Barbecue: 10 common mistakes to avoid

The sun and the heat make you want to cook on the barbecue? See if any of your habits should be avoided to cook tasty meals on the grill.

1. Neglecting food quality

It’s no secret that food choice plays a decisive role in a successful barbecue. Let’s take the example of the steak: it is better to choose a piece with a high content of marbling (veins of fat) to optimize the taste and a thick cut to facilitate cooking. The quality also applies to fish, vegetables or other food that you want to grill.

2. Don’t give marinades

Marinating your food consists of macerating it before cooking to make it more tender and tastier. This is an important step, but one that takes some time: it takes about 1 hour for seafood and vegetables, at least 2 hours for pork and poultry, and at least 3 hours for red meat. If you’re in a rush, salt and pepper on both sides!

3. Take the meat out of the fridge at the last minute

During their tests, our colleagues from That, in the UK, have found that if your meat arrives cold on the grill, it will take longer to cook on the outside and may remain lukewarm on the inside. It is therefore better to take it out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking, and even up to 1 hour in the case of steaks. When the meat is brought back to room temperature, it will burn less quickly and cook faster.

4. Forgot to preheat your barbecue

Placing your food on a cold grill will not allow you to get the smoky flavor and characteristic features of barbecuing. Not to mention that the food can stick to the grate, making cleaning more difficult. Preheating your gas barbecue takes no more than ten minutes and saves you a lot of inconvenience.

5. Cook food at too high a temperature

Despite what some TV shows may suggest, a hot, flaming grill is not the best cooking technique. You’ll soon notice this if you see your food charred on the outside and still raw in the middle…According to Thatyou need to install two zones on your barbecue: sear your food on the hottest and then transfer it to the moderate temperature to cook it gently.

6. Keep the lid open

This is probably one of the most common mistakes. Stéphane Langlois, sales manager at Broil King, explains that the air must circulate in the head of the barbecue to produce thermal convection. If you keep the lid open, the heat will go up, not down, and you’ll really dry out your food. Therefore, for juicy food and quick cooking, it is strongly recommended to keep the lid closed.

7. Cook all food the same way

“You can cook anything on the barbecue,” says Stéphane Langlois. Provided that the preparation is adapted to the food in question: for example, whitefish is cooked indirectly, without placing it directly on the fire. Some accessories can make your life easier, such as a wok for vegetables, a porcelain stone for pizzas or possibly a thermometer for meat.

8. Handle too much meat

It’s tempting to mimic the chefs on TV by smashing burgers with a spatula. Not only will you probably not get the nice cooking streaks you expect, but the juice will escape, which will inevitably lead to a loss of flavor. It is recommended to leave your pieces of meat alone by turning them over twice. Remember to let them rest for five minutes before serving so that the juice, which concentrates in the center during cooking, can spread throughout the rest of the piece of meat.

9. Not Maintaining Your Grills

If you are not careful with your porcelain or cast iron grates, they will undoubtedly rust with use, especially if you use your barbecue a lot. To preserve their appearance, coating them with vegetable oil as often as possible is recommended, says Stéphane Langlois, who says it’s less necessary when they’re made of stainless steel.

10. Don’t clean your barbecue every time you use it

Systematic cleaning of your barbecue is essential to prolong its life, as well as to prepare tastier and healthier food, free of old charred residues clinging to the grill. It is preferable to use a brush rather than a scraper, which can damage the protective finish. Please note that cleaning can be done immediately after cooking or just before re-use. The main thing is to do it!

>> Consult our barbecue test and our article on its maintenance.

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