• Toby Kramer

HOW TO HOST THE ULTIMATE SUMMER BBQ

Summer is finally here, and if you’ve not yet dusted off your BBQ, now’s the time to do so. Hosting a barbecue is a great way to entice customers – new and old – to your restaurant. Not only can they turn an ordinary piece of food into something full of flavour, but they are also family-friendly, fun, and pretty simple to pull off.




BBQ IDEAS FOR CHEFS


No matter your level of expertise in the kitchen, hosting a summer BBQ is always a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening with friends and family. If you’re planning on firing up the grill this summer, here are some tips to help you make it the ultimate BBQ experience.


If you have a local butcher, try and strike up a deal for the BBQ – people love to eat local. If not, ask your supplier for their best BBQ cuts. How you cook it (hot and fast or low and slow) will also be essential when buying your meat. The same goes for the fish, salad and vegetables, too – if you can, go local.


For the perfect burger, it’s all about the meat. Use ground beef that is 80/20 or 85/15 fat content for the juiciest, most flavorful burger. Season the burgers with a bit of salt and pepper before grilling, and be sure to cook them over medium-high heat, so they get nice and seared on the outside while staying juicy on the inside.


BBQs are all about big flavours. This comes from the smoke and embers ( especially from a charcoal grill), but you can’t go wrong with a good marinade or rub. Marinades not only add flavour but also tenderise the meat. Some contain acid, which helps break down the tougher proteins – the longer you leave the meat marinating, the more tender it will become. Rubs will add direct flavour to the outside of your meat and can create a delicious crust as you cook, keeping the inside moist and juicy. The same method can be applied to fish, but the marinades and rubs will often be more delicate so as not to overpower the fish.


Hot dogs are a summer barbeque staple, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring. A better way is to give your customers some options by offering a variety of toppings, such as sauerkraut, onions, relish, and mustard. You can also get creative with the buns – try using pretzel buns or slider buns for a fun twist.


No barbecue is complete without some delicious sides. Potato salad, coleslaw, and baked beans are always crowd-pleasers. Try grilling some fruit or vegetables as a side dish for something a little different. Peaches, nectarines, and corn on the cob are all great choices.


And, of course, no perfect summer barbecue is complete without some refreshing drinks. Have plenty of cold water and lemonade on hand to keep everyone hydrated. For the adults, consider adding some sangria or beer to the offer.



HOSTING A SUCCESSFUL BBQ


1. Choose the right menu.

Decide what type of food you want to serve at your BBQ. Will it be all burgers and hot dogs, or will you include chicken, ribs, seafood, and vegetarian options? Make sure to have a variety of salads and sides, and don’t forget dessert!


2. Plan ahead.

Barbecues can take longer than you think. Make sure to start early so that everything will be ready on time.


3. Set the mood.

Create a fun and relaxed atmosphere at your BBQ by playing music and providing activities for kids.


4. Keep it safe.

Food safety is essential when you’re handling raw meat. Follow all the necessary precautions, such as keeping food refrigerated before cooking and washing your hands often.


As the summer sun creeps in and the days get longer, there’s only one thing on everyone’s mind: BBQ season! There’s nothing like gathering around a smoky grill, enjoying some delicious food and good company. But if you’re going to be the host of the ultimate summer BBQ, you should keep a few things in mind.


First, you’ll want to make sure you have the right equipment. A good grill is essential, as is a set of tongs and other basic tools. You’ll also want to make sure you have enough propane or charcoal to get the job done.


Next, you’ll want to choose the perfect location with plenty of room for everyone to move around and enjoy themselves.



6 TIPS FOR A PERFECT BBQ


1. Get a good grill.

This is important because you need a grill to cook the food evenly.


2. Make sure you have all the necessary supplies.

This includes things like charcoal, lighter fluid, and matches.


3. Choose your menu carefully.

Make sure to include items that everyone will enjoy.


4. Preheat the grill before cooking.

This will help ensure that the food is cooked correctly.


5. Cook the food evenly.

This means flipping it regularly and making sure that it doesn’t burn.


6. Serve the food hot off the grill.

This is the best way to enjoy BBQ!



9 BBQ MISTAKES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM


1. Not prepping your grill

If you don’t clean and oil your grill before cooking, you’re in for a nasty surprise. Food will stick to the grates, making it hard to flip burgers or turn chicken. Worse yet, bits of food will get stuck in the crevices of the grates and start to smoke, making your food taste bitter. Clean your grill with a wire brush before cooking, and oil the grates with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil to avoid all of this.


2. Not using enough charcoal

Using too little charcoal is one of the most common mistakes people make when grilling. If you don’t have enough coals, your food will cook too slowly and unevenly. It’s essential to use enough charcoal to cover the entire bottom of the grill and extend up the sides. It would be best if you also made sure that the coals were evenly distributed so that they cook food evenly.


3. Putting meat on the grill before it’s ready

This is a mistake that can ruin your entire meal. If you put meat on the grill before it’s properly prepped, you’ll have dry, overcooked food. Make sure to pat your meat dry with a paper towel and season it generously with salt and pepper before putting it on the grill.


4. Flipping meat too often

Flipping meat too often is another common grilling mistake. If you flip your meat too much, it will dry out and become overcooked. Allow the meat to cook for a few minutes on each side before flipping it.


5. Not using a chimney starter

If you’re not using a chimney starter to light your charcoal, you’re making life much harder than it needs to be. Chimney starters make it easy to get your charcoal lit and evenly distributed. Fill the chamber with coals, place it on the grates, and light the newspaper at the bottom. The coals will be ready to use in about 15 minutes.


6. Not letting the grill heat up

If you put food on the grill before it’s properly heated, you’ll have a hard time getting it cooked evenly. The grill needs to be hot enough so that the food sears when it’s placed on the grates. Place your hand an inch or two above the grates; if you can’t hold it for more than a few seconds, the grill is ready to go.


7. Not using a thermometer

Cooking meat without using a thermometer is asking for trouble. Meat needs to be cooked to the proper temperature to be safe to eat and ensure that it’s properly cooked through. Use a digital thermometer to check the internal temperature of your meat before taking it off the grill.


8. Not letting the meat rest

Once you’ve taken your meat off the grill, it’s essential to let it rest for a few minutes before cutting into it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it juicier and more flavorful. Place the meat on a plate or cutting board and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it.


9. Not cleaning the grill

Cleaning the grill is arguably the most crucial step in grilling. If you don’t clean your grill after cooking, food will get stuck to the grates and start to smoke. This will make your food taste bad, but it can also be a fire hazard. To give a good clean, wait until it’s cool and then scrape the grates with a wire brush.




TYPES OF BBQ COOKING


There are three main ways to cook food on a BBQ: direct grilling, indirect grilling, and smoking.


Direct grilling is the most common way of cooking on a BBQ. It involves cooking the food directly over the heat source. This method is best for quick cooking, such as burgers or hot dogs.


Indirect grilling involves cooking the food indirectly by placing it to the side of the heat source. This method is best for slower cooking, such as roasting a chicken.


Smoking is a method of indirect grilling where the food is placed in a smoker box over the heat source. This method is best for slow cooking, such as ribs or brisket.


When grilling, it’s essential to use the correct type of fuel. Charcoal is the most common type of fuel used for BBQs. It’s vital to choose good quality charcoal, such as lump wood charcoal, which burns hot and evenly.


Wood chips can also be used as a fuel source for smoking. They can be soaked in water for 30 minutes before being added to the smoker box. This will help to create a more intense smoke flavour.


If you’re a keen BBQ chef, you’ll know that cooking on top of the grill is just one technique. Those who are more experienced will know that certain hard vegetables cook brilliantly buried in the coals or wood. Think sweet potato, butternut squash, beetroot, carrots and celeriac. It would help if you wrapped them in tin foil with some seasoning, maybe a dash of oil, whole garlic cloves and fresh herbs, and left them to cook in the smoke. The technique will genuinely transform your vegetable game, and you can then either finish them on the top or serve them as they are.




UNUSUAL FOODS TO BBQ


Why limit yourself to the usual burgers and hot dogs? There are so many other delicious serving options that are perfect for bbqing! Here is a list of some unusual but DELICIOUS bbq ideas:


Fruit: pineapple, watermelon, mango, grapefruit


Vegetables: corn on the cob, asparagus, portobello mushrooms, artichokes


Seafood: shrimp, lobster, scallops


Other proteins: tofu, tempeh, seitan


Breads: naan, flatbreads, pitas


BEST SIDE DISHES FOR BARBECUE


When it comes to summer barbecues, the focus is often on the main event: the grilled meat. But what about serving side dishes? While burgers and hot dogs are delicious, they’re even better when paired with the perfect sides.


– Potato salad: A barbecue classic, potato salad is the perfect side dish for grilled meats. It’s creamy, flavourful, and can be made in advance.


– Macaroni salad: Another dish to offer guests is macaroni salad is a great option if you’re looking for something a little different. It’s also easy to make ahead of time.


– Coleslaw: A simple coleslaw is a perfect way to add some crunch and brightness to your bbq spread.


– Pasta salad: Pasta salad is always a crowd-pleaser, and there are endless ways to make it. Try adding in some grilled vegetables or using a different type of pasta for something unique.


– Fruit salad: A fruit salad is a refreshing and healthy option for your bbq spread. It’s also perfect for satisfying any sweet tooth!


– Vegetable skewers: Grilled vegetables are a delicious and healthy option for your bbq. Skewer them up with some of your favourite veggies, and brush with olive oil or sauce before grilling.


– Baked beans: Baked beans are a bbq staple for a reason! They’re hearty, flavorful, and can be made ahead of time.


– Corn on the cob: Grilled corn is a summertime favourite, and it’s so easy to make. Brush with some butter or oil, and grill for a few minutes until tender.


– Deviled eggs: Deviled eggs are always a hit at parties, and they’re perfect for a bbq. Make them ahead of time, and garnish them.




IDEAS FOR A THEMED BBQ


If you want to add extra excitement to your summer BBQ, why not try out a family-themed party? Here are some great ideas to get you started:


– Hawaiian Luau: Transform your outdoor space into a tropical paradise with tiki torches, palm trees, and Hawaiian-themed decorations. Serve some delicious island fare like grilled pineapple, kalua pork, and poi. And don’t forget the Mai Tais!


– All-American BBQ: Go classic with your summer BBQ and serve up some American favourites like hot dogs, hamburgers, and potato salad. Decorate with red, white, and blue and don’t forget to play some patriotic tunes! Hamburgers, hot dogs, and potato salad. Add patriotic decorations like flags and red, white, and blue tablecloths.


– Mexican Fiesta: Spice up your summer BBQ with a Mexican fiesta! Serve traditional favourites like tacos, burritos, chips and salsa. Decorate with colourful papel picado banners, and don’t forget the margaritas!


ACTIVITIES FOR A BARBECUE PARTY


– Choose games that everyone can enjoy. Volleyball, frisbee, and water balloon toss are always classics.


– Create a summertime playlist to set the mood.


– Decorate with streamers, balloons, citronella candles, and outdoor lighting to create a festive atmosphere.

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