There is a lot to learn but it doesn't have to be difficult. KISS, remember, Keep It Simple Stupid. KISS applies to my way of cooking and that is how it always works. If it is complex you won't feel comfortable leaving your barbecue to do what it needs to do and you'll fuss or worry when you should be doing something else. You will be confused, your fellow diners will worry and you will run the risk of ruining your BBQ because you will be running off to re-read these pages. You don't want that and I don't want that.
So, maybe it will be a little wordy at times but all the techniques described here will let you become self sufficient as quickly as possible. Some techniques will require more work. Let's be clear here, Low and Slow is not the place to start. Cut your teeth with grilling, move on to hot roasting and when those techniques become second nature, then is the time to start thinking about Low and Slow.
Let us also be honest. It's just you and me now. Things are going to go wrong. It is a fact. Something is going to burn, or maybe the opposite. But we can be as prepared for that by keeping an eye on what is going on, hopefully begin to develop an understanding of what is happening inside the barbecue and the ways in which you can deal with that. The techniques will soon become second nature and then you will turn out great BBQ, time and again.
The next few pages are going to help get you started. There are pages to help you get the charcoal lit, cooking techniques and as a little aside a guide to smoking food. Smoking in the senses of Low and Slow, cold smoking (think smoked salmon) and hot smoking (think sausage and mackerel).
These are your building blocks. Refer to these pages as often as you need, you will soon start to become independent and you won't need them other than the occasional point of reference. You can always come back. All of the recipes will be based on the techniques described here. The amount of charcoal you need to light might vary, the way you set the barbecue up might change and the time it will take to cook will certainly vary. But the same few methods will stand you in good stead for the rest of your barbecue lifetime.
After you've decided what you are going to cook you will know the technique you will use to achieve that. There are three methods really, four if you include rotisserie.
- Grilling for sausage, steaks and chops
- Hot Roasting for chicken, pork loin and other large pieces of meat
- Low and Slow will produce very large pieces of meat, notably a pulled pork shoulder or a lamb shoulder, for a group of hungry carnivores.
- Hot Smoking suits lots of foods and not just ubiquitous salmon. Hot smoking cooks too so try prawns or duck.
One other way of cooking or curing food is to smoke it. Many people will enjoy cold smoked salmon and hot smoked food is delicious too and ready surprisingly quickly. Smoking food produces irresistibly moist, well flavoured food and I really enjoy doing it. Whilst strictly not barbecuing I realise, I particularly enjoy this food too and I would like to share with you how I do it. Maybe you will be inspired too.