10 tips for a perfect barbecue
10 tips for a perfect barbecue
Gas or coal, Italian or American: the bbq is always a good idea for a dinner with friends, here is a small guide.
Despite being a typically summer date, it’s never too late to have a barbecue . With the mild temperatures of late summer, it is a good time to find yourself, with the necessary precautions, around the grill to cook meat, fish, vegetables, fruit. Choosing what to cook, but above all how to do it, is still an art, which requires some precautions in the previous phase and during cooking. Here, then, are some notions and many tips in a small guide to the perfect barbecue .
- Several schools. First of all, there are different schools of thought around the bbq . There is the American one , which involves slow cooking and a lot of smoking . In this case the charcoal or charcoal is arranged on the sides of the grill, frequently mixing unlit and lit pieces to make the heat last longer. Then, often, barbecues with a lid are used. This is how smoked ribs , pulled pork , brisket are prepared . Furthermore, the meat is usually carefully marinated beforehand, even with a rub of raw spices, which you spread on the meat, using mustard. as a glue, they seal the meat and their juices, giving flavor and creating a crunchy crust with long cooking.
- In Italy. Traditionally with us, cooking on the barbecue replaces cooking on the grill or in the fireplace. Usually, in fact, we limit ourselves to a quick cooking without marinades, on hot embers , and season everything only at the end with oil , salt and other spices to taste. This provides, depending on the meat, a correct infiltration of fat, to prevent them from drying out once in contact with heat. Over time, however, the approach has changed.
- Different types of barbecues. Portable, cast iron, open, closed with lid, gas, electric, coal. On the market there are different types of barbecues, each of which has its advantages, depending on the use you want to make of it. Usually, gas or electric bbqs are more practical , given the speed with which they turn on, but they do not give that typical flavor of food cooked on the grill. The charcoal counterparts, on the other hand, especially in the case of burning wood, allow food to be flavored. With olive, juniper or maple wood, for example, food is given a unique and particular flavor.
- The Japanese ceramic kamado. A third way is the Japanese one , which involves the use of an ancient product: kamado . It is an ancient ceramic oven , used in the land of the Rising Sun for over three thousand years, capable of grilling, smoking, roasting, cooking at high and low temperatures. After the Second World War, still on Japanese soil, the Americans took advantage of its great scope, but it was the German engineers – designers of the first Monolith – who really imported the first ceramic barbecue in Europe. Its strengths? The oval shape, the possibility of regulating the air flow, the ceramic material, which insulates and reflects, the lid. All attentions that allow controlled cooking.
- Basic tools. That said, before you even start cooking on the barbecue, you need to have basic equipment. On the market there are ready-made kits , stored in handy cases. In the basic version, a pair of tongs , a spatula and a brush are essential to clean the grill . But it would be good to have a kitchen glove too, to protect your hands, a long knife, a fork and a Flemish to place ready-made foods. Two pluses, depending on what you prepare, are the cooking supports – small non-stick grids that rest directly on the grill – and a brush for spreading the marinades. And a lid, if your barbecue doesn’t already have one.
- The marinade. In fact, one of the preparations prior to cooking is marinating. Whether it is meat, fish or vegetables (even fruit), it gives that extra something to any food you decide to cook on the barbecue. It is an important moment to soften and flavor foods , which then remain moist during cooking. Spices, aromas, oil, but also vinegar, lemon, wine – for pre-cooking or just as seasonings – marinades have their own time to respect, which depends on the type and thickness of the food. A classic example? That of the chicken. The rules to follow can be found here .
- The breading. If you have ever participated in a barbecue in Sicily you will have noticed that there, in addition to any marinating, the ingredients are also breaded before cooking on the grill. A real breading, usually prepared with bread, parsley, caciocavallo, garlic, salt and pepper . We proceed by dipping or brushing the meat with oil and water beaten with a fork, then pass everything in the breading and cook, possibly on charcoal. The result? Sure heavy, but great.
- The right temperature. The goal of a perfect barbecue is perfect cooking where the food is not charred . The temperature of the embers, therefore, must be inversely proportional to the size of the food. No direct fire for larger foods , which take longer, more heat , instead, for smaller ones . If you are preparing skewers, make sure that the ingredients that compose them are all the same size: cooking will be uniform.
- First the embers. The embers must be prepared in time. Charcoal or charcoal (or wood) must be properly heated to cook food regularly. To do this, a more natural procedure is recommended, starting with ignition sticks and gradually adding thicker logs . Finally, only the coals or charcoal. To perfume the embers you can add herbs or spices to burn, such as bay leaf, rosemary, sage, juniper and mint, depending on what you are about to cook.
- Final tips. A few final notions and you are ready. Meanwhile, the best vegetables to cook on the grill are those rich in water , therefore mushrooms , courgettes , aubergines , tomatoes . Then, in the case of fish, it is best not to scale it , because the scales protect the meat , making it dry less. The same goes for crustaceans, which should not be deprived of the carapace. The fruit , on the other hand, is very good baked in foil, with aromas if desired. And also caramelizing it : it is enough to brush it with honey or sugar.