Barbecue cooking methods

Barbecuing is as easy as 1-2-3, especially when you use the right techniques.

Direct cooking technique

Direct cooking, grilling directly over a heat source, is the most common technique. This method is used for food like steaks, kebabs and fish fillets. It is not appropriate for all foods. Sugary marinades and large cuts of meat often tend to burn before the food is completely cooked through. The indirect cooking technique should be used in these cases to get the best results.

Indirect cooking technique

This cooking technique is incredibly easy. The barbecue is lit so the fire burns on one side of the grill and food cooks on the unlit side, or the coals are banked on both sides of the grill and the food cooks in the middle. Without this technique, the outside of a whole chicken, leg of lamb or other large cut of meat will burn before the inside has a chance to completely cook through. If your gas barbecue has two burners, only light one. If your barbecue has three burners, light two of them, a front and back burner or a left and right one and cook the food in the middle. It is important to close the barbecue lid. This type of cooking is part of a new culinary trend for barbecuing. Indirect cooking is slower and requires less attention.

Smoke cooking technique with wood chips

Try using various types of wood chips to permeate food with the smell of a wood fire. The two most popular kinds are mesquite and hickory. They can easily be found in big box or hardware stores. A bag of chips will cost less than $5. Mesquite is the wood of choice for beef. Hickory is the traditional choice of American barbecues. It is ideal for pork, and also a savoury choice for red meat, poultry and fish. Not all types of wood are recommended for barbecue cooking. Some can release harmful substances. Don’t use wood if you are unsure of its source. Also avoid conifers. If you are lucky and have wood chips from a fruit tree like apple or cherry, this adds a wonderful fruity flavour to pork, chicken or fish. And then there is maple...

The technique

The smoking technique is simple. Soak wood chips in cold water for 30 minutes to one hour to allow the wood to generate a good amount of smoke rather than burn. Then place the chips in a cast-iron smoker designed for this purpose or an envelope created from a sheet of resistant aluminum foil. Poke holes on the top of the foil so smoke can escape. Then place the small smoker or homemade envelope under the grill over one burner or briquettes. Heat the barbecue for ten minutes until puffs of smoke emerge before adding food to cook.

Cooking technique

1. Immerse a plank in water and soak it ideally for 4 hours. Use cans, for example, to ensure it remains immersed. If you plan to cook salmon, you can soak the plank in white wine; beer has excellent results with pork. A plank soaking in water can also be rubbed with a mix of coarse salt and herbs.

2. Place the plank on the barbecue grill and heat it well.

3. Then add the food to cook.

4. If the plank catches fire while food is cooking, spray it with a bit of water. The water will not affect the quality of the food being cooked.

It is important to preheat the grill before adding food. Unless otherwise indicated, keep the lid closed when cooking food.