How to get to the Meat of the Issue

For those of us who don’t have time to spend preparing or even buying ingredients for a family-sized barbecue meal, there are some great shortcuts around.

Marinades for instance are one way to get round the taste factor. That’s because you end up with maximum flavour for minimum amount of effort. Sounds good? Then read on…

Meat of the Issue

Ideally you’ll have made your marinade the night before, placed your meat in it and it’s been seeping away nicely in the fridge all night and most of the day so the meat is well and truly impregnated with your delicious marinade flavouring.

If you don’t have time the night before to make your own marinade then you can always pick a ready-made one up from the butcher or a deli counter. Alternatively there’s the supermarket too where you’ll get a less expensive version but maybe not as special.


Make your own marinade

If you’re making your own though you’ll need an acidic touch in the mixture via a lemon, wine or some vinegar. This ‘acid’ is essential as it softens the meat and means the other ingredients will be absorbed better. Dairy products have been used for years in India due to a belief in calcium’s tendering properties.

So, what else do you need to add to the marinade? Well, ginger and garlic are favourites. So too is chilli and mustard.

Marinade tips

Always drain the marinade from the meat prior to placing it on the grill. If you don’t there’s a big possibility that the sugars in the marinade will burn which will of course impair the flavour of the meat

You can usually keep your marinade in the fridge for up to a week (provided it’s stored in a sterilised and air-tight container

Buy legs, thighs and wings rather than breast meat. This is because the more fat on the more, the better and tastier they’ll cook on the barbecue (they’ll be able to stand the heat better)

Always make sure your meat is at room temperature before cooking it on the barbecue, even if that means laying it aside for 15 minutes prior to cooking

When barbecuing sausages treat them as if you would with a chicken ie seal for several minutes on a hot grill then cook on indirect heat the rest of the time

Salmon or trout wrapped in tinfoil tastes great on the grill and doesn’t take long. Squeeze with lemon, chop up some garlic or try with a rub.

Another food which tastes great about being foil wrapped and placed on the BBQ for 15 minutes is corn on the cob. Just remember to put some butter in that foil package beforehand.

Meanwhile, getting back to the way marinades actually work, some chefs have suggested it’s a good idea to prick the meat beforehand in order to ‘help the marinade along.’ We’re not sure about this ourselves but some of the good and great in culinary circles certainly swear by it.

Another trick is to cook the meat at higher temperatures rather than room temperature. Again we’re not convinced by this one but when it comes down to it, it’s all personal preferences and whatever works for you – or rather the meat…

Try using a gas barbecue when cooking for optimum control over temperature.