Quick Tips for Backyard Barbecues
The fish are jumpin’. The cotton is high. And there are 40 pounds of charcoal stashed in your garage. Summertime, for a lot of us, means thick steaks and juicy burgers edged with crisp char, deeply burnished chicken and sizzling racks of ribs. Oh, man... Is it time to eat yet?
Backyard Barbecue Playlist
- Sly & The Family Stone, “Hot Fun In The Summertime”
- The Beach Boys, “Good Vibrations”
- Bruce Springsteen, “Glory Days”
- Jimmy Buffet, “Margaritaville”
- Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Down On The Corner”
- Otis Redding, “The Dock Of The Bay”
- The Doobie Brothers, “Black Water”
- Bob Marley, “Stir It Up”
- Sam Cook, “Having A Party”
- Booker T. & The MG’s, “Green Onions”
Backyard Barbecue Tips
Charcoal or gas?
Charcoal grills are cheaper, more interactive, burn hotter (for a nice deep brown sear) and give your food great natural smoky flavor. And don’t forget the thrill most guys get setting stuff on fire. The reasons to use gas can pretty much be summed up in one word: convenience.
Hey, you don’t want to be running around all night. Keep all your barbecue stuff together. Do as much as you can ahead of time. Yeah, and assemble everything you’ll need, including a clean platter.
Know your grill.
Its cool spots and hot spots. Those gorgeous char marks come from knowing your grill’s hottest sections. On that note...
Noooooo, not the fork.
Tongs are the ticket when you barbecue. Turning your food with a fork lets the juices escape, so unless you like the taste of shoe leather...
And while we’re talking no-nos.
Never toss ice-cold meat on the grill—it reduces your grill’s temperature and prevents those tasty juices from getting seared in. Meat needs about an hour out of the fridge. Uh-huh, a whole hour.
Who doesn’t love food on a stick?
Soak wooden kabob sticks in cold water for at least 30 minutes to prevent scorching. Wipe metal skewers with a piece of paper towel dipped in cooking oil so food won’t stick. Or skewer meat and seafood on sprigs of fresh rosemary, cinnamon sticks or lemongrass stalks.
An American tragedy: saucing too early.
Don’t slather on the barbecue sauce until the last few moments of grilling. Most barbecue sauces contain sugar, which will burn if you put it on too early.
Decorating tip from famous TV BBQ guy.
Candles. Candles everywhere. On the patio. On the table. Even floating in the pool.
No muss, no fuss.
Use those large freezer bags for marinating. Throw in your food, your marinade, seal it up and give it a little shake. Leave the bag in the fridge, shaking it occasionally, until you’re ready to cook.
Fun with charcoal.
Lay sweet potatoes, onions and corn in the husk directly on the coals. Roast, turning with tongs, until the skins are black. Scrape off the burned stuff and enjoy the sweet, smoky veggie inside. Or toss in a handful of fresh hard-stemmed herbs (rosemary, thyme and sage) or some whole garlic cloves.