Welcome back to our definitive list of the Top 11 Most Common Barbecuing Mistakes. Recently we looked at mistakes made during the prep stage of barbecuing. This week we’ll look at the cooking stage:
5. This BBQ is too hot; this BBQ is too cold: Too much heat and you may burn the outside of your meat while leaving the inside raw. Too little and you’ll either undercook it, or cook it for so long that it will lose all of its moisture. It’s a fine line, but experience and advice will help you walk it.
6. Adding sauces too early: Sauces are great for changing up the way your barbecued dishes taste and adding some “punch”. But most of them contain sugar, which will cook – and burn – much faster than your meat. Basting later in the cooking will ensure you avoid this.
7. Overcooking & undercooking: Most of us have had the very real dangers of infection due to undercooked meat drilled into us. To compensate, we often cook the meat until it resembles something that was ejected from a volcano. There is a middle ground that can be found with experience and a meat thermometer.
8. Assuming what is good for the goose is good for the gander: I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen a barbecue chef throw their chicken wings on the same plate as their steaks, just alongside their pork sausages. These are all very different meats that require different cooking temperatures for different periods of time.
9. Testing the “doneness” of your meat with a big ol’ knife: When cooking meat, what you’re effectively doing is sealing the surface and trapping all of those delicious juices and flavours inside. When you cut it open to see if it’s done, you release all that good stuff (some estimates say by up to 50%). Instead of this, learn how to do a touch test or use a meat thermometer.
10. Failing to allow your meat to rest: As much as your mouth may be watering, resist the temptation to transfer the meat directly from the hot plate to the dinner table. Instead, wrap it loosely in some foil and leave it to rest. This resting time cooks the meat in a delicate way that seals in the flavours and makes it tender.
11. Having a barbie party too soon: So you’ve read all of the above, you’ve learnt from everyone else’s mistakes and are confident that you’ll never make any of them yourself. As such, you invite the whole neighbourhood around for a barbie. Mistake number 11. While I hope the above helps you to be a better BBQ chef, there is no substitute for hands-on experience. So give yourself a couple of practice sessions before you invite the friends over…or they may never come back!
What do you think? Have you made any of the above mistakes? Do you know of any other common barbecuing mistakes?