Expert reveals the one mistake we're all making on the BBQ

Penny Burfitt
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read

We may all be back at work, but that doesn’t mean summer isn’t still in full swing and we all know with warmer weather comes the certainty of a sizzling BBQ or two.

Whether you’re an old fashioned steak and snags kind of person, or like to foray into healthy territory with leaner meats, it turns out there’s a major error we’ve all been making when it comes to firing up the barbie that once corrected, could change your grill game for good.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

BBQ Pitmaster, Co-Founder of the Australasian Barbecue Alliance, and an ambassador for Kingsford Charcoal, Adam Roberts is the kind of multi-hyphenated qualified expert who knows his way around a grill, and he says Aussies need to relax when it comes to the temperature settings.

“Turn the BBQ down a bit, everyone just cooks way too hot,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “You see it all the time, the burnt snags and the overdone steaks… just slow down a little bit. Grab yourself a beverage and slow down a little bit.”

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He says anything above medium high is too hot to handle, and contrary to the popular method of searing a cut of meat to lock in moisture, you should be flipping your meat as much as possible.

“Turn the heat down, and turn the steak as many times as you can,” he says. “You want a nice even cook and to go nice and gentle, because that will help retain all the moisture inside the meat as well.”

Adam Roberts is an expert on all things BBQ. Photo: Supplied
Adam Roberts is an expert on all things BBQ. Photo: Supplied

The other big mistake Aussies are making on the grill? Seasoning.

Where once we soaked our chicken in marinades for hours, hoping to suck in that flavoursome goodness, he recommends avoiding sauces and opting for spice ‘rubs’ instead which enhance the meat instead of drowning it out.

“These days we get a cut of meat and we rub it with the seasoning rub and then that goes onto the BBQ and we cook it like that,” he says.

If you want to give it a go, Adam’s go-to recipe is simple, quick and you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry.

The ‘Magic’ rub is made with one part kosher salt, one part black cracked pepper, and one part brown sugar and according to our BBQ expert it goes ‘beautifully’ with just about any meat or mushroom you want to sizzle.

How to marinade

Woman doing BBQ Steaks on a flame grill.
You've probably been doing marinade wrong, here's how to do it right. Photo: Getty Images

If you do need to use a marinade or glaze, he says leave it to the very end of the cook, and he has a compelling reason why.

“If they’ve got a high sugar content, which most of them do, when you’re cooking over a fire the flame might get pretty close and start to burn the marinade before the meat’s cooked,” he explains.

“So you end up with a blackened outer with too much char and the centre of the meat’s not quite cooked yet – you’re actually burning the outside of the meat due to the sugar content of the marinade.”

“A sauce or a glaze should be put on right at the end of the cook, and just a few minutes of heat on the glaze and it comes up beautifully.”

If you want to opt for the popular BBQ rub, Adam’s go to recipe is simple, quick and you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry.

The ‘Magic’ rub is made with one part kosher salt, one part black cracked pepper, and one part brown sugar and according to our BBQ expert it goes ‘beautifully’ with just about any meat or mushroom you want to sizzle.

The one item that will give you the perfect cook, every time

Meat thermometer BBQ tips game-changer
This humble item is a BBQ game-changer. Photo: Bunnings

Finally, he has one easy trick that will make a BBQ expert out of even the most amateur griller – a thermometer.

No, not to check for Covid symptoms, although we would always recommend that you do, but a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.

It might seem like an extravagance, but meat thermometers are widely available, and can be picked up for as little as $20 from your local Bunnings.

Adam says they are a game-changer for getting that perfect cook because the level of ‘done’ on any cut correlates with an internal temperature that can be easily found online or is stored in the thermometer.

For steaks and roasts, medium rare is 125°F, or 51°C, medium is 140°F or 60°C and so on.

“If you’ve got a thermometer you can probe the meat and check how hot and cold it is,” he explains.

“When you probe the meat with the prong of the digital thermometer if it matches up what the science says you can turn out a beautiful steak every time.”

No excuses for plating up blackened sausages this year, looks like everyone’s backyard barbies just got a whole lot better.

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