One night, my wife and I were out having a few wines with an old friend who's a right laugh, not to mention a creative genius. It wasn't long after sprucing up our back garden and putting in a pizza oven and I was thinking of leaving my job and pursuing my passion - which is food. After a few glasses of red wine and some healthy banter, we decided that I'd call myself 'The Backyard Cook' and just get out there and do it. We scribbled it down on a piece of paper (which I still have tucked away) and that night I got home, set up a Facebook, Instagram and website and, as they say, the rest is history. Moral of the story: "Alcohol, because no great story ever started with a salad."
If I was going to teach you one thing, it would be that vegetables and seafood are just as at home on a BBQ as meat, if not more so. Don't think of a BBQ as just a meat-cooking tool, but as a source of heat that can be applied to whatever it is you want to cook.
The most important thing is to learn to control and understand the heat. Don't just crank it up to eleven, throw the food on and hope for the best. That works ten percent of the time, but if you can control and understand the fire (gas or charcoal), then you can cook things lower and slower, or hard and fast. For example, when cooking pork and chicken you need to be a little more delicate so they will turn out juicier and more tender.
Just be smart about it.
- Make sure your food is cooked all the way through, especially chicken.
- Keep your BBQ clean - if it's dirty and covered in cooking fat, flare-ups and fires are inevitable.
- If you marinate something, don't pour the marinating juices or marinade used in the raw food over the cooked food afterwards. You're just asking for trouble.
- Don't walk away from a BBQ when cooking something on a high heat for any length of time, especially if the hood is down - that's how fires start. Speaking from experience here - see, I told you I've made mistakes!