family.

Summer is here, so it’s time to dust off the forgotten barbecue and get the tongs and apron from the bottom of the kitchen drawer. It’s time to enjoy long summer afternoons full of friends , family , beers and smoky gardens with the smell of bacon and chorizos . So that these evenings are a success and everyone enjoys a nice meal, these are our top ten tips to make sure you have a perfect barbecue .

Tools to become good chefs

Woman with barbecue tongs

Woman with barbecue tongs.

If you want to go from beginner to experienced chef , here are some of the tools that will make our job easier.

  • A pair of long-handled tongs make moving heavier cuts easy and safe. The extra length of the tongs keeps arms further away from the grill , reducing the chance of burns .
  • A temperature probe is a great investment for outdoor cooking , as it can be more difficult to tell if meat is cooked through.
  • Prepare your own “ herb brush ” to add extra flavor by gathering your choice of spices ( rosemary , thyme , parsley …). Tying them to the end of a wooden spoon with a string, we will simply dip the herbs in a little olive oil and “paint” the meats before roasting them.
  • The use of a basket to roast foods , such as meat or flat fish, ensures easy and even cooking .
  • The last tool to be an expert with is barbecue gloves . Its heat resistant material keeps our hands safe from the flames so we can move hot pans and foods or even rearrange the coals .

Preparation is everything

Piantao barbecue

Calculating how much food we need is key. A sausage, a piece of bacon, a hamburger and a skewer per person is a good starting point. However, if there is a lot of food left over, don’t worry as we can turn it into a quick meal for the next few days. Hamburgers and fish don’t usually keep very well, but chicken, steak, chorizos and chops do .

On the other hand, the accompaniments and seasonings are another decisive factor when preparing a barbecue. Cold broths , salads , empanadas , sausages and sweets are liked by practically everyone, although we can always ask if any of our guests have some kind of intolerance and prepare something different for them.


Woman marinating chicken

Woman marinating chicken .

Inject a little flavor into your cuts by marinating them . Marinating foods overnight is the best way to ensure that the flavors embed. On the other hand, don’t forget to shake off any excess marinade before the meat hits the grill, especially if it contains oil .

Avoid cold

A fridge full of products

A fridge full of products.

Taking food out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking gives it enough time for it to cool down and come to room temperature . If the meat is too cold when it arrives on the grill, there is a danger that it will burn on the outside before it is fully cooked . This is especially important in the case of chicken , chorizos , sausages and any other pork meat .


A man lighting charcoal for his barbecue

A man lighting charcoal for his barbecue.

The choice of coal is important. Lump charcoal ignites quickly with a burn time of about an hour , a good choice if you’re cooking a wide variety of meats . Briquettes , on the other hand, can burn for up to three hours at a constant temperature , making them ideal for grilling .

Charcoal can infuse different flavors into meat depending on which tree it comes from. Charcoal created from oak trees can release subtle tones of smoky caramel , while charcoal from orange wood has a deep marmalade flavor that nicely complements duck , chicken and turkey . A good trick to get those flavors to permeate our food more is to soak oak wood chips in water and put them on the coals when we are going to start cooking. The water creates steam that sends a gorgeous oak flavor to the meat. This works especially well with pork , like hickory wood chips . Finally, if we want a sweeter flavor , we can use apple wood .

Direct and indirect cooking methods

A barbecue

A barbecue.

Direct cooking is the most common method on the barbecue. It is excellent for fine cuts such as steaks, hamburgers, fish, chorizos and sausages, since they are placed directly on the fire. One of the main advantages of direct cooking is that the high temperatures inside the barbecue create the perfect conditions for searing , resulting in great flavor and texture .

Indirect cooking methods are a bit more advanced than direct cooking. To do this, place the meat next to the heat source, not directly on it . With this method, the barbecue acts as an oven , making it ideal for cuts like roasts that require slow cooking over low heat .

Taste the meat

meat on a barbecue

Meat on a barbecue.

An obvious but very important tip, especially if you’re cooking for a lot of people, as it can be hard to tell how well done the meat is just by looking at it. To be sure, all you have to do is cut the pieces and check if the juices run clear , or as we recommended above, invest in a temperature probe .

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