As Britain’s weather is on the upturn, there’s no doubt that you’ve been catching the scent of fires and sizzling burgers all around the neighbourhood – us Brits do love a good BBQ! With people stuck at home last year, the UK saw 100 million BBQs being lit between April and August, and since having friends and family round is set to become a staple in our lives again, there’s never been a better time to fire up the grill and get everyone round.
Hosting your own BBQ can be quite intimidating, but you have nothing to fear this summer! We’ve put together this beginner’s guide that will cover all the steps you’ll need for a successful BBQ, whether you have a gas grill or a charcoal one. So, bring in the drinks and get set for a scorcher.
To prepare a gas BBQ, you’ll need to locate the gas supply hose and regulator. Gas BBQs tend to be fuelled from portable propane tanks, so thread the regulator from your BBQ onto the tanks valve (make sure this is aligned properly and that you don’t over tighten it), then open the valve all the way.
This is a generic guide, always check the instructions that come with your BBQ before you get started.
See this video by Which? for more guidance.
When you’re loading charcoal into your BBQ, remember that less is more. You probably won’t need as much as you want to put on, so use less than you think you’ll need to avoid overflow and excess smoke – you can always put more on later. Add a couple of balls of newspaper or something similar so you are able to light it.
There is likely to be some smoke at this stage, so keep kids and pets away, but it will die down in a few minutes as your BBQ gets going.
See this video by BBC Good Food for more guidance
There are a few ways to put your charcoal BBQ out. You can:
Putting your BBQ out with water should only be done when the coals have cooled down because it could crack your grill or cause burning steam if they are still warm. Always let the coals cool down completely after putting them out before moving the BBQ or disposing of the ash, which can be put in a general waste bin. Ash from your BBQ shouldn’t be harmful to most plants, so you can also use the remains for compost if you wish.
Keeping and preparing food properly is important for health and safety, so make sure that you keep raw and cooked foods separate, that food is evenly cooked by flipping often and that food is cooked on the inside as well as the outside. You can cut food open to check this or use a meat thermometer – here are the temperatures your meat should be at when cooked.
Misusing a BBQ or not putting it out properly can be very dangerous, often resulting in house fires or wildfires and also the harm of wildlife. There were 236 BBQ related fires between 2019-2020 in the UKK, so make sure you remember the following dangers when setting up your BBQ and take the right steps to avoid them.
Now you know the basics of lighting and maintaining a BBQ, all it takes is practice! Once you’ve got the hang of cooking the basic BBQ foods, you can move on to any of your favourites – most food can be cooked on a BBQ – and very soon you’ll be a master of the grill. Just remember to check the temperature of the food before serving and to look after your BBQ in between cooking and you’ll be hosting garden parties throughout summer with ease, all you’ll need to do is make sure you have enough garden benches, chairs and tables to seat your family and friends.
You can never have too much knowledge. So if you want to raise your BBQ IQ, check out this nifty guide to outdoor cooking from Big K Charcoal. We’re sure it will help level up your grill skills in no time. Do you have any tips about barbequing for beginners? Let us know in the comments below!
Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches – a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.