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Yippie Yippie Yeah! This is where you'll find the key information about barbecue grilling. After all, you're a genuine connoisseur. Or at least you want to become one!
Barbecue season is upon us! And you're genuinely on fire. AT LAST. THE TIME HAS COME. TO BARBECUE. Time to get into the open, light up the fire and get started. After all, the really nice thing about barbecuing is that it really isn't very hard. You can achieve great results even if you don't have high-end equipment. (And our barbecue tips will provide enormous support!)
But, as you know: things are better when you know what you're doing. What can be done about it? You can read two shelves of books (maybe even three), absorb the centuries-old wisdom of Tibetan barbecue monks - or just focus on the basics of barbecuing. That's what you'll find here: the key information about barbecue grilling.
A fundamental question: What's your feeling about the heat source? Charcoal grill, gas grill or electric grill (and a few pieces of equipment)
How would you like to heat your grill? This seemingly simple question can set a heated debate in motion. We don't wish to get involved in that. The logical fact of the matter is that every type of grill has its own special features. It's time to bring a little clarity to the smoke-filled murky world of the barbecue. After all, you should not only enjoy barbecuing (I'm sure you already do), but also use the kind of grill that suits you. That's what this item is all about!
When you gotta glow: the charcoal grill
Grilling on charcoal (or briquettes) is the absolute classic: archaic, sometimes dirty, the majesty of the grill, the romance of the camp fire... You've heard it all and you're fairly relaxed about it. The interesting thing is that it's all true!! Yes, it is totally primitive and the flame is "real". If you find this all a bit silly, then you're not a charcoal fan. But if this really is your thing, then you can also enjoy the fact that charcoal grills can be purchased for very little money. In an emergency you can even buy a disposable barbecue at the local garage. By the way: almost 70% of all Germans barbecue on charcoal.
For: Grilling with charcoal
- Charcoal simply adds more authentic "grilled" flavour to anything you put on the grill. (It's just a fact!)
- It creates a real fire that crackles and flickers, creating that genuine grill feeling.
- If you can handle charcoal well, people will admire you for it.
- Barbecue charcoal is available at almost every petrol station (If you barbecue on Sundays, you'll know what that means).
Against: Grilling with charcoal
- Charcoal is no good if you're in a hurry: it takes 20 to 30 minutes before you can start cooking.
- You will drive sensitive neighbours crazy with the smoke and smell.
- If the wind blows really hard, then you'll quickly have sparks and ashes everywhere: on the grilled food (not tasty), on the table (not nice) or even on your face (ouch!)
- If fat is allowed to drip onto the embers, harmful substances may be produced.
- You need to clean the grill scrupulously, so you don't grill the soot along with your food next time (Yuck!).
- Barbecues are mostly off limits on apartment balconies. (Think of the neighbours. Think of your landlord. Don't do it.)
Longer-lasting flames: the gas grill
"Gas barbecues are for philistines!" HANG ON A MINUTE, PLEASE! This is something that used to be said (maybe in the last millennium), but even back then it wasn't really true. Barely 11% of all Germans grill with gas (in the home of the BBQ, the USA, this figure is about 30%) - but the trend is rising. That's because gas grills (usually fuelled with propane or butane gas in bottles) have become more and more sophisticated in recent years: hoods, multi-burners, improved temperature control or automatic ignition. Many gas barbecues are now available as grill trolleys. Depending on the model (and the size of your budget) you can upgrade your grill to a complete mini-kitchen.
For: Grilling with gas
- You don't need any particular fire lighting skills: if you can work a cooker, you can also operate a gas barbecue.
- You will be ready to grill much sooner (and the food will be ready quicker) because gas grills need very little time to heat up.
- The temperature regulation is very variable.
- If you have several burners, you can grill with both direct and indirect heat.
- Gas grills produce less smoke.
- You can usually use gas grills on an apartment balcony.
Against: Grilling with gas
- The characteristic charcoal flavour is missing (tip: you can redress this somewhat with wood chips)
- Gas grills are heavy and bulky (you can't take it with you when driving to the lake for a swim).
- They are (usually) more expensive than charcoal grills.
- Gas barbecues are more susceptible to breakdowns because they are more complicated (fuel lines, valves, regulators, burners).
- Gas bottles have a horrible habit of running out on a Sunday when the shops are closed. (IT ALWAYS HAPPENS! IT MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM!)
Grilling with the grid: electric barbecues
Do you prefer to grill with electricity? But maybe you prefer not to say it out loud because you're scared that the "professional grill kings" will laugh at you? Let them laugh, because you are in good company. Nearly 19% of Germans use electric grills - and these are almost always table grills. So what if that classic grill feeling is not really there? Remember - all you need is a grill and a socket - you can already have a barbecue. But, be careful: make sure to buy a sufficiently powerful model, as otherwise the electric grill will not get hot enough - and the meat will be tough. Your electric grill should have at least 2,000 watts of power, so the lack of fire and flame is not noticeable.
For: Grilling with electricity
- Electric grills are easy to use and you can easily regulate the temperature (on most models).
- Electric grills are perfect for spontaneous barbecue fans.
- You can barbecue whatever the weather. When it rains (and it will), you can simply grill indoors.
- Electric barbecues are "neighbour-friendly" because they do not spread anything except the smell of grilled food and heat.
- Most electric grills are fairly easy to clean. If the grill plate has a non-stick coating, so much the better.
- You can cook on your balcony (no naked flames).
Against: Grilling with electricity
- The authentic barbecue feeling is just not there. (But there's NOTHING you can do about that).
- For large barbecues with lots of guests, you will need to run several electric grills at the same time. (Leading to a spaghetti-like confusion of wires.)
- You cannot grill large pieces of meat on the small grill area (goodbye, spare ribs or pulled pork)
- Barbecuing in the public park? Not really possible! (Unless you have a very, very, very long extension cable)
The best recipes for genuine connoisseurs
Looking for MORE, MORE, MORE? You'll get it!
What is meant by direct and indirect grilling?
Things were simpler in the old days. Turn on the grill. Place the food on top. Wait. Turn. Wait. Finished. These days, things a a bit more complicated. But not much. Many barbecue recipes contain the directions "prepare for direct" or "indirect grilling". What does that mean? In brief:
Direct heat means following the familiar method (see above):
The food is placed on the rack directly over the heat source (embers or gas flame) and exposed to high heat.
Direct heat is perfect for grilled food that gets cooked fast: steaks, chops, fish fillets, chicken breasts, seafood or vegetable slices.
When cooking with indirect heat, the food is not placed over the embers or flame. If you have a charcoal grill, then you have to push the coals so that they do not lie under the whole grill - for example, on one side ("two-zone embers") or you leave the middle empty. The clever thing to do is to put a drip tray under your grilled food.
With a gas grill you'll need at least two burners to grill with indirect heat. One burner is turned on. The food is placed on the other side (the one where the burner is turned off). Indirect heat is better for larger cuts of meat that take longer to cook through: spare ribs, whole chickens, roast joints.
Dein Geschmacksupgrade: Saucen, Toppings und Senf für echte Kenner!
Griller's little helpers: basic BBQ equipment (the things you really can't do without!)
Have you ever looked around the BBQ accessories section at your local hardware store? The choice is overwhelming. And of course it is ALL indispensable (What NONSENSE). You only need a few pieces of equipment. But these are the things that you really need.
You need grill tongs
A really good pair of tongs: this must be robust and at least 40 cm long, not something lame from the 1 Euro Shop. It should also fit comfortably in your hand. You'll need to try it out. The grippers should be made of stainless steel and the tongs should have handles made of (heat-resistant) plastic or wood. A locking mechanism can be very useful. Also, it won't hurt if the grill tongs are dishwasher-safe. (You can use wooden tongs to turn sausages.)
You need a patty turner
How else do you intend turning burger patties? Of course, this is also possible with a pair of tongs (but a little bit trickier). The perfect patty turner is about 40 cm long and made of stainless steel with a plastic handle. The lifter area should be big enough so that you can turn even larger items of food (without something dropping off). Ideally, the lifting surface should be lower than the handle, in other words slightly angled. This makes it easier to get under the food.
You need gloves
One or two barbecue gloves are essential. Pay attention to good workmanship when buying gloves. Watch for good insulation (for example, with silicone) and heat resistance. Your fingers will thank you for it.
You need a marinating brush
Because you won't want to marinate your spare ribs by hand or oil your steak with a spoon, you need a marinating brush. In the old days, people used a normal kitchen brush. But in the 21st century you can treat yourself to a brush with silicone bristles.
You need a grill thermometer
Sometimes these are also called roasting or oven thermometers. That's OK too. The main thing is that you can measure the core temperature of the food and the ambient temperature of your grill. These thermometers are available in digital versions (with and without app), with sensors and as classic analogue versions - plus all the bells and whistles you could wish for. You'll need some variant of this.
You need a grill brush
A clean barbecue grill is not just a beautiful sight, but simply more hygienic. Without a good grill brush, it is difficult to clean hard to reach places and the spaces between the bars. And, to be honest: considering the number of times YOU fire up the barbecue, you can invest in a sensible brush, right? Think of it a bit like washing your car: would you use the mop you use to clean the stairs? No? Well, there you are then.
Feeling hot, hot, hot: how to get your grill to the right heat! (We're talking barbecue engineering)
Light the charcoal grill
Truth to tell, this isn't as complicated as some "pros" like to make out. Grab your charcoal, place it in the grill and arrange it in a pile. Then you take a solid grill lighter put it in the pile and ignite (liquid barbecue lighter fuel is poured over the pile of coals, wait a minute and then ignite). You usually need to blow or fan the flames. Once a fine layer of ash has formed on the coals, you can get started. Some charcoal grills have a charcoal basket, which means that the barbecue can draw in oxygen under the coals. This will speed things up.
Even better is a charcoal chimney: this is a metal cylinder into which you place the coals. You then light newspaper or barbecue lighter in your grill and place the charcoal chimney on top. After 10-15 minutes, your charcoal is ready to grill and you can (CAREFULLY!) transfer it to the grill.
Light the gas grill
OK, this is really easy - assuming you have a sufficiently filled gas cylinder (if not, then go out quickly and buy one. Blast! It's Sunday!) Lift the lid of the gas grill and then open the gas cylinder valve. Turn the first burner (the closest to the gas cylinder) to maximum and wait a few seconds (really just a few) for gas to accumulate (you'll hear a hiss). Press the igniter (Click). The burner lights up (Swish). Now you light the other burners. Then close the lid and heat your grill to the desired temperature.
Grilled food - the perfect layout: How to grill meat, fish, fruits and vegetables (plus core temperature information)
You're now pretty well prepared. You've got the right technology, the right grill for you - and the right equipment. But things aren't yet perfect. Now we're going to explain in brief how to cook your food.
How to barbecue beef (particularly steak):
Grilled beef - the classic barbecue staple. But not all beef is suitable for barbecuing. Fillet steak, entrecôte, rump steaks or prime rib are especially good. The meat should not be too lean. A little bit of marbling is perfect. Never remove the fat on the edges. NEVER, EVER! Otherwise your beef will dry out on the grill.
In essence, steak is actually very easy to grill:
1. Get the grill hot (300–350° C)
2. Paint the rack with oil.
4. Place your steak on the HOT grill.
5. Turn the temperature down (200° C)
6. Turn your steak
7. Take the finished steak from the grill (for cooking times see below)
Steak is always grilled at a very high temperature. The core temperature should not exceed 70° C however. This is not without controversy, however, as many seasoned grill users say a steak is "done" or "well done" at 60° C.
How to grill pork:
Pork is the most popular meat for barbecuing in Germany. It is perfect for barbecue beginners because you can't go wrong (and if you do, at least it wasn't as expensive as beef). And if you're not a beginner, you'll just be happy about the excellent taste. Unlike beef, pork is better grilled slowly and with less heat. Otherwise it turns tough and dry. Important: Pork must always be cooked through thoroughly, never eaten raw or bloody. But you can't go wrong with a core temperature of 65° C.
How to grill game:
You can grill game just like beef or pork. But, be careful: It usually contains less fat and dries out quicker.
How to grill poultry:
Poultry tastes best if you grill it with the skin on. That way it will stay crisp and dry out more slowly. Tip: Grill your poultry on the hottest spot on the grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Then finish it off in a less hot place, ready. Due to the risk of salmonella, always grill poultry thoroughly.
How to grill fish and seafood
If you want to grill fish and seafood, you'll need to show a little delicacy(!). That's because these ingredients can quickly dry out or burn. When cooking with charcoal, this means: place your grilling rack at a distance above the embers. If possible, only turn your fish/seafood once. You can oil the grill rack in advance so that the fish skin does not stick to it. You can wrap the fish in foil. But make sure to oil the foil (FROM INSIDE), otherwise the fish will stick to it. Shellfish tend to fall through the gaps in the grill because they are so small. Threading them on skewers is the best way to stay afloat.
Grilling fruit and vegetables: for a healthy change (your mother would be proud of you)
"Vegetables do not belong on the grill!" Have you ever heard these words? What nonsense!! (These total refuseniks are missing a lot!) Bell peppers, corn on the cob, pumpkin, courgettes and lots more. Like meat or fish, you can marinate vegetables very effectively - so let yourself go! But, be careful: Too much heat isn't good for tender young vegetables! You can cook potatoes by wrapping them in aluminium foil and placing them directly in the embers (naturally, this won't work so well with a gas grill). You certainly should give grilled fruit a try: pineapple, apple rings or bananas with honey are the classic choices. For something a little more tropical, try papaya or mango. One thing to keep in mind: harder fruits should probably be place in a grill basket.
For how long? Finding the right grilling time
This table contains a rough guide to the optimum cooking times. These times can vary because every grill is different, every barbecue too - and we do not know how hard the wind is blowing (and the butcher may have had a bad day, so the food was not that good, etc.)
|Beef steaks||3 cm||8-10 minutes (Medium)|
|Pork steaks||2,5 cm||6 minutes (Well Done)|
|Lamb steaks||3 cm||8-10 minutes (Medium)|
|Burgers (beef mince)||2,5 cm||6-8 minutes (Medium)|
|Burgers (pork mince)||2,5 cm||8-10 minutes (Well Done)|
|Fish steaks or fillets||1 cm||5-7 minutes|
|Prawns||á 45 g||2-4 minutes|
What does core temperature mean?
Core temperature. You will constantly read this term in the context of barbecuing. What does it actually mean? Easy: it is the temperature of your food in the middle. This is farthest point from the surface - and therefore the coldest. In other words: you know that your grilled food has reached AT LEAST this temperature. This is sometimes important for the taste and sometimes it tells you that certain bacteria have been killed.
Grilled food - the perfect preparation: Rubs and marinades
A coating of herbs, oil and other flavour carriers will give your food a character all of its own.
Marinades: what counts are the ingredients
A bath can be refreshing. But a bath of oil, vinegar and herbs? Maybe not so much. Unless you want to bathe your grilled meat in it. Then we're talking about a marinade in which you let your grilled meat (or vegetables) rest for a few hours. This will give your food a very intense flavour and a great texture. With fish, you must make sure not to use too many acid ingredients.
Rub: a massage for your favourite food
Rubs are dry marinades based on crushed spices and sugar. This technique is best used on extra-large joints (for example for pulled pork) and spare ribs. This calls for some dexterity. Rubs are carefully massaged into the meat. This recipe allows you to let your creativity run wild. There are even coffee rubs and so-called wet rubs, which develop their taste with a spice paste. The best thing about a rub is the end result. It forms a crunchy caramelised layer that will set your taste buds tingling.
Oh man! 7 mistakes to avoid when grilling
Grilling isn't exactly rocket science. Nonetheless, it can be worthwhile taking a long hard look at your barbecue habits. After all, people have been cooking over an open fire for thousands of years. That's why there are a few mistakes that have crept in over time. Time to winkle a few of them out again.
Major error! Spraying with beer
Many people not only like to drink a cold beer at a barbecue, but also carelessly tip it over the tender meat. What a waste! Never do that! I'm begging you. Apart from the fact that it is sinful to pour away good beer, it is also extremely unhealthy. When the beer hits the coals, it causes ash particles to rise and settle directly on your carefully prepared meal. It causes smoke and is unhealthy - plus the beer will wash away your marinade.
Take care when buying oil!
If your grill gets too hot, you will not only burn your meat, but also, before that, the oil. If it gets too hot it will reach smoking point. If you are planning to work at a high temperature (using a Beefer, for example, see below), you'd better stay away from oil. Refined sunflower oil, for example, can be heated up to 210° C, while refined rapeseed oil can tolerate slightly higher temperatures at 230° C. As a general rule: unrefined or cold-pressed oil is less robust. Soy bean oil is one of the most heat-resistant oil grades at 235° C.
A typical mistake! Eating food hot off the grill
When the tantalising smell of fresh grilled meat reaches your nostrils, even the strongest barbecue aficionados find it hard not to eat the hot steak directly. Hands off, however!! We never eat directly from the grill. Your steak will taste better if you restrain yourself and let it rest briefly in aluminium foil (try to pull yourself together for 5 to 10 minutes). While resting, the meat fibres can relax and the meat juices will be distributed evenly. DELICIOUS!
No way! A fork is no replacement for a grill tongs
One things should be noted in advance: grilling is not a time for running the gauntlet! If you don't have a penchant for shoe leather, you should ALWAYS use a BBQ tongs or a grill turner. Piercing the meat can cause the juice to escape, so the food goes totally dry in no time.
Keep your hands off flammable liquids!
Making fire was a basic skill for the Stone Age man. But even back then people knew that fire is dangerous. But what about today? Many people use gasoline, alcohol or even hard liquor from their last party to get the fire going. Caution! There is a huge risk of getting burned if you do this. Jets of flame and toxic fumes are inevitable. Better to equip yourself with a classic barbecue lighter or to invest in a charcoal chimney.
Never transfer meat directly from the freezer to the grill!
When the thermometer climbs to over 25° C in summer and you wish for a bath of ice cubes to sit in, that's when you will also quickly start to worry about raw meat. Of course, you shouldn't leave your steak lying in the sun for hours, however it should have reached room temperature before being placed on the grill. That way the food will retain its moisture for longer and won't dry out as quickly. Follow this tip and juicy pleasure is practically guaranteed! Also, you should not place frozen meat directly on the grill, but rather allow it to thaw slowly in the fridge the day before.
Not always the best idea! How many turns are too many?
When things get hot, you may be afraid of burning the meat. That's natural enough. Nonetheless, many people turn their food too often. If the meat is moved too often, it is often not cooked through all over. It simply misses out on the constant heat from the grill. Professionals will only turn a steak twice. Before turning, you can easily lift the steak by the side to check its progress. Anxious, constant turning of meat is a typical rookie mistake! Better: Take a quick look under your meat with the patty turner or use a grill thermometer.
Now we come to the section on advanced barbecuing: smokers, contact grills, Dutch ovens and Beefers
The Dutch oven: the cooking pot from the Wild West
You'll have seen this cast-iron pot countless times in movies like Django Unchained. The Dutch oven conjures up a real sense of an outdoor lifestyle reminiscent of the old west. You can hang the round pot over the camp fire when your gang finally gets to go camping again. Alternatively, you can place the hot coals directly on the domed lid. Just like with your beloved car, you have to change the oil regularly in the Dutch oven. No one likes rancid oil in their Dutch oven.
But grilling in a pot? Is that a thing? It sure is! The unprepossessing object is incredibly versatile. It can be used to grill your favourite spare ribs or a juicy rump steak. And if you want to cook a really hot and spicy chilli for a big gang, you can do that too! Just not all at the same time. Although you have to wait a bit for the meat to cook, when its done it will just melt on your tongue. The pot can heat up to 200° C if you regularly refill it with briquettes or wood. The cowboys of the Wild West swore by this all-rounder! Especially dishes that you would otherwise cook in the pot, such as braised meat, work even better in the Dutch oven.
Smoker: BBQ as we know it and love it
The very thought of the smoky taste of a juicy BBQ steak will make a grill connoisseur's mouth water. The smoker looks a bit like an old steam train. Strictly speaking a smoker has little to do with a grill. However, it offers indirect cooking at its best. The smoker will make you the hero at any barbecue. Although you may have to wait a while before eating, the results are genuinely worthwhile. The constant 120-180° C temperature and the smoking wood chips create the ultimate BBQ flavour. The meat should be marbled and cooked in large pieces. Perfect for the entire team! You can add your own twist with a spicy dry rub. This will make the smoker your classic! In particular, spare ribs will taste twice as nice in the smoker!
Contact grill: the burger builder's dream
This grill is the proof that grilling is not always just about conjuring up a tender piece of meat. You can place anything you like between the two hotplates, provided it is edible. The choice ranges from cheeseburgers to fresh vegetable strips or Italian paninis - it will all work perfectly. Don't want to wait for long? Afraid that your friends are getting hungry? Then this is the perfect grill for you. At over 300° C, you can cook the burger of the century in seconds. And you don't even have to leave the house! The contact grill is a consistent non-smoker. That means you can enjoy your favourite time of the year free from stress and complications in the company of your friends! The contact grill is particularly suitable for foods that will benefit from direct contact with the heat from both sides - such as sandwiches.
Beefer: Do you still grill or are you already a Beefer user?
The classic film "The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" questions the meaning of life, the universe and everything else. The answer: 42. For every Beefer fan, the magic number would be 800 - to be precise 800° C. This is the perfect cooking temperature for an irresistible flavour experience! You can discover new culinary universes for yourself with the Beefer. The Beefer brings grilling to the NEXT LEVEL and, with its hellish temperatures, is a pretty hot affair. It is fuelled by gas rather than charcoal. Don't let the name confuse you! You can use the Beefer to prepare a whole menu, and you do not have to restrict yourself to one type of meat. For example, how about a salad with stuffed mushrooms as a starter, followed by a juicy rump steak? To conclude, you can show your sweet side and serve a crème brûlée with a crispy topping straight from the grill. You can prepare a complete gourmet menu with the Beefer in an incredibly short time! Even mince-based dishes with are simply perfect in Beefer.