The summer months are approaching and that means BBQ season! Juicy burgers, chargrilled steaks, smoky fish – our mouths are watering just thinking about all that food.
However, the Irish weather is unpredictable. It can be sunny in the morning, raining in the afternoon and bitterly cold in the evening.
If you’re like us, you won’t want the weather to get in the way of your barby. We’ve put together some tips for barbecuing in all weather, featuring advice from top chefs around the world.
Don’t let the weather get in the way!
According to Red Seal Certified Chef, Markus Mueller, ‘’Outdoor cooking shouldn’t depend on the weather. We all love getting outdoors, enjoying a nice grilled steak, beer and some good company. Of course, we’d rather be wearing shorts, and basking in the sunshine as we grill.’’
Unfortunately, as we Irish folk know, for every ray of sunshine there’s a bucket of rain.
‘’Just as much fun can be had warming up in front of a nice big fire while roasting a chicken in the woods after a long hike, or cooking freshly caught fish over the coals while braving a bit of bad weather. Outdoor food simply tastes better,’’ says Mueller.
However, when the wind picks up and it starts to rain, what can you do?
Mueller’s advice: ‘’Making sure you are properly dressed is key to enjoying that perfectly charred steak, or roasted chicken. Throw on an extra jumper and a rain jacket if needs be. It’s better to be dry and warm while cooking than cold and wet.
‘’Construct a shelter and cook underneath it. If you’re at home, pull your barbecue a little closer to the house. Or as a weekend project, build an overhang on your patio, where you can cook when it starts to rain.
‘’In cold weather, gloves can be used to keep your hands warm while flipping steaks or other foods.
‘’Ensure you leave plenty of room for proper ventilation, though having a barrier of sorts as a wind break can be useful. No one wants to get smoked out!’’
Former Hell’s Kitchen contestant and owner of the Smoke Shop, Andy Husbands feels it’s important to protect your barbecue from the elements with an insulated smoker.
‘’When there is wind, the fire can become hotter and spike the temperature, making cooking inconsistent. The better the smoker is insulated, the lower the chance of weather compromising the cooking techniques,” he says.
What if the weather is extremely hot?
Although it’s a rare treat, Ireland has had some incredibly hot summers over the years. If you plan on grilling on the hottest day of the year, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with.
Foodie Nicole Russin McFarland says, ‘’Know that the weather, locale, and altitude will have an effect on your flavours and cooking time. Be prepared to need extra seasoning on vegetables.”
Marty Jenkins, winner of Silicon Valley’s BBQ Championship. says, ‘’Hot weather is hard because you have to watch your temperature inside and outside the grill. The best advice I’d give someone is to use a water pan. Not only will it keep moisture in the food, but if you add wine, diced onions and bell peppers to it, you can add flavour to your meat.’’
When it comes to cooking, any tips?
‘’Make sure you start with a clean grill. You don’t want last week’s fish stuck on the grill being cooked off onto some nice juicy burgers,’’ says Food Network’s, Chris Nirschel.
‘’Make sure your grill is lubricated a bit. You can put a little oil on a towel and rub on the clean grill grates,’’ he says.
Finally; ‘’Make sure your grill is HOT before using it. Don’t be scared of the heat because that nice char is what people love when grilling.’’
Next time you’re planning a barbecue, don’t let the weather get in the way.
Barbecuing is possible throughout the year; don’t let the changeable weather conditions of our little island put you off.
Whether it’s a chargrilled steak in summertime or a chicken on a spit in the winter – whatever you fancy, get cooking!