Top tips for the perfect BBQ

Meat and veggie skewers cooking on a perfect bbq.

Now we’re in August, it’s definitely time to dust off the barbecue and light it up if you haven’t already. The weather may be a little suspect at the moment, but grilling in light drizzle is a rite of passage for us Brits! Of course, it can be something of a nervy business – particularly if you have guests. Nobody wants to go down in history as the friend who gave everyone else food poisoning!

Help is at hand thanks to the experts at Harvester. As well as operating 230 restaurants around the UK, Harvester is an official partner of National BBQ Week 2016. They therefore know a thing or two about hosting the perfect BBQ.

To help guerrilla grillers like me, they’ve created a couple of handy videos. The first deals with how to safely grill meat.

I have to confess that, although I use two pairs of tongs, I hadn’t thought of using the grill as a left-to-right production line. Top tip!

The second video, meanwhile, is all about how to ensure that the meat is properly cooked through. This is something I spend ages agonising over – and burning sausages in the process – so this was really useful to me too.

Other top tips to make sure your BBQ goes down well with guests all come down to preparation. Marinate your food the night before to make sure it soaks up the flavour and remember to do this in the fridge rather than at room temperature.

Light your barbecue around half an hour before your guests arrive. Once it has heated up, use a wire brush to remove any debris from last time.

To avoid flare ups caused by hot fat, remove any excess and chicken skin and choose lean cuts of meat. Of course, lean cuts can sometimes stick to the grill, so oil it first. You can do this by rubbing a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel over it with some tongs.

Going back to one of the points in the second video, there’s another method if you don’t have a thermometer. Place your open palm about five inches above the grill. The heat is high if you have to move your hand in two seconds, medium in five seconds and low in 10 seconds. Not quite a rule of thumb, but almost!

Finally, if the weather is just too much, you could always pop down to your local Harvester for a perfect BBQ instead!

Update: Since this post was published, the videos referred to in it have been removed from Harvester’s YouTube channel.

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post.


  1. Simon

    I just admit I start to get paranoid about cooking meat properly when we have guests, and there’s more meat on the BBQ with different cooking times, etc. I err on the side of caution and probably overcook – but at least it’s safe!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.