What You Need to Know Before You BBQ

With the days getting longer and the warmer weather setting in, many people are starting to plan their evening and weekend activities to take place outdoors. And as summer approaches, the outdoors are bound to offer even more – whether it's perfect weather in your backyard, or beautifully clear scenery atop the nearest hiking hills.

However, while the spring and summer months – and the warmer weather that comes with them – may have many of us washing we could take off on extended holidays or weekly mini-breaks, jobs and daily responsibilities await. So when you can not take off on a holiday, why not take advantage of the splendid weather by continuing to plan outdoor activities – even if it's just reading a book or eating outside as the sun sets.

One of the best ways to take advantage of the great spring and summertime weather is to hold outdoor BBQs. And because they do not require a lot of fuss, you can have one after work on weekdays, or during weekends. All you need is a BBQ (along with some gas or coal), something to cook, and a little know how!

Indeed, meals are always better when the chef knows a bit about how to prepare the food. But, of course, there are many ways to cook in such a manner and many different things you can prepare – from ribs and steak to vegetables and even fruit! So you might want to start off with a few simple recipes, and expand your knowledge from there.

A lot of great barbeques start with a great marinade. So depending on the type of meat or vegetables you plan to cook, you'll want to buy – or prepare from scratch – a complimentary marinade. It's easy to find recipes online or in recipe books; but keep in mind that some recipes require you to marinade for a few hours, while others ask that you marinade for a few days! So you'll want to pick your recipe based not only on what you're planning to cook, but how much time you have to marinade.

Another tip to keep in mind is that there is a difference between barbequing and grilling. Many people grill on their BBQs, which also produces a tasty effect; but this often takes a lot more time, at a lower temperature. For example, beef ribs should be cooked at a low temperature for a long enough time – about 6 to 7 hours – to render the fat and tenderize the meat. However, chicken does not take as long – about 4 to 6 hours – depending on the size of the cuts.

One more thing to consider is that different types of charcoal, gas and wood will give you different taste results. For example, while many may prefer the simplicity and cleanliness of gas barbeques, others prefer the smoky flavor they can achieve by using charcoal. However, you can always get similar results with gas by using wood chips in a foil packet while cooking; therefore, it's worth experimenting with gas, charcoal and wood as you expand your knowledge to extremely develop your own cooking style.

Finally, it is important to remember that many BBQs offer a range of features and accessories. So before you purchase one, ensure you know exactly what it comes with, that way you'll know what types of tools you will have to work with.

Source of What You Need to Know Before You BBQ by Paul Mcindoe – author of What You Need to Know Before You BBQ article

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