Best tips for cooking on a gas BBQ
Follow these tips to make the most of your BBQ and cook food safely
Weber Spirit II E-210 & E-310 gas BBQs (pictured above)
Do you feel that you are not making the most of your gas BBQ? Richard Holden, one of the UKs top BBQ chefs, and Ian Hodgett, from our Barbecue Shop here in store, will take you through some of the tips and tricks they have learned through years of experience of cooking on gas.
When you receive your new BBQ turn all the dials on to minimum and then you will know what your minimum temperature across the whole of the grill will be, then turn the dials to full power and you will then know the hottest temperature your grill is capable of. You then know how to adjust the dials to the correct cooking temperature the recipe requires. This process also serves the purpose of seasoning your BBQ and burning off any manufacturing substances that may be left behind. Before you put food straight onto the grate just give it a little coat of cooking oil, otherwise anything you put on there will stick. You can use the Weber Non-stick Spray or else just cut a potato or an onion in half, dip it in a little rapeseed oil, stick a fork into it then just rub that over the grate.
Also get to understand the different cooking methods achieved by turning one burner off and creating an area of indirect heat. This means you can sear a piece of meat and once the outside is coloured just move it to the indirect area to ensure the centre cooks through without burning the outside.
Thai-style chicken thighs cooked on the Weber Spirit II E-310 gas BBQ
Another way of keeping food away from the direct heat to cook slower is by raising it up from the grate either by using a vegetable tray placed upside down or a Weber Roast Rack. If you are roasting on a Weber gas BBQ don’t put your food all the way to the back as there is a cross burner running along the back of the BBQ which could burn a portion of your roast if it is too close. If one of your burners does blow out, for example if you lift the lid and there is a breeze, then this back burner will re-ignite it.
What most people call a warming rack, on a Weber BBQ, is actually an elevated cooking area. As you cook with the lid down then you are actually recreating the conditions you have in your oven. The thermometer built into the lid takes the reading from just under the lid so in order to get an accurate reading the lid must be down. The sensor is at the top of the cook box so any food you place onto that elevated rack will be at the temperature it is showing on the dial. One thing the top rack is great for is roasting baby potatoes, just coat them in some rapeseed oil and sea salt and place them straight onto the rack to just roast while you are cooking something else on the lower rack. They will take about 45 -60 minutes, depending upon the size. You can also do jacket potatoes or roast sweet potatoes to go with your main dish.
When the BBQ season is supposedly ‘over’ don’t put the grill away keep it by the back door and use it throughout the winter; check out the Christmas recipes on our youtube channel. Weber barbecues don’t need to be covered unless you are underneath the bird’s flight-path. One important thing to do if you are not going to be using it for long periods is to disconnect the gas. If you have little ones around then they are not going to accidentally turn on the BBQ. When you light the BBQ always do it with the lid up and then if you have accidentally knocked a dial there won’t be a build-up of gas to cause a possible flare-up. The new Weber BBQs have a tiny half circle cut out of the flavorizor bars so that you can actually see when the grill is lit.
Chicken escallope with roasted garlic, white wine and rosemary cooked on the Weber spirit II E-310
Direct cooking is really easy, on a 2 burner BBQ go to round-about 7 o’clock on both dials, so that you have an even heat across the grill, then your indirect area is the top shelf. On a 3 burner BBQ put the centre and one side burner to 7 o’clock and the other side burner completely off so this is your area of indirect cooking. One of the most essential BBQ accessories is the temperature probe so that you know when that chicken has hit the magic 75C and is safe to come off the grill.
Another must when barbecuing is to think about cross-contamination so keep 2 sets of utensils, one for uncooked food and one for cooked. Keep your plates etc that have contained raw food on one side of the BBQ and clean plates for cooked food on the other so that the 2 can’t get mixed up.
These are the main tips for setting up your BBQ, the main cooking zones and some tips for safely cooking your food. Just watch the videos on our youtube channel for more food based hints and tips.