How You’re BBQ-ing Wrong

Jonny Farrell, Head Butcher of Jimmy’s Farm

Ever since being a toddler I’ve loved BBQs. The ritual of it all – Dad getting the coals lit whilst I’m indoors skewering different veg and meat. The trouble is we Brits don’t seem to be that good at it… or at least that’s what the rest of the world might like to think! One time whilst living in Hong Kong I was invited to a BBQ with a bunch of friends, I started off at the coals only to be completely relegated by an Argentinian friend!

BBQ-ing brings out the hunter-gatherer ancestral past in us, staring at chunks of meat slowly cooking through. On an evolutionary level it was the first method of cooking we learnt. More diverse ways of cooking came a lot later but even though it runs through our DNA it’s a tricky thing to get right.

Here’s a few tricks I’ve learnt in order to make you look like lord of the flames:
  • Space – A common mistake when BBQ-ing is to throw on all the coals at once and then either use fire starters or a million and one of those small bricks. A) This takes ages to burn properly and B) Once it is lit, the whole BBQ will have one temperature. It’s much better to have one side lit and leave the other without the coals. That way you can switch between scorching and warm, giving you a lot more control, just like using your oven.
  • Time – Resting meat is super important. I bang on and on about this to all my customers but make sure to rest before and after cooking. I always take my steak off half way through cooking to let it sit and relax a little before finishing off.
  • Tools – There’s so many gadgets out there that claim to aid in the perfect BBQ. The best ones are the most simple. All you really need are a good pair of long tongs, a spatula and a knife.
  • Baste – If you want to get even fancier, get yourself a saucepan – one that you don’t mind getting a little sooty. Add a block of salted butter, a good glug of olive oil and throw in some garlic. Then place at the cooler side of the BBQ. Make up a bouquet of herbs and use that as a brush to baste the meat as it cooks. Looks amazing and adds a lot of flavour. Just be mindful of extra flames.

A great little bonus tip: grab a lemon (even the old ones at the bottom of your fridge that didn’t make the cocktail cut), slice in half and once the grill is nice and hot, rub one half along the grill. It helps degrease and get you ready for cooking. Then use the other half after cooking!