Don’t hurry things. Count on waiting at least half an hour before you can start barbecuing. Wait until the coals are ash grey, when the heat is at its strongest and cleanest. Hold your hand above the barbecue grate. If you can keep it there for 1-2 seconds the heat is just right for portion-sized bits like skewers, hamburgers and thin fillets of fish, meat and fowl. If you can keep your hand there for 3-4 seconds you can cook big pieces of meat, whole chickens and whole salmon fillets with the lid on and the grate at the bottom open.
Marinating can take your barbecuing to new heights. Try chef Jonas Borssén’s recipe:
Juice and grated rind of a rinsed lemon
0.5 dl olive oil
6 large cloves of garlic
1 tsp of salt
1 fresh Spanish pepper with seeds and membranes
5 dl chopped parsley
Mix with a hand blender to a smooth consistency and marinate
Timing is everything
Naturally the cooking time will vary according to the food. Chicken and pork shouldn’t have any redness left when you eat them, while beef should preferably be slightly pink.
Also let the thickness of the food decide. Ordinary portions of meat and fish usually take 2-4 minutes per side over strong heat.
Use the lid
If you have a kettle barbecue, use the lid to regulate the heat and smother any flames.
Bring out the flavour
Chef Mathias Herlev Hansson’s top tip is to use various kinds of wood shavings for barbecuing. They provide extra smoky flavours. They are available in shops, but you can also make shavings yourself, using wood from fruit trees for example. Soak the shavings in water before use.
Try new recipes
Next time you get the barbecue out, why not try something new? A whole chicken, exciting vegetables, fish – just about anything can be barbecued.
Rub the chicken with a mixture of fresh herbs, lemon, salt, chopped garlic and pepper before you put it on the barbecue.
Serve it with a warm salad, where you mix grilled vegetables with melon and cheese.
Try a piece of barbecued sponge cake and strawberries for dessert.
Clean it up
Just like any other appliance, a barbecue needs regular maintenance to help it last a long time. Always try to protect it from rain and the elements. Store it indoors or under a roof when not in use. If you have a propane barbecue the burners should be cleaned regularly. Use pipe cleaners, needles or the like to remove soot and fat. The burners may also need to be lubricated. Follow the advice in the instruction manual.
Barbecue grates must also be kept clean, regardless of the type of barbecue. Brush the grate when it is still hot or leave it on damp, dewy grass overnight. You can also rub it with soap and water, leave it for a few hours and then wipe it down with clean water. If the grate is very dirty you may need a barbecue brush.