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Formula for Tasty BBQ Food

If you have just settled into your new house which has a great Outdoor Barbecue or if you consider you are an experienced Pit Master, it is worthwhile to remember the formula for Tasty Barbecue Food is temperature control.

Higher temperature may mean that your food cooks quicker on the outside but that will probably result in a burnt, charred outside whilst the interior remains raw!

At this point, it is worthwhile to touch on the differences between the three main types of Grilling on a Barbecue.

Direct Grilling: – Cook food directly over the fire. It is normally a high heat technique. It uses this to cook smaller thinner pieces of food i.e. Chops, Steak, Chicken breasts, Fish and vegetables.

Indirect Grilling:- Normally used when cooking larger or tougher cuts of food. The food is not placed directly over the flames. Normally the grill lid is closed. This results in an outdoor oven. This is suitable for Pork Shoulders, Whole Chickens, and briskets.

Smoking:-This is when wood chips are added to indirect grilling which allows for a more intense smoke flavor being imparted.

Gas Grill Control

The basic rule when controlling heat on a gas barbecue is more fuel results in more heat. It is comparable to controlling the heat in a conventional kitchen oven.

It is important to preheat your gas barbecue. The pitmaster controls with the individual burners the amount of heat he requires. Opening the valve more gives more heat.

Charcoal Barbecue Control

Controlling the heat with a charcoal barbecue is a little more difficult. Here are a few tips to help.

  1. Allow the temperature to settle. It takes a while for the charcoal to cool down. A good guide is to barbecue when the coals have a layer of white ash.

  1. Build different fire zones. To construct a three zone, firstly arrange a double thick layer of coals covering one-third of the firebox. This will be the hot area and is great if you want to sear meats. The balance of the coals should cover another third section constructed of single layer coals. This is the area on which most of the cooking will take place. Leave the last third section of the box free from coals. This is the area which is your safety zone. Move food here if you think it may cook too fast.
  1. Vent adjustment. Most of the charcoal grills have vents at the bottom. Open the vents when you first start the fire but close slightly later as the less air the cooler the fire will be.
  1. Distance from the fire:-Some grills have grates you can move up or down according to the heat you need. If your barbecue has a fixed grill, then consider piling the coals higher towards the back of the grill.

Guidelines to Temperature Control

Purchase a good quality meat thermometer. This is just a guideline for a few of the foods that you can grill on your Barbecue .

Beef Burgers

Place on grill cook for 3 minutes then Flip. Then a further 3 minutes for Rare,4 Mins for medium rare. Cook for 5 minutes or slightly longer for well done. If a topping i.e cheese is added then cook for a further 2 minutes.


It is important that chicken cooks thoroughly on the barbecue because of food safety issues. Heat the chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.


Rare Steak:-Cook to 135 degrees F on one side for 4-5 minutes. Then flip the steak and cook a further 3 minutes. Allow the steak to rest for at least 3 minutes. Temp will rise while sitting.

Medium Rare steak: Cook the steak to an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. Then flip the steak and grill for further 6 minutes. Allow resting. Temp will rise while sitting.

Well done Steak:-Cook the steaks till an internal temperature of at least 150 degrees F. Once flipped cook for an additional 8-10 minutes. Allow resting. Temp will rise while sitting.

Pork Chops:-Cook till reaching 145 degrees F. Four minutes on the first side then flipped to the other side for 3 minutes.

Whole Fish:- Grill to an internal temperature of  140 degrees F for 12 minutes.

Vegetables: Note these temperatures are the surface temperatures of the grill NOT internal.

Corn/Asparagus/Bell Peppers 350 F degree F for 4-5 mins

Tomato/cauliflower/medium mushrooms at a 350 degree F for 3-4 minutes.

You can learn to Barbecue your food in no time at all. Remember by dialing back the heat a little it will make the whole experience a more relaxed. Your food will cook evenly and keep it’s natural juices.

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