Meaty Tips

Barbecue Timings and Temperature

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BBQ Planning

It might seem pretty obvious, but many a barbecue is ruined just by poor planning. We're not talking about planning about what to eat, what to drink or even who to invite, we're talking about planning what goes on the grill, when and where.

Just like any other form of cooking, not all meats for the barbecue require the same temperature. Some meat, such as steaks and beef burgers, need searing quickly over a high heat and will be done in just a couple of minutes. Lamb, whether chops, steaks or kebabs, can also be served pink in the middle, although ideally you'll give them slightly longer on a slightly lower temperature than the steaks.

Pork and chicken need more care and attention, as they account for most bouts of 'barbecue related sickness' according to NHS stats. They should be cooked thoroughly, neither should be pink or bloody, but you don't want to cremate them on the outside either, so give them considerably longer on the grill at a lower temperature.

If your barbecue is adjustable you can raise and lower the grill to achieve a higher and lower temperature, but a more relaxed method is to allow time to adjust the temperature for you. As such you need plan for a dual wave of cooking for your guests. Cook the meats that need quick fierce cooking first, and serve them with whatever sides you like. Then, as the temperature drops, cook the more delicate meats longer and slower, serving them as a second wave. 99% of guests have patience at a barbecue and don't might this style, and any grumblers can usually be offset by explaining the rational for doing it this way is for good food hygiene.

The other tip to consider is not to underestimate the Great British wind, which can affect temperature dramatically. One a breezy day the constant movement of air around the fire can reduce the temperature of the cooking zone considerably, and as such timings are very different from a windless day.