There is nothing more Australian than a backyard barbie. For generations, Aussie’s have enjoyed spending those endless summer nights with tongs in hand (and beer in the other) cooking up a feast for family and friends. While it might be a relaxing way to prepare dinner, barbecuing does not give you an excuse to serve char grilled chicken or tough T-bone. To ensure your steak is always succulent and your porterhouse is perfect, follow the Foodie HQ “back to basics” tips.
• Cooking on the grill will enhance the flavour and give your meat those restaurant style grill marks. However, extra fatty meat can result in flare-ups as the fat drips down. Small or slender items (like thin sausages) can slip through the gaps so are better cooked on the hotplate.
• Never pierce or cut through meat or sausages to check that it is cooked. This allows the juices to escape, toughening and drying the meat. The most reliable way to test if your meat is cooked is to use a cooking thermometer.
• Take your meat out of the fridge for a few minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature (never exceed 20 minutes and be extra careful if it is a warmer day). This will result in even cooking. NEVER leave chicken out of the fridge as it can quickly spoil.
• If your barbecue has a lid, always cook with it down to hold in the heat. Be aware that a lidded barbecue is often hotter than an open grill so your meat may cook a little quicker.
• To clean your BBQ quickly after cooking, turn the burners to high, close the lid (if applicable) and let the food residue burn-off for about 10 minutes. Use a wire brush to scrub the grates. The burnt-off food should simply flake away.
How to cook the perfect steak:
Most men can get sausages sizzling on the barbecue, but it is a different story when it comes to cooking steak. A few wrong turns and your steak will be tough and dry. So, for juicy and tender steak every time Foodie HQ have prepared simple step-by-step instructions.
What you will need:
• Barbecue (check you have plenty of gas before starting!)
• Tongs to turn the steak, preferably ones with a long handle to avoid singed fingers. Never use a fork as piercing the meat will allow the juices to escape.
• Oil to coat the meat before barbecuing.
• A plate for resting the steak after cooking.
1. Preheat your grill or hotplate on medium-high. Make sure the BBQ is fully heated before adding your meat so it cooks evenly.
2. Brush both sides of your STEAK with oil so it doesn’t stick to the BBQ. Oiling the grill creates more smoke.
3. If you want to season with salt and pepper, wait until just before cooking. Put the salt on too soon and your meat will dry out as the salt absorbs the juices.
4. Using long handled tongs, place your steak on the BBQ and cook to your likeness. Turn the steaks only ONCE as they cook. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the steak and whether you want rare, medium or well done.
5. It is best to avoid cutting into the meat during cooking, so you need to get to know the feel of a steak at different stages. Press the centre of the steak with the back of the tongs to feel its firmness and follow the table below to achieve the perfect steak.
Using an instant read digital thermometer can take the guesswork out of cooking the perfect steak, so we have included internal temperatures in the table also.
Here is a handy grid to guide you in cooking your perfect steak: Times will vary with the thickness of the steak and the heat of your bbq, so the touch test is your best guide.
|STEAK||TEMPERATURE in C||TIMING (approx)||FIRMNESS TEST|
|Rare||50–55||2 minutes per side||very soft|
|Medium – Rare||55–60||3 minutes per side||soft|
|Medium||60–65||4 minutes per side||springy to touch|
|Medium – Well||65–70||5 minutes per side||firm|
|Well Done||70 and above||5+ minutes per side||very firm|
Based on a steak of about 2cm thickness
Allow for 1 C – 2 C increase in temperature during resting time.
6. Rest the meat on a clean plate for 2 – 4 minutes before serving, to allow the juices to redistribute. You can cover the meat with foil to keep it warm while waiting.
Best Barbecue Cuts:
Whether you’re cooking beef or lamb, some cuts are better on the barbecue than others. Meat with a marbled surface cooks best as the extra fat keeps the meat juicy and tender.
Best beef cuts:
• Rump steak – full flavoured and lean, works well with rubs and marinades.
• Eye Fillet – the most lean and tender cut, can be dry if overcooked
• Porterhouse / Sirloin Steak – flavoursome, with a fine yet firm texture.
• T-bone – porterhouse on one side of the bone and tender fillet on the other, perfect!
• Scotch fillet / Rib Fillet – juicy tender and full of flavour.
• Blade – lean and flavoursome steak that is good value.
Best lamb cuts:
• Chump / Forequarter Chops – work great with a marinade
• Fillet / Tenderloin – very lean, wonderful grilled then sliced over a salad
• Loin chop – great all-rounder
• Backstrap – good for cutting cubes for skewers, lamb and halloumi works well
• Frenched cutlet – very lean and tasy
• Ribs – great slow cooked with a juicy marinade. TIP- use a foil tray to keep bbq clean
Our favourite BBQ recipes:
Or join a BBQ Cooking Class to get a hands on experience.