Having a barbecue at home with friends or family usually becomes the gastronomic celebration of the summer. Now, it’s also becoming trendy to keep the barbecue going even in autumn and continue cooking on it throughout the year.
So, if you’re also passionate about grilling, we have some juicy tricks and tips for you. Follow them, and you’ll be able to prepare a perfect barbecue any time of the year and even impress the most demanding Argentinean from the Pampas.
Let’s get started!
High heat: How to start a good fire
Schedule the time for when you’re going to eat. It’s ideal to light the barbecue an hour in advance so that the embers are ready when you start cooking.
Second recommendation: never light the fire with alcohol. Yes, it will ignite quickly at first, but the embers won’t last long.
There are other products to accelerate the process, but they alter the taste of the food you’re going to cook and leave a chemical flavor on them.
It’s better to use wood chips, kindling, or pinecones because they will give your barbecue an authentic and flavorful aroma.
Now you need to calculate the amount of firewood or charcoal you’ll need based on the amount of meat you’re going to cook.
Argentineans usually estimate 2 to 3 kilograms of firewood per kilogram of meat, but if you’re using charcoal, the calculation will be one kilogram of charcoal per kilogram of meat.
Are you ready to ignite your barbecue at home?
Among the embers: When preparing a barbecue, should you choose wood or charcoal?
Oak, walnut, birch, elm wood—why? Because they burn for a long time, which keeps the embers glowing for a much longer duration.
Perhaps oak or olive wood gives the best flavor to the meat. Try them when preparing your next barbecue at home and compare.
Remember: the logs should always be completely dry, never green or freshly cut. This way, you’ll prevent unnecessary smoke.
Never use oleander, green carob, or fig wood as they are toxic.
Some experts in home barbecuing prefer using charcoal instead of wood because they believe good-quality charcoal has superior heat intensity. Moreover, charcoal embers impart an exquisite flavor to the food cooked on them.
Until recently, one of the challenges with charcoal barbecues was controlling the heat intensity, which only the very skilled could achieve.
But that has changed. There are now barbecues available in the market equipped with air extraction technology that, thanks to their adjustable grill, allow you to have control over the temperature to achieve that special doneness for your grilling. They are also much easier to transport.
Are you ready to prepare a barbecue at home?
For your safety, what tools should you have on hand?
When you start working, remember that you’ll be handling a hot barbecue.
Protect your arms and hands with heat-resistant gloves and use long utensils like tongs to flip the meat without piercing it.
Avoid using a regular fork; it will puncture the meat and cause it to lose its juices. Plus, you might burn yourself.
It’s also recommended to use a long iron rod to move the embers.
Nowadays, many charcoal barbecues come with a lid. Simply closing it can prevent sparks or embers from jumping out.
Others have handles with thermal protection to prevent burns during use.
As you can see, everything is made easy.
The perfect moment to give it your all
To prepare a good barbecue, you need to be patient and know when to wait.
Don’t rush to cook the meat when there is still a flame; wait for the embers to form.
The ideal moment is when the embers are white on top and red underneath. Of course, the flames should have completely disappeared, and the heat should have spread evenly throughout the barbecue.
Don’t add more firewood or charcoal when the meat is already on the grill. It can be toxic.
The placement of the grill is also important. If it’s too low, the meat will burn on the outside but remain raw on the inside.
With all these tips, nothing can go wrong. Are you ready to enjoy your perfectly cooked meat?
How to prepare the meat: The star of the party
Don’t take the meat directly from the refrigerator. It’s best to let it come to room temperature at least one hour before cooking.
Place thyme or rosemary on the sides of the barbecue to flavor the meat.
Start with small pieces like sausages, bacon, or black pudding. The fat from these meats, as it drips onto the coals, will enhance the smoky aroma that enriches a good barbecue.
Continue with chicken pieces and save the larger meat cuts for the end, as they require more time on the coals.
Avoid constantly flipping the meat back and forth; it should be cooked slowly. As a general guideline, for a 330g piece, grill it for approximately 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
To check if the meat is done, don’t cut it as it will lose its juices and become dry.
Instead, press it with your finger. If it quickly regains its shape, it means it’s done. Pay attention to this trick!
Family-sized or portable home barbecues
It’s Sunday, the sun is shining. Who wouldn’t feel like hosting a barbecue at home? Now it’s possible, regardless of the size of your home, thanks to the variety of models available on the market.
From XXL garden barbecues for large family gatherings to portable ones that can be placed in the kitchen, dining room, or any corner of the house for an intimate gathering.
These tabletop models have active ventilation to accelerate the coal formation, thus avoiding smoke inside the house.
So, you have no excuses not to host a barbecue at home.
Time to turn it off and call it a day
A simple way to extinguish the barbecue is by covering it with its lid. This will smother the coals.
Another useful trick when cleaning your barbecue after cooking is to sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the still-hot grill and scrub it with newspaper. This will prevent the barbecue from retaining odors.
Forgot to clean it last time you used it? Don’t worry. Heat the grill for 5 to 10 minutes to remove the stuck-on grease, and it will be ready.
There are already barbecue models, especially small ones, that can even be washed in the dishwasher. Super convenient.
Now you know everything you need to make a memorable home barbecue. What are you waiting for to organize one?
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