Some of the most commonly asked BBQ related questions answered.
How do I light a charcoal barbecue?
Depending or not if you have a starter chimney there are a couple of ways. Firstly, and most simply, fill a charcoal starter chimney and place over a couple of lit firelighters. Tip the contents in to a prepared barbecue when the coals on the top have a grey ash covering. The second method is to place a couple of firelighters on the grate and place charcoal over the top. When the charcoal is covered with grey ash put the cooking grill on and begin cooking. For more on lighting your charcoal, including a couple of videos, take a look at the bbq lighting guide.
Do I need to cook my food before putting it on the barbecue?
In short, no. By ensuring that your charcoal is up to temperature and by using the right cooking techniques there is no need to pre-cook food before putting it on the barbecue. Depending on what you are going to cook you will need to select the most appropriate cooking technique to cook you bbq properly.
When I put the lid on my kettle barbecue it doesn't cook properly, why?
When cooking with a kettle barbecue you will need the vents to be open. And usually you will have them open completely. The exceptions to this are if you are cooking low and slow or if something causes a flare up and you want to surpress the flames. The flare up is usually caused by some fat dripping on to hot coals. First put the lid on with the top vent closed to stop the flames, leave it there for 30 seconds and check it. If the flame has been surpressed move what ever dripped away from the charcoal if you can. Turning it will also help if you can't take it away.
How do I cook larger pieces of meat on a barbecue?
If you want to cook a piece of beef, lamb, pork a whole chicken or other larger joints you can use a kettle barbecue with the lid on to achieve that. The in direct cooking technique will provide you with enough heat to be able to cook for longer periods and cook your meat just right, for beef or lamb, or right through for meats that require cooking right through.
Can I add more charcoal to my barbecue?
Yes, you can. Adding more charcoal lets you cook in your barbecue for longer when you need to for a large piece of meat or when you have a lot of pwople to cook for. You will need to either fire up your starter chminey, if you have one, and follow the usually method for using it. Alternatively remove any food that is cooking and add as much additional charcoal as you require. Wait for this charcoal to start burning and only start cooking again when all of the charcoal is covered in grey ash.
Should I cook the most expensive meat I can afford?
The best meat for barbecue will have some fat in it. The best kind of fat to have in meat is known as marbling. Try taking a look at the Simple-BBQ meat buyers guide to find out more about the types of meat that make great bbq and how to select it.