BBQ is one of the finest ways for making great food and here, we share advanced but simple processes for every level cook to make the most amazing BBQs you’ve ever had.
It is one of the best forms of getting juicy and crispy food at the same time from one less stressful cook.
So tag along as we take you into the world of grilling and/ or BBQing where we show you how to make lip-smacking delicacies.
A STEP BY STEP GUIDE FOR MAKING THE BEST FOODS FROM YOUR BBQ
A further step into Learning about Barbecue
First of all, for the purpose of understanding, barbecue is widely initialised as BBQ, so do not be confused at the swap in words in this guide.
Explaining BBQ further
Going straight up, barbecue is simply a form of cooking where pieces of food; meat, fish, vegetables etc are cooked with close contact to heat without the use of a pan or cooking utensil of some sort.
Unlike cooking with a stove stop, in an instant pot, sous vide etc where the food is placed in a pot, pan, water etc, and cooked with the heat that is derived from the utensil, BBQ allows the food to work directly with the heat with a technique to it. We have explained the technique below.
Barbecuing food, henceforth, yields an amazing feel and taste of food that is very different from the everyday meals we have. It results in foods that are very juicy within, but at the same time crispy with beauty on the outside.
This tells you that, there has got to be an amazing technique to this act. Yes, there is! We will tell you more.
The most important equipment required to use
To BBQ, the only equipment that allows for this form of cooking is a grill often termed smokers too, and they come in different types, different power sources, different purposes, and different designs.
They are designed mostly to have a firebox where the fire resides, grill grates and other added features as per the design and purpose of the grill. You can also find them in many stores or search for them online and make a purchase if you do not have one.
Entry level users may often use gas grills because they are simpler to use, hence if you are a beginner at BBQing, you may consider reading our article on how to use a gas grill and how to use a smoker to aid you in maximizing your output.
About the two types of heat
On heat, BBQing food is done by low and slow cooking and then searing.
Low and Slow Cooking
This method is attributed to the term indirect heat where the food is cooked with very little or no closeness to the fire, but the heat generated from the fire does most of the work.
It aims at cooking the food in a slow mode gradually softening the food and allowing the juices within the food to cook it. So in the end, you will have a well-cooked food but very juicy within.
Afterward, this option comes in to give the food the crispy feel where the food is placed directly over the fire and quickly cooked to brown the outer parts of the foods. It is a very short process, usually ranging from 1 to about 6 minutes per piece.
The goal is not to cook the food with the searing method. It's only to help give it some color and pretty presentation, hence the finishing method for the cook.
*Quick tip: Baking is not barbecuing, it almost feels like we can hear someone asking. Although both options cook somewhat with closeness to fire, baking is a faster method of cooking and the food is mostly done in a baking pan or bowl in few minutes. While barbecuing will go for hours without the use of a utensil.
Now, let’s dig into the various steps on how to barbecue and we believe that this will be your favorite thing soon.
Step 1 You will need a Smoker, Grill or a Combo
As said above, the only way to BBQ is to use any of these types of equipment. They are designed to serve this purpose and are the only ones to give you the best result on this mission.
So, if you have an either of them at home, maybe your dad’s, good for you. You are one step ahead of the game. If you do not own one, then it is time to buy one. We will take a few moments to guide you in getting one.
First of all, these equipments come in various forms and purposes. The most important factor for getting one is the type of power source you seek to use in firing up the barbecue. There are 5 main types currently on the market and you can have a look at our best smoker article to give you some information about them.
Some examples of very good grills that have proven to yield amazing and real BBQ or grilling results are Pit Barrel Cooker, Masterbuilt Electric Smokers, and Dyna Glo Vertical Propane Smoker.
These are very simply designed that makes usage one of the easiest thing to do especially for an entry-level user. They are powered by different power sources, hence up to you to make a choice that will work for you. They are also good on cost, so you will not need to use up all your cash to get a decent one.
They may not be all functional with varying abilities to do different things at a time, but for BBQing, they are one of the bests that you can have. Read through our best grills article, and it will give you a great idea of the kind of grills to have.
Step 2 Assemble, Clean up and Prepare your Grill
Once you have this device at hand, assemble it with the manufacturer’s guide, and get it ready to be used.
Assembling a grill is usually not a daunting task as may be expected, but with an assisting hand you will be able to get it up and standing more easily. Find help, maybe your brother, a friendly neighbour etc, read through the manual carefully (not in a rush), and put the parts together to make one great stand.
You may want to power up the grill immediately you assemble to ensure that it is working properly. It is better to report a fault quickly to the manufacturer’s than wait for later.
On cleaning your grill, if you have had it tucked up for a while these 5 simple steps will help you get out all the insects and germs quickly for a safe barbecue:
1. Get in hand some latex gloves, metal wire sponge, and some coarse brush
2. Heat up your grill, close the hood and let it heat for about 15 minutes. This step will melt off any hardened grease and will kill any insects hiding in corners.
3. After heating, allow the grill to cool down and then remove the grill grates and soak them in soapy water for about 20 minutes. Put on the gloves, and use the metal wired sponge or brush to scrub of food residue and every unwanted item from the grates. Perform this task twice.
4. Next clean the lid with some dishwashing soap, as well as the grill tray.
5. Finally, do a dry clean wipe with a wet napkin and oil your grill with vegetable oil to avoid rusts.
You are good to get cooking!!
Step 3 Prepare your Fuel
Based on the type of barbecue equipment that you are using, power sourcing happened in various ways, but one thing is common to all which is using wood chips.
Make a good choice of the most suitable wood chips
Wood chips are flavoring elements made out of wood to be used in creating smoky flavors while cooking. They are usually safe to use and should not be substituted for work woods which may have chemicals used to treat them that may ruin the flavor and healthiness of your food when used.
Selecting the best wood chips that will give you the best flavors
Wood chips come in various flavors like pecan, hickory, apple, oak, mesquite, maple, alder and many more, and these can be purchased at any barbecue accessory store. You have the liberty to choose your kind of flavor for your food. Use this guide to aid you.
Choosing the right wood chips for the right flavors is totally dependent to you and the good thing is that, most wood chips can go with any kind of meat, fish, and seafood.
You can seek help from the store helper if you have any questions on the exact that one that you hope to use or talk to him or her about your recipe so they advise you on the best wood chips to get.
Prep up the wood chips
After getting your wood chips, soak them in water for about 15 minutes before you start cooking, discard the water and place them aside to be used throughout the process of barbecuing.
The exception to this act is for offset smokers which uses only dry wood chips for flavoring. So, take note to use dry wood chips if you are using an offset smoker.
Step 4 Get your Food Ready
Choose your food
The real deal is near and your food is the main item of attention. Pick your choice of food, meat, chicken, fish or vegetables and get ready to BBQ.
Always go for thicker cuts of meat or fish that will not flake easily when barbecuing. This is because these kinds hold up together well and will not break apart when cooking with the type of heat involved.
Vegetables are usually fine, however, do not go for wobbly veggies. Use firm veggies for BBQs.
Know about spicing
It is important to note that when spicing up your food, it is best to be minimal with the number of spices used. The best basics are usually salt and pepper, and then maybe a dry rub.
Dry rubs are a combination of various spices like cayenne, salt, pepper, powdered garlic, powdered onion, paprika etc. They come in various combinations and it is totally up to you to choose the most ideal rub that will suit your needs.
For a barbecue beginner, it will be best to start with just salt and pepper.
Spice up your food
Now, take your meat, for example, and sprinkle the choice of spice on both sides of it. Rub the spice in and place it aside for 1 minute.
Next, wrap it up in cling film and refrigerate it to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes. The deeper the marination, the more tasty the food will be.
Do not marinate for too long a time though, otherwise you will alter the texture of the meat which may yield to bad results. The maximum time to marinate is overnight.
Take advantage of recipes everywhere
Don’t be boring with you offerings, the same old cajun spiced pork chops will run your party down.
Explore the wide range of recipes available as we believe that the challenge may be that you will run out of ideas. So, to be creative with many options to choose from use as many recipes as possible; either from the internet or from books. Go through our category list of recipes to explore the many options that we offer.
Step 5 Start Up Your Grill
The time is up to get your beast up and running.
Preheat the grill for booming temperatures
This means simply heating up your grill for a while before actually barbecuing.
Light up the fire and close the hood for about 20 minutes to get heated to about 400 oF.
Each type requires a different style of lighting, so please use the manufacturer’s guide attached to the device to aid you with it.
Benefits for preheating a the grill
Two important consequences occur when preheating takes place.
First: the machine gets decontaminated of any harmful germs or insects before the food is placed on it.
Second: the food needs to start cooking in a heated environment, hence preheating prepares the grill to be in a good environment to introduce the food.
Step 6 Flavoring Up Preps
Adding wood chips
Now, that your device has heated up, you can now add the wood chips to the top of the charcoal in the fire box if you are using a charcoal smoker.
Otherwise, fill the wood chip loader or compartment with the wood chips in case you are using a propane, pellet or electric smoker. Add dry wood chips to the fire if you are using an offset smoker.
Introducing the water pan
Next important point is the use of water while cooking to create moisture for the food and to aid in regulating the cooking temperature.
Most grills usually have a water pan for this purpose and all you need to do is to fill it with water, add a few herbs to it (optional) and place the pan under the grill grate exactly below where the food will be. If it does not have its own water pan, you can use an aluminum foil bowl with good size to fit beneath the grill grate.
This method creates amazing moisture for the food so you do not end up having dry meat or flaking fish. Also, the herbs dropped in it increases flavoring that will circulate in the grill.
Step 7 It’s Cooking Time!
All is set now to get your food on to start barbecuing. Remember the initial step is to cook the food in low indirect heat for a long period of time.
This makes barbecuing or grilling very different from smoking. BBQing takes an hour to about 4 hours usually of slow cooking on low to medium heat to get your food in good taste.
However, smoking is a matter of days affair and requires some great level of patience to make the food. So for this case, we refer to the grilling to achieve amazing barbecues.
Let’s continue! Place your food on the grill grate directly above the water pan and set the temperature (look out for the thermometer on the smoker) to be between 200 °F to 250 °F and then close the hood.
Now, cook your food for between 1 hour to 4 hours based on the type of food you are cooking without any interruptions.
Take a look at the temperature guide below to aid you in determining the perfect temperatures for a good cook.
Step 8 Make Good Use of Cooking Tools
The process of BBQing could be a risky activity because of the level of heat involved.
Hence, make good use of tongs, spice brushes, gloves, meat thermometers, knives, plates etc while in the process of cooking. Look through our list of best grill accessories to aid you in choosing or purchasing the right tools for the job.
This will prevent burn from direct body access to the hot grill. Safety is key, aim for this when you cook.
Step 9: Temperatures Take Charge of Telling the Doneness
All grills come with in built thermometers that reads the state of temperature in the grill at a time.
We will advise you to purchase an added food thermometer to help you check the doneness of the food. The tip of the thermometer will be inserted in the food after the timer is over and it is will tell the levels of doneness that the food as reached.
Meat Temperatures Chart & Using the vents, dampers and chimneys
1. Use this time and temperature chart to aid you in checking on the foods doneness
2. Adjust temperatures, heat and smoke using the vents, dampers and chimneys found on the grill. Look at the previous how-to-guides for assistance on using these features
Step 10: The food is ready
1. Using sugar based sauces
You may want to coat your food with some sugar based sauces like the common barbecue sauce, which is totally fine to do.
However, because these sauces burn fast, it is best to apply them at the very end of the cook. They will only need to cook for a few seconds and then they should be fine to have.
2. Perform the carryover cooking
The carryover method simply means removing your food from the grill about 15 minutes to its estimated doneness time.
It is scientifically proven that food still cooks up to about 10 minutes after it has being left off the fire. So, to avoid an over cook, calculate your timing well to be able to perform this act.
3. Rest food before enjoying
We know you are eager to gulp your food in already, but it is better to have it sit on a flat surface or plate for about 5 minutes before you slice it up and serve.
This is because it may be too hot to enjoy already, and at the same time you want the juices to settle in well for better enjoyment.
Step 11: Clean while warm
While you wait for your food to finally cook from the carryover cooking technique, this is a good time to clean your BBQ device while it is still warm. Warm cleaning is the easiest as grease and juices are still in their liquid states at this point, so you can easily sponge and wipe them off.
Some vertical grills include a dripping pan which usually sits beneath the grates for trapping the grease and juices that fall of the food while cooking. This is a great feature for an easy clean, you can take advantage of this style if you hate cleaning.
Tips and Tricks For Organizing the Most Amazing BBQs
A clean grill will lead to clean food
Do not assume that just because you are cooking with heat, your grill will automatically be clean, hence room for laziness.
No no no! For every good food, the work place and place of cooking ought to be clean and free from germs. You will not be guaranteed of healthy and tasty food if you skip this step.
So, take a moment, clean up and oil your grill well before you start cooking. We shared some tips above to aid you with some good cleaning.
Be fun about your barbecue with some themes
Create some themes for the reason why you woke up to get a barbecue up and running. Friends and loved ones actually do not get excited about coming to just eat food, the real excitement is the reason and the positive feel to be derived from the meet up.
So, think through some amazing theme ideas like a bonfire night barbecue, a Cuban themed barbecue etc to spark up the excitement at the party. Work with some amazing and matching colors to drive up everyone’s adrenaline. Plan well ahead to have a good set up on the day.
Making a menu is as important as the food itself
You cannot just cook anything for everyone and expect to get everyone excited.
Take a day or 2, sometimes a week and draw out an exciting menu for the number of people that you are hoping to serve. Look through recipes online, cookbooks and ask family or friends for ideas to help you in creating a fantastic menu.
Make options that fit various dietary needs so you do not have half of your guest happy and the other half regretful. Make sure to include some drinks, accompaniments and sauces to go with your BBQ.
Make provision for good music
There is something about having good music playing in the background while you party with your friends. Do not ignore this aspect. Choose a selection that boosts parties and get your speakers and player ready for this.
Do not go with loud music, be considerate with the volume. The focus is to have something playing the background, and not an overpowering noisy sound. You might be busy handling food or guests on the day, simply assign this role to someone else.
Prep up your food and set up the night before
The barbecue day is going to be a fun but overwhelming day, so you want to make enough time to be able to cover everything. Prep your foods and drinks the night before. Tuck them in the refrigerator for the next day.
You should also arrange table, chairs, canopies etc the night before so that the next day, all you will have to do will be to wipe away dust from the chairs and tables. This will take no time to do.
You can get the kids involved in this process, if you have some. They will love to help!
Make provision for entertainment activities
A BBQ party is not all about eating, it is a moment when loved ones come together to share happy times over great food. So, to boost this happy time, you will need some entertaining activities like games, riddles etc to get everyone engaged in the party.
A good way to not spend extra money on getting some entertainment items can be to ask your guest to come along with some games and extras. This way you can have your mind focused on the food and the management of the party.
Don’t open the hood or door when cooking
Simple, do not do this! Do not interrupt the cooking process for at least the next 1 hour 30 minutes, otherwise, you will let out a good amount of heat and your food’s proper doneness will be interrupted.
You may end up with bad food after all the stress of cooking.
Make provision to distract kids from disturbing
As part of your entertainment preps, plan some good activities for kids to get them not to disturb the adults while the party is in progress. Kids are drawn to kids. Create a designated and safe playing area for them to play games, run around freely and just do what they love to do, PLAY!
You can also have a designated eating area for older children, about 4 years and above, to eat when it’s time for the food. Meanwhile, you and the adults around will have to keep a constant eye on them because as you know, kids can be overly explorative.
Get help through and through
Organising a BBQ can be very tiring and time consuming, so we urge that you do not this all by yourself. Ask for help from friends, loved ones etc so that you are not all by yourself on this project.
You can designate various aspects to different people like music handling, emceeing, handling kids, cleaning up afterwards etc. This will give you a lot of control over the party as you are the overall manager of the success of it.
Make sure to have fun by all means
Many at times, the organizer of the party usually finds himself or herself drained through the process and misses out on the fun part.
Avoid this for this was not why you planned the party in the first place. Follow the above tips and make sure that once the party starts, you are very involved in the fun that is shared. Have someone help out with the food if you will be stressed handling it, and have fun!!
On the other hand, everyone came for the party because of you so you ought to be that power booster in the center cheering everyone on. You can only do this by having fun yourself.
OUR BEST WISHES FOR YOU
Having learned how to barbecue from these broken down steps, we believe you are on your way to becoming a pitmaster and a loved one to many.
We encourage you to practice as many times as you can, and in no time you’ll be great on this game to wow everybody that tries your food.
Remember to be safe when barbecuing, and ensure to use the right tools.
We will like to hear from you on how well you did, reach out to us through our contact page.