Don’t even think about stoking those coals before reading our red-hot tips…
• Clean out old ash from the barbecue before you begin, or the air won’t circulate properly and you’ll get uneven cooking.
• If using coals, wait until they are covered in a white ash before cooking. If you can still see flames, it’s too early to put on the food. You don’t want charcoal chicken!
• Hold your palm over the coals to judge the temperature: if you have to take it away after 5 seconds, it’s medium; 3-4 seconds, medium hot; 2 seconds, hot.
• Meat needs to be turned frequently, to ensure even cooking.
• If your basting sauce contains sugar or tomatoes, only put it on during the last 20 minutes of cooking, or it will burn.
• Worried about cooking meat properly (especially chicken)? Just put it in the oven as normal, and finish off on the barbecue for the last five minutes or so, to get that ‘outdoor’ taste.
If you’re looking for a new barbecue, Which? tested 22 different models, looking at both gas and charcoal types.
First place went to the Weber Spirit Classic E210, £350, a stylish two-burner gas barbecue packed with high-spec features, including stainless-steel burners, porcelain-enamelled grills and vaporiser bars. It has an excellent quality of finish and cooks fantastic food in only 15 minutes.
However, second place went to the more affordable B&Q Adstock Half Barrel Charcoal Barbecue, £69. It has two grills and two charcoal trays that work independently, so you can cook small meals or a large feast.
For the full list of barbecues tested by Which?, click here.