4 Easy Ways to Have the Best Summer BBQ

With Australia Day coming up, forget burnt steak and dried-up sausages on the BBQ: Mark Bennett, head chef of Esca Bimbadgen in the Hunter Valley, shares his top tips, techniques and ingenious hacks to create delicious BBQ recipes to enjoy all summer long.

1. A little heat to cool off
Summertime might be hot but it doesn’t mean the food can’t be. Chillies are in season and they are a great way to liven up a fresh summer dish. Start off with some green chillies if you are new to the heat. Generally speaking the smaller the chilli, the hotter it gets.

2. Get fruity while it’s good
Summer is the opposite of winter in more ways than just temperature. While we’re limited to citrus fruits in Winter, Summer opens the door to deliciously fresh berries, peaches, melons, apricots, pineapples and mangoes. Make the most of this by cutting wedges of peaches and nectarines and searing them on the BBQ with some marinated chicken. Toss the hot stone fruit with some baby spinach, sliced spanish onion and macadamia nuts for a beautiful and fresh summer salad.

3. Barbequing isn’t all about meat
Sick of chicken breasts and turkey burgers? Try grilling your next homemade pizza on the BBQ. Once you’ve piled on your toppings simply place the pizza onto the BBQ and close the lid until the cheese is melted and slightly brown. The BBQ is also perfect for corn, zucchini and summer squash – you can even grill your quesadillas!

4. Use flavour to get creative
The best way to make your BBQ food interesting is by adding marinades and rubs to your meats, transforming a regular chicken thigh or lamb cutlet into a mouth-watering flavour festival. Think fresh herbs, lemon juice, garlic, spices and oil. Even simple combinations such as lamb with red wine, garlic and rosemary can spruce up your BBQ, and don’t forget to season everything with salt and pepper.


How to be the Queen of the BBQ This Summer

Dragging out the BBQ on the weekend normally means a feast of snags, steak and beer with friends and family. The experts at Man Law have come up with 10 tips that’ll flip you from average grilling novice to BBQ wizard, with skills to impress any dinner date.

1. To toss or not to toss
It’s a common misconception that flipping the meat frequently causes it to become tough. This is a myth. The last thing you want is an uneven cook on either side, so flip regularly to minimize moisture loss and toughness. Beware though, the Man Law team suggest that any steak tossed more than 150mm above the plate is showing off and runs the risk of losing said steak.

2. Be gentle
Treat the meat with a soft sensual touch. Barbecuing is a delicate process that requires patience, so settle down, and never cut into the meat to check if it’s ready. Use a thermometer to assess the readiness of your meat.

3. Heat isn’t everything
The level of heat is determined by what you’re cooking. If you’re cooking burgers or steak sear with a high heat and then reduce to cook. It’s ok to use thermometers!

4. Sear for flavour and moisture
Cooking meat for a long time can cause it to dry out so sear the meat on a high heat first to seal in the moisture and caramelise for flavour.

5. Cooking fish
Take it out of the fridge 10 – 15 minutes prior to cooking (ensure the dog is on the chain), this allows it to warm up slightly. Score through the skin of the fish but don’t cut deeply into the flesh. Make the cuts diagonally from the head to just before the tail, about 1.5 cm apart, then do again on the opposite angle diagonal. Complete this on both sides and use a fish basket to cook so that the flesh doesn’t stick to the plate or grill.

6. Seasonings
Seasoning and marinades aren’t difficult to make but they can have a profound effect on the taste. Using these products will leave a lasting impression on your guests.

7. Pre-cooking temps
Take steak out of the fridge prior to cooking and allow it to come up to room temperature. This allows for a more even cook and makes it much easier to get the meat to your liking. The only things that should be ice cold are the beers and the chardonnay.

8. Give it a rest
Most meats will taste better and retain more of the yummy juices if you let it rest for approximately five minutes on a warm plate before serving. After serious research the experts at Man Law have determined that the correct resting time for a cooked steak is “one beer”.

9. Good equipment makes the difference
There is nothing more frustrating than cooking a BBQ with flimsy or faulty tools.  We’ve all been there. Investing in a quality set of BBQ cooking and cleaning tools will have you barbecuing with hassle-free precision – like the boss.

10. Cleaning the BBQ
Simply cranking up the heat for ten minutes and brushing off the charcoal and grime is not on. Use the right tools. No one wants to clean the BBQ straight after cooking. Our recommendation is: after dinner while the girls are dealing with the plates is the right time to adjourn to the BBQ while it’s still warm, it will be easy to clean with a good quality scraper. Scrape off the excess before it goes hard and put into some newspaper for disposal, then wipe the plate clean. Beer is a well known aid for doing this and sometimes we even get some on the BBQ plate.

For more cooking tips, ‘how-to’ videos and barbecuing advice or to purchase the very best in BBQ cooking equipment visit

Do you love to BBQ or do you leave it to your man?

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