Continued from page 1
A further mistake was to overfill grill. Completely filling it leaves no room to manoeuvre food. Youíre not able to turn it for even cooking and youíve no space to move food to a lower heat. Assuming that youíre using rule of thirds as described above, , when you first start cooking, leave empty area of grill above where youíve placed no coals. Youíve then space to move cooked food into. Secondly, donít pack cooking part of grill with food. Leave room to comfortably turn your food.
A second problem caused when over filling grill is to use foods that require different cooking times. When coals are first ready to use, theyíre at their hottest. This is time to cook small, thin items of food that can be cooked in a short time with a high heat. These include items like sausages, burgers, kebabs and small pieces of meat off bone. Donít forget that food, such as burgers and sausages, drip fat and juices onto charcoal during cooking and itís this that causes flare-ups. So youíll need to constantly watch items of food and move them to an area of lower heat if necessary (did I mention rule of thirds? ). After heat has died down somewhat, start grilling food that takes a little longer to grill like chops and steaks and meat on bone. Finally when heat is even lower, grill food like fruit kebabs that really only need heating through.
Last, but not least, our imaginary chef stabs his food with a barbecue fork to turn it over. During initially few minutes of grilling, heat seals surface of meat, sealing in juices. When meat is stabbed juices flow out onto coals, causing meat to dry out and become tough, and producing a flare up which burns food. When turning food, always use barbecue tongs.
With a charcoal barbecue controlling heat is difficult. Instead you need to ensure that you cook your individual items of food at most appropriate time and that you have separate areas of heat. Use rule of thirds to provide separate areas of heat. When cooking your food, first grill quick cook food when coals are at their hottest. Second, cook food that requires cooking at a mid temperature for a longer time. Thirdly, cook food that needs a low heat. Another rule of thirds!
Les runs The Barbecue Hut website that provides free and useful information about barbecue grills and smokers, and also includes a wide selection of free recipes. He is also author of The Char Grill Chat newsletter. Website: http://www.barbecuehut.com