Tips for a Safe + Delicious Christmas BBQ

Christmas BBQ

Don’t you just love a good ol’ Christmas BBQ? We do too – and since Christmas is just over a week away, we thought it was about time we shared some BBQ tips with you!

Oil the Grill

Regardless of how clean your grill is, meat can stick when it is placed directly on the BBQ rack. To prevent your meat from sticking, consider oiling your grill before you heat it up. To do this, simply soak a paper towel with vegetable oil and rub it over the rack (once again, make sure you do this before you heat it up!). Alternatively, rub your meat with a little oil before you place it on the grill. Tip: Never use spray oil on a BBQ! Not if you want to keep your eyebrows, anyway…

Heat it up!

If you want to achieve perfect sear and delicious BBQ flavour, you need to make sure that your BBQ is hot before you start cooking your meat. You should preheat your grill about 25 minutes before you start cooking – this will make sure that it reaches the right cooking temperature and also ensure that any bacteria on the BBQ surface is killed. A perfectly heated grill sears food on contact, improves flavour (through caramelisation), keeps the insides of the meat moist and helps to prevent the meat from sticking.

Not sure if the BBQ is low, medium or high?

Perform the hand test! To gauge the temperature of a grill without a thermometer, place your open palm about 5 inches above the grill rack (be careful) – the heat is high if you have to move your hand in 2 seconds, medium if you have to move your hand in 5 seconds and low if you have to move your hand in 10 seconds.

Tame the flames!

Flames occur when fat drips onto the heat source and catches fire. Flames can change meat flavour and cause it to cook unevenly. To reduce flames, select lean cuts of meat, trim excess fat and remove any poultry skin. Also, keep a squirt bottle of water near the grill to quickly put out any unexpected flare-ups!

Do right by the meat!

Take your meat out of the fridge about 1 hour before cooking, as meat tastes best when it is cooked from room temperature. When it comes to placing your meat on the grill, don’t overcrowd the cooking surface, as this will cause uneven heat distribution. You should leave at least 2 cm between pieces of meat. When cooking, try not to turn your meat too frequently – for the best flavour and a caramelised seal, you should only turn the meat once. Also, don’t prod the meat or pierce it with a fork, as this will cause it to dry out and lose flavour. When turning your meat, always use tongs.

The best way to know if your meat is ready is to check its internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer (temperatures: rare – 55-60ºC, medium rare – 60-65ºC, medium – 65-70ºC, medium well – 70-75ºC, well done – 75ºC).

Let the meat rest

Once you have taken the meat off the BBQ, you need to let it rest. Place it on a clean platter, tented with foil, and leave for about 10 minutes. Resting the meat allows the muscle fibres to relax and the meat juices to redistribute evenly, which makes for much juicier, tender and more flavoursome meat!

Don’t forget about meat safety

We know it’s a lovely day and the beers are flowing, but that’s not an excuse to forget about meat safety! When cooking meat, keep the basic food safety guidelines in mind – i.e. avoid cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards, always put your cooked food on a clean plate or chopping board and never add a marinade that was used for raw meat to cooked meat. For more meat safety tips, see Tips for Handling, Storing and Preparing Beef Safely.

Now you have your BBQ tips, you need a delicious BBQ recipe to show off your skills! Check out this Barbequed Beef Standing Rib Roast.