Cooking tips

Barbecuing tips: Seven must-know tricks for the beginner griller

Want to rock the charcoal this summer? Brush up on all things barbecue with our seven must-know tips and tricks for any beginner grill fan
By Jes Watson
barbecue grill and burger patties Masterfile

1. Marinate ahead of time

Marinating keeps your meat juicy through the grilling process. Start with a good olive oil and an acid of your choice (think lemon juice of balsamic vinegar). Then, simply let your meat sit in the mixture for a few hours (or overnight) before barbecuing to allow your protein to fully soak up the flavours.

You can marinate your favourite vegetables too, just keep in mind that they’ll take a shorter amount of time — about 20 to 30 minutes should do the trick.

2. Think outside the bun

Barbecues aren’t just for burgers and steak. Cook your veggies to perfection with a wire grilling basket, or make fruit kabobs with pineapple and bananas for a fired-up dessert.


Expert tip: You can even grill up pizza to achieve that authentically blistered Italian crust in a flash. We suggest Grilled margherita pizza with prosciutto.

3. Get spicy

Move over, barbecue sauce. Heat and smoke coax out-of-this-world flavours from your spice rack roster. Get creative and make your own signature blend for a bespoke spice mix that packs a serious punch.

4. Dress up your dishes


There’s no denying that a well-cooked sausage is great on its own. But you can also look to your grilled meats to dress up other recipes — like salads, paella or jambalaya. The smokiness will add a whole new depth to your favourite plates.

5. Bake it up

The last thing you want to do on a hot day is turn on the oven. Try recipes that you’d traditionally bake on the grill for a summery spin on all your old standbys. Use hickory wood chips or a cedar plank to ramp up the wow-factor to everything from fish to stuffed chicken. We recommend the Cedar-plank salmon recipe.

6. Know your burger

All hail the mighty burger! To get your patties right, cook them for three to four minutes on each side. Want to ensure your meat is always well done (or rare, as the case may be)? Use a meat thermometer for expertly finished hamburgers, every time.


7. Baste away

Baste early and baste often with your favourite barbecue sauce. Look for a store-bought bottle with ingredients that work with your menu (like a fiery chipotle sauce for a Tex-Mex dinner) and you’re sure to serve up a winning meal.


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