About Love2BBQ – My Story

 

I started Love2BBQ because I feel inspired to share the pleasure that I get from barbecue with others who may not have made that discovery. I want to change the perception (especially in the UK) that a barbecue just needs to be about sausages, burgers and chicken. There is nothing wrong cooking with these food types but there are so many alternative simple options available.

It is not just about fair-weather either but something that can be enjoyed all year round.

So what do I want to achieve:

  • Get more people using their barbecue all year round
  • Get people trying different foods on the barbecue
  • Change the perception it is only the domain of males
  • Show the healthy side of BBQ’ing
  • Share the pleasure of BBQ and cooking outdoors

 


 

Sardines CookingOne common theme you will hear me talk about on this site is the need to enjoy yourself when cooking. Sometime ago I read something that described BBQ as an art not a science, and I really do think is a great way to look at it (although a level of precision is sometimes needed).

Art can mean something different to all of us, from the person who created the art to the person that is consuming it but it is a personal thing. What I am trying to get at here is there is not a single right way or wrong way to do a barbecue. You just need to get comfortable doing it YOUR way!

There are tonnes of useful resources out there, so use Google, YouTube etc to get hints, tips and guidance. There are lots of us enthusiasts on the web and on social media, and one thing I have found is the people in the UK BBQ community are a great bunch. If you need any help or advice just get in touch as most people were be only too happy to help.

I have also tried to make a list of some some great resources which you can see in the Useful Resources section.

Below are a few hints and tips to get you started. You will see some of the content is using other people’s content – lots from Barbechoo James. Rather than writing my own unique content, these guys have produced some fantastic videos and articles which will really help you on youe BBQ journey.

Getting Started with the Barbecue

Regardless of whether you are cooking on a gas, charcoal, electric or pellets smoker, there are some common items and techniques you need to be aware of to get the most out of cooking outdoors.


Food Preparation

Stuffed Sea BassBefore you light the BBQ make sure you have done as much of the food preparation as you can. It might be that you are just doing sausages, burgers and chicken but make sure you know where the food is and when you are going to serve it so you can adjust your cooking times accordingly. It’s always good to have a ‘runner’ (i.e. partner or kids) to get you the food. That way you don’t leave the grill and can keep your eyes on everything to ensure nothing burn.

Having a plan either written down or in your head will help with the overall cook.

 

 


Clean & Prep the BBQ

BBQ Cleaning BrushIn an ideal world someone would invent a self-cleaning BBQ. Unfortunately, until then we need to keep the BBQ clean. If you have a charcoal BBQ make sure you have cleaned out the remnants of your last BBQ. Always make sure the grill-plates are clean together with any warming shelves you may have. Finally, ensure drip trays are cleared out and ready to go to avoid any uneccessary flare-ups. Not only will these stress you out but they can also damage your BBQ.

I typically light the BBQ and before I start cooking give it a good scrub with a wire brush. I would recommend the Kamhairaiog Steel Wire BBQ Rack Cleaning Brush.

 


Light the BBQ

Lit Chimney StarterGet the BBQ lit well in advance of starting to cook. If you have a charcoal BBQ, one item which is a must to invest in is a ‘Chimney Starter‘ which will really help to start your BBQ. This to me is an essential item and is a game changer. It really helps to get you cooking as quickly as possible.

I would also recommend paying a little extra for decent charcoal or briquettes. When you start out I would recommend you use briquettes and have 2 brands that I would highly recommend. One is the Weber long lasting briquettes and the other is the Australian Heat Beads. You may have to order these online but I feel it is well worth it. What is great about these coals is that they are long lasting which means you won’t be rushing to cook your food. In addition, because of the uniform size of the briquettes, they give a really consistent cook each time.


Have the Right Tools

Petromax GlovesMake sure you have the right tools to enable you to manage your food. As a minimum you should make sure you have a good set of tongs and a good turner / fish slice. As you progress investing in a good basting brush is a must. Also, as mentioned previously, if you have a ‘natural’ BBQ get a Chimney Starter. If you go for a Chimney Starter make sure you have some heat proof gloves.

Another essential worth investing in is an Instant-read Thermometer. This will make sure you can check the internal temperature of your food. This not only ensures the food is ‘safe’ to eat but will help get it to the optimum temperature so you don’t overcook your food.

 


Get Cooking

Gyros Kebab CookingNow for the art!!! Personally, I like to cook gradually and serve my guests with each course. Others I know like to cook all the food up front and then serve all the food together. It’s just a matter of personal taste. Experiment, learn and enjoy yourself. You will be amazed how quickly you will be cooking great tasting food stamped with your own personality.

When cooking try not to cook the food too quickly – you need to make sure you get the heat correct. Again, having different cooking zones on your BBQ will help you manage this. One final thing is try to put the lid on your BBQ when cooking food. It will help ‘trap’ some of the smoke and make sure your food gets infused with all those lovely smokey flavours, especially when using wood chunks or wood chips. Enjoy!


One question I often get asked is “What BBQ should I buy?”. This is not a short conversation and rather than writing alot of text here by good friend James from Barbechoo has produced this fantastic video on YouTube. This is a must watch if you are looking for a new BBQ, and whilst you are at it you should subscribe to James’ YouTube channel as he produces some great content.

James has lots of different channels which I would hightly recommend following or subscribing to.

There are some essential BBQ accessories that you should think about investing in. They will prove invaluable and will really take out some of the stresses you may sometimes experience when cooking on a BBQ.

Barbechoo James has also got a number of videos on his YouTube channel that also cover some of the BBQ essentials. This one is about Thermapen which for me is one cooking gadget I could not be without.

So you have bought your BBQ and essential accessories, so now it’s time to get cooking. You are going to need to get the BBQ lit. Regardless of the fuel type of your BBQ, you should think about setting it up with different heat zones. I typically always set mine up with direct and indirect zone, which allows you to have more control when cooking. This video from Barbechoo James gives more details on setting up different cooking zones:

Throughout my site you will see me talk about indirect and direct zones and the importance of having different heat zones when cooking. The videos below from Barbechoo James give some great guidance about cooking using the direct and indirect heat zones.

Direct Cooking

Indirect Cooking

Getting Started

Sardines CookingOne common theme you will hear me talk about on this site is the need to enjoy yourself when cooking. Sometime ago I read something that described BBQ as an art not a science, and I really do think is a great way to look at it (although a level of precision is sometimes needed).

Art can mean something different to all of us, from the person who created the art to the person that is consuming it but it is a personal thing. What I am trying to get at here is there is not a single right way or wrong way to do a barbecue. You just need to get comfortable doing it YOUR way!

There are tonnes of useful resources out there, so use Google, YouTube etc to get hints, tips and guidance. There are lots of us enthusiasts on the web and on social media, and one thing I have found is the people in the UK BBQ community are a great bunch. If you need any help or advice just get in touch as most people were be only too happy to help.

I have also tried to make a list of some some great resources which you can see in the Useful Resources section.

Below are a few hints and tips to get you started. You will see some of the content is using other people’s content – lots from Barbechoo James. Rather than writing my own unique content, these guys have produced some fantastic videos and articles which will really help you on youe BBQ journey.

Getting Started with the Barbecue

Regardless of whether you are cooking on a gas, charcoal, electric or pellets smoker, there are some common items and techniques you need to be aware of to get the most out of cooking outdoors.


Food Preparation

Stuffed Sea BassBefore you light the BBQ make sure you have done as much of the food preparation as you can. It might be that you are just doing sausages, burgers and chicken but make sure you know where the food is and when you are going to serve it so you can adjust your cooking times accordingly. It’s always good to have a ‘runner’ (i.e. partner or kids) to get you the food. That way you don’t leave the grill and can keep your eyes on everything to ensure nothing burn.

Having a plan either written down or in your head will help with the overall cook.

 

 


Clean & Prep the BBQ

BBQ Cleaning BrushIn an ideal world someone would invent a self-cleaning BBQ. Unfortunately, until then we need to keep the BBQ clean. If you have a charcoal BBQ make sure you have cleaned out the remnants of your last BBQ. Always make sure the grill-plates are clean together with any warming shelves you may have. Finally, ensure drip trays are cleared out and ready to go to avoid any uneccessary flare-ups. Not only will these stress you out but they can also damage your BBQ.

I typically light the BBQ and before I start cooking give it a good scrub with a wire brush. I would recommend the Kamhairaiog Steel Wire BBQ Rack Cleaning Brush.

 


Light the BBQ

Lit Chimney StarterGet the BBQ lit well in advance of starting to cook. If you have a charcoal BBQ, one item which is a must to invest in is a ‘Chimney Starter‘ which will really help to start your BBQ. This to me is an essential item and is a game changer. It really helps to get you cooking as quickly as possible.

I would also recommend paying a little extra for decent charcoal or briquettes. When you start out I would recommend you use briquettes and have 2 brands that I would highly recommend. One is the Weber long lasting briquettes and the other is the Australian Heat Beads. You may have to order these online but I feel it is well worth it. What is great about these coals is that they are long lasting which means you won’t be rushing to cook your food. In addition, because of the uniform size of the briquettes, they give a really consistent cook each time.


Have the Right Tools

Petromax GlovesMake sure you have the right tools to enable you to manage your food. As a minimum you should make sure you have a good set of tongs and a good turner / fish slice. As you progress investing in a good basting brush is a must. Also, as mentioned previously, if you have a ‘natural’ BBQ get a Chimney Starter. If you go for a Chimney Starter make sure you have some heat proof gloves.

Another essential worth investing in is an Instant-read Thermometer. This will make sure you can check the internal temperature of your food. This not only ensures the food is ‘safe’ to eat but will help get it to the optimum temperature so you don’t overcook your food.

 


Get Cooking

Gyros Kebab CookingNow for the art!!! Personally, I like to cook gradually and serve my guests with each course. Others I know like to cook all the food up front and then serve all the food together. It’s just a matter of personal taste. Experiment, learn and enjoy yourself. You will be amazed how quickly you will be cooking great tasting food stamped with your own personality.

When cooking try not to cook the food too quickly – you need to make sure you get the heat correct. Again, having different cooking zones on your BBQ will help you manage this. One final thing is try to put the lid on your BBQ when cooking food. It will help ‘trap’ some of the smoke and make sure your food gets infused with all those lovely smokey flavours, especially when using wood chunks or wood chips. Enjoy!


BBQ Type

One question I often get asked is “What BBQ should I buy?”. This is not a short conversation and rather than writing alot of text here by good friend James from Barbechoo has produced this fantastic video on YouTube. This is a must watch if you are looking for a new BBQ, and whilst you are at it you should subscribe to James’ YouTube channel as he produces some great content.

James has lots of different channels which I would hightly recommend following or subscribing to.

Essentials

There are some essential BBQ accessories that you should think about investing in. They will prove invaluable and will really take out some of the stresses you may sometimes experience when cooking on a BBQ.

Barbechoo James has also got a number of videos on his YouTube channel that also cover some of the BBQ essentials. This one is about Thermapen which for me is one cooking gadget I could not be without.

Get Cooking

So you have bought your BBQ and essential accessories, so now it’s time to get cooking. You are going to need to get the BBQ lit. Regardless of the fuel type of your BBQ, you should think about setting it up with different heat zones. I typically always set mine up with direct and indirect zone, which allows you to have more control when cooking. This video from Barbechoo James gives more details on setting up different cooking zones:

Direct V Indirect Cooking

Throughout my site you will see me talk about indirect and direct zones and the importance of having different heat zones when cooking. The videos below from Barbechoo James give some great guidance about cooking using the direct and indirect heat zones.

Direct Cooking

Indirect Cooking