Barbecuing - BBQ Tips, Tricks and Secrets for a Great Barbecue

Barbecuing is such a great and healthy way to cook food. It is a delicious and natural cooking method whereby the food is flavoured by the smoking process - you sort of smoke the food over charcoal or wood.

Many people believe that simply putting meat or veg on a barbecue is a relatively easy process, but here I would like to challenge that and inform you that it is indeed an art and a very specific science.  

So many times I have frequented barbecues in England where the meat has been blasted over hot flames, resulting in burnt skin and a tasteless, often undercooked meal.  I have also witnessed people using white spirit to encourage a barbecue.  This is a dangerous method which inflicts an unhealthy and unpleasant taste onto the food.

In this blog article, I propose to run you through the whole process of delivering a successful barbecue and 
reveal some fantastic tips.  Here is my BBQ Beginner's Guide in video format. All of the information in this video is covered in this article:- 

Firstly, it is very important to not have a boiling hot barbecue - you must wait at least 30 minutes after lighting the barbecue for the flames to calm down and the temperature to cool.  This is important because you will want to cook the food as slowly as possible to ensure the food is actually cooked.  Otherwise, the outside of the veg or meat will be burnt, and the inside will be uncooked or raw.

In order to light the barbecue , there are loads of different ways, but one of the easiest ways is to put a few firelighters on the barbecue, light with a long match and wait a few seconds for the flames to grow:- 

Heap on some charcoal or wood.  As mentioned above, wait at least 30 minutes for the flames to calm down and the temperature to reduce.

Start off by cleaning the grill.  Obviously it is best to clean the grill while it is hot as the fat and residue from the last barby will come off much easier.  Choose a wire brush to rub the grill down with on both sides of the grill:-
Then use plenty of kitchen towel to rub the grill down with to actually extract the dirt.  You are now ready.

Prepare your food.  For veg, wrap it up with at least two sheets of aluminium foil.  You can barbecue anything - potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, stuffed peppers, stuffed potatoes, fruit, corn on the cob etc.  In order to prepare the meat, you can generally pour a little extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and if you want some oregano or basil.  Use your hands or a plastic bag to spread the seasoning all over the meat.

For larger veg, such as a large jacket potato, place them directly next to (not on top of) the hot charcoal.  The foil could catch fire which is why the potatoes are placed to the side.  You can add an onion and a pepper (no need to cover in foil) also to the side of the hot charcoal.

Place the meat skin-side down on the grill.  Make sure the grill is on the coolest setting - as high above the charcoal or wood as it can be.  

 You need to start to turn the meat almost straight away otherwise the skin will start to stick.  Gently free the meat and turn over.  With chicken, for example, the skin contains a lot of fat, which falls down and hits the charcoal, causing flames to flare up. This is the time to move the meat across to a cooler part of the barbecue - a place where there is no or little heat underneath. Once the flames have calmed down, you can move the meat back above the charcoal.

Make sure you don't burn the meat - this is where your cool spot comes into play to avoid it becoming burnt. Remember that a cooler barbecue is better to cook the meat as slowly as possible.  When the meat is done, move it over to the coolest spot to keep it warm and finish off the other ingredients.

Check out this barbecue lamb video:-

So this leads me to my first tip; you must create a cooler spot inside the barbecue.  This needs to be an area where there is no charcoal or wood under the grill. Some people use water to spray on the barbecue to dampen down the flames. This is a nonsense because all you need to do is move the meat to the cooler part.

As with many things in life, your barbecuing skills will get better over time with more practice. It is something you have to gauge - almost "be in touch with the meat" to gauge when to turn it.  I also cannot give out cooking times really because it depends on size of barbecue, size of grill, amount of charcoal or wood being used and of course temperature of the barbecue. 

Now back to the veg; you can burn the onion and pepper - turn them gently around the edge of the charcoals or wood. When they are completely black means they are ready.  Just take the two or three burnt layers off the onion and it is ready to eat with no additives or sauces - it is lovely and caramelised. As for the pepper, cool it down in cold water like so:-

Then carefully scrape the black skin off with your hands:-

It is lovely and soft with a delicious BBQ taste to it. Also slowly turn the other veg. Obviously a large jacket potato will take much longer than other, smaller veg, so you need to gauge this. The potatoes will feel soft when you squeeze them gently with your tongs. 

For barbecuing tomatoes and other softer, more delicate veg, place them on the grill covered in foil. Here is a video demonstrating this:-

You can also barbecue fruit; the process is the same as the veg; wrap them up in 2 sheets of aluminium foil and place directly over the hot coals. This will need to be done once your barbecue and main meal is done and ready to eat, so that the fruit will be ready, soft and caramelised as soon as you've finished eating. Also, the barbecue will be even cooler at this time so you can place them directly over the centre of the coals.  
Check out this caramelised banana video on the barbecue:-

Barbecuing fish is also an excellent option. Check out this video here where we barbecued squid:-

Some top tips:-
  • 1. Make sure the grill is clean
  • 2. Don't put uncooked meat on top of or touching cooked meat in order to avoid cross contamination
  • 3. Keep your hands clean during the barbecuing process
  • 4. Create a cool spot
  • 5. Don't handle the meat with your hands once placed on the grill
  • 6. Use 2 sheets of aluminium foil for veg
  • 7. Enjoy your barbecue and don't stress too much

I hope this article and tips have been useful for you!  Shortly I shall be uploading more barbecue videos to this blog post.  Feel free to check out my other vlogs here, and also check me out on YoutubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook

Remember to take a pic of your barbecue and tag me in on any social media platform.


  1. I just love burned peppers! The taste is so good! It also works in the oven. And onions on the BBQ yummy. I hope we can 'turn on' the BBQ pretty soon!

  2. Hi there, yes, me too - burnt peppers taste delicious. Let me know how your barbecue went!


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