NOTHING beats a perfect barbecue at this time of year when the Sun is shining and everyone is having a good time in the garden.
On that note, don’t forget to keep your chimney in good condition throughout the Summer. It’s easy to forget when there’s a heatwave that Autumn is just around the corner (a mere couple of months away) and you wouldn’t want to hit the cold period unless your woodburner or open fire chimney are in good working order.
Anyway, let’s not digress. It’s barbecue time right now so here are some yum-tastic tips on how to light a barbecue.
Make sure the appliance is in a good condition before you even think about lighting the fuel. For gas barbecues, there should be no leaks and a good way to check for that is to put a little soapy water on the joints. If you see any bubbles that means there’s a gas leak and lighting the barbecue would be dangerous. Remember too that the gas cylinder must only be switched-off at the controls. This is a safety measure to ensure that remaining gas is used-up.
For charcoal barbecues, put kindling and the charcoal over the base area in a pyramid shape. You can use firelighters beneath or barbecue lighting fluid. Never use petrol or other flammable liquids, on a warm day they can evaporate to an invisible cloud all around you and if you try to light it at this point, the result can be EXPLOSIVE.
Light the barbecue with a match / lighter held against some kindling. To speed up the process, carefully light up different parts of the fuel.
The barbecue can be used for cooking once the charcoal has turned white in colour because that’s when it is hottest. It also allows enough time for the firelighters or bbq lighting fluid to be burnt off. Knock down the pyramid shape so that the charcoal is evenly spread using a non-flammable tool. Wait a little longer if there is still a lot of black unburned charcoal.
In terms of the actual cooking, a long-handled spatula or tongs are best. Keep turning the meat to ensure an even cooking temperature and just because it looks cooked on the outside doesn’t mean the inside is ready to eat. As the food look ready, move it to a cooler part of the grill and check if it’s cooked properly. The whole experience is meant to be relaxing. It makes sense to have a bucket of water close to hand in case of an emergency.
It goes without saying that children and vulnerable adults – pets too – shouldn’t be allowed near a barbecue. And you don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun but there must be no outside games played near the bbq either.
Never discard hot ash from a barbecue into a bin. Wait until all burnt fuel material is well and truly cooled down.
Lastly, never use any barbeque in an enclosed space – garage, tent etc. Large amounts of poisonous carbon monoxide gas are given off and in an enclosed space this can quickly kill!