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Three simple barbecues

This is the quick guide to barbecuing three different meals. These three simple, enjoyable barbecues use the same techniques required for all barbecues. You are going to produce some great BBQ to share but don't be tempted to cook for large numbers of people straight away. Practice these and you will have the building blocks to cook whatever you want. As you practice you will begin to understand what is happening inside your barbecue. As you develop that sense then invite a couple of extra people to join you.

Lesson 1 - Sausages

Why sausages first. Well it's simple. They are cheap, forgiving on the grill and tasty!

Light some charcoal in a starter chimney the amount will be determined by how much you are going to cook. To find out more about this there is a guide to lighting your barbecue. If you are going to cook a packet of sausages for upto four people 1/2 a chimney of lumpwood or a 1/3 of briquettes will be enough. Your charcoal is ready when there is a light grey covering of ash over all of the charcoal.

After cleaning the barbecue arrange the charcoal retainers to hold your charcoal in the centre of the barbecue. You can read more about the grilling technique. This will help you understand how you will be cooking your food. In this kettle grill the charcoal retainers are approximately 1/3 from the sides to give three equal areas. If you don't have charcoal retainers you will place the hot charcoal in the centre of the barbecue using a metal poker to drag any hot charcoal that breaks loose.

If you are not using a starter chimney place three pieces of firelighter on the charcoal grate. Pile some charcoal over the firelighters evenly. By placing the firelighters on the charcoal grate you will give yourself room to get the firelighters lit and the charcoal will soon get going. It is difficult to advise the amount of charcoal to use as everyone will have different ways to measure. There are some pictures to help visualise it below. If you feel you want to use more do so, you will learn how much you need depending on what you are cooking. Let the firelighters burn through and the charcoal will take. Initially it may be smoky and don't be tempted to do anything until the charcoal has a grey ash covering all over.

With the charcoal hot and ready to cook place the cooking grill on the barbecue. After a minute any residuals from previous barbecues will begin to burn. Use a wire brush to clean the grill as necessary. If you are using a gas grill you can turn the centre or rear burner to maximum, you will cook either side of the burner where it is a little cooler.

Place the sausages on to the grill in a circular fashion with the longest side facing the heat. The sausages should be place on the grill just to the side of the charcoal so there is no charcoal directly beneath the sausages. This is going to cook your sausage and not burn them. Leave your sausages to cook. Give them 4-5 minutes before turning them. When you turn them pick the sausage up with tongs, rotate your wrist and replace the sausage on the same part of the grill. By turning them through 90° and always clockwise you will know which side has been cooked. After a further 4-5 minutes repeat and so on until your sausages have been cooked on four sides. If your sausages are cooked enjoy them, you deserve it. If your sausages don't look cooked turn them to the side that shows least colour. It maybe that you turn them more or less than 90° now. Your sausages should not take more than 25 to 30 minutes. The slower you cook them and the more times you turn them the more evenly your sausages will cook and the more tender and juicy they will be.

That's it. That's all there is to it. If this is the first barbecue you have ever had then well done and don't leave it so long next time.

Here's a video to recap and to show how you can delay your barbecue if you need some time.

When you feel you have mastered this move on to lesson two, steaks.

Simple BBQ 1, 2, 3

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