Summer time = Fun + BBQ Time
Yup, the dull drudgery of winter is finally over! And you see things start to come alive after that cold draught, and then you know summer is here! Now it’s officially time to invite your friends over, marinate the meat, bring out the barbecue and dust the cobwebs off! Now before we head off from our stuffy, overheated kitchens with our aprons for some good old fun in the sun;
let’s learn the basics of barbecuing and then there’s grilling.
Are the two things different? Yes, the words “grill” and “barbecue” might be used interchangeably but they are two completely different things. And God forbid if you say it wrong in front of hardcore barbecue enthusiasts and legendary pit masters!
This is what most us do in our backyards with friends and family over and an expert sweating it out while turning the food. And it is also what most of us mean when we say “barbecue.” Grilling is cooking foods quickly at very high temperatures (usually 500-550 degrees Fahrenheit, or higher). It is usually done over direct heat. Meats like steaks, chops, seafood, hamburgers, and hot dogs are perfect for grilling. Many vegetables and some fruits cooked on the grill taste great too, example: corn on the cob. Grilling is done over direct heat, where the flame (either gas or charcoal) is directly below the meat.
Barbecuing is cooking foods slowly and at low temperatures. Barbecuing is usually used for cuts of meat like ribs, shoulder, brisket, whole chickens or turkeys. These type of meats tend to be tougher, and need the low, slow heat of a barbecue (or a slow-cooker) in order to get them really nice and tender. Barbecued food is cooked over very low heat (usually 225 degrees Fahrenheit or lower) for a very long time (hours, or even all day long). Barbecuing is often done with indirect heat, where the heat source is connected to the chamber where the marinated meat is kept, but the meat is not directly over the flames like on a grill. Charcoal or wood are commonly used as the heat source for barbecue. Different types of wood give off different smoky flavours that the meat can absorb.
The best barbecue chefs pride themselves on a very long cooking time to get the juiciest, tenderest and most flavourful meat. You can watch the show “Buzzworthy BBQ” on TLC channel if you need more information.
And that’s not the whole and soul! You don’t just slap a huge slab of meat in some chamber and slowly cook it to glory. You need to jazz the meat up and elevate the flavours. For that you’ll need SAUCES, MARINADES, AND SPICE RUBS! Barbecue sauce is what God made when he was in really good mood. And each family has its own version of the best tasting barbecue sauce that has been passed down from generations and guarded with their lives! And don’t let the name fool you – barbecue sauce can be used with either barbecuing or grilling.
Marinades are often used for foods that will be grilled, but you’ll find that a lot of pit-masters also use marinades for their meat and recipes for these will be kept secret too. The meat (or veggies or fruits) are soaked in a marinade for anywhere from one hour to overnight. The meat absorbs the flavours and some of the liquid from the marinade. The marinade is discarded before the meat is cooked, resulting in a very juicy, flavourful meal. Spices can be used in either cooking method. Many barbecued foods are massaged with a dry spice rub before they are cooked. This method can also be used for grilling, or simply shake on your favorite herbs and seasonings (or even just a bit of salt and pepper) for some more flavour before grilling the meat.
Almost every country in the world has its own version of the barbecue. The Jamaican jerk chicken is an example. Our world famous Tandoori chicken is an example of Indian barbecue! The Australian people love their barbecued food, so much so that coin-operated or free public gas or electric barbecues are common in city parks! They fondly call the apparatus a “Barbie” or “barby” and use them extensively in the summer. Grilling of seafood is a new favourite and they also usually drizzle beer over the meat that is being grilled. Unlike their American counterparts, the Australians use a lot less of the sugary and smoky sauces as a marinade for the meats.
And yes, now that we know the definition between the two you’ll realise the article was named incorrectly. So it’s actually grilling that we’re going to do, or rather barbecuing on a grill. Besides, who has the time to wait all day for the barbecue to finish cooking dinner? And as with most things, the classic ones are the best, which is why we’ll be cooking barbecued chicken on the grill. Now, if you don’t have a barbecuing or grilling apparatus, don’t sweat it or rush to place an order for one! And if you don’t do any of that, how are going to grill or barbecue you ask? Simple, you make a makeshift one! And we’ll give you a tutorial on that too! And because it’s chicken that we’re cooking today, here are a few do’s and don’ts before we start.
- Patience is the trick to the best barbecued chicken. Done right, it will take at least an hour or even up to 2 hours. Slow and steady yields the best barbecued chicken.
- Chicken thighs, legs or wings are far better for barbecuing than chicken breasts because they tend to dry out more quickly than the other cuts. The pieces should be fairly larger to avoid overcooking and drying. Even if you do not plan on eating the skin, it’s best to leave it on. The skin will protect the pieces of chicken from drying out.
- Another important thing to remember is to keep the heat moderately low as much as possible, and for this you can set the coals of the grill all on one side so you have a cool spot, put the chicken on the top rack of the grill on this cool spot that is farther away from the heat.
Barbecued Chicken on the Grill
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Yield: Serves 4-6
- 4 pounds of your favourite cut of Freshrocket Chicken (legs, thighs, wings, breasts), skin-on
- Vegetable oil
- 1 cup barbecue sauce (recipe follows). (You can use the store bought versions too)
- Wash the chicken pieces and pat them dry using a kitchen towel. Then rub in the salt and coat the pieces with vegetable oil and set aside.
- Prepare your grill: Prepare one side of your grill for high, direct heat. If you are using charcoal or wood, make sure there is a cool side to the grill where there are few to no coals.
- Lay the chicken pieces skin side down on the hottest part of the grill in order to sear the skin side well. Grill for 5-10 minutes depending on how hot your grill is, you do not want the chicken to burn but light caramelisation on the edges is fine. Adjust the time as per the size of the pieces. Once the chicken is seared well on one side, transfer the pieces to the coolest part of the grill. Or if you have a gas grill reduce the temp to low or medium low (between 250°F and 275°F, no more than 300°F). Cover the grill and cook undisturbed for 20-30 minutes.
- Turn the chicken pieces over and baste them with the barbecue sauce. Cover the grill again and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Repeat the process, turn the chicken pieces over, basting them with sauce, covering, and cooking for another 10-30 minutes.
- Check for doneness: If you insert the tip of a knife into the middle of the thickest piece and the juices should run clear, the chicken is done. To finish off, return the pieces to the hottest part of the grill and allow them to sear and blacken slightly for a minute or two. Allow the chicken pieces to sit awhile. It only gets more juicy and more delicious.
- Brush with more barbecue sauce before serving.
- 2 cups ketchup
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 5 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 tablespoon ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and put it on heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow the sauce to simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1 hour 15 minutes.
As promised above we have consolidated a few links that you can check out to make your own barbecue.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MspogLrQ-Bc – This is a really cute project, the only problem being that only a Barbie or ken doll can barbecue with ease on this one!
DIY BBQ PIT – This is the easiest and cheapest project you can undertake and our BBQ pit will be ready in no time. The instructions are pretty much the same as described above and the video provides more clarity.
DIY Brick Barbecue– Caution: extreme hard work involved and it might take a while to set before you can light the fires that’ll cook some chicken for you.
DIY Mini Charcoal grill – These are so adorable and incredibly easy to make. You can leave them around the house for your guests to try their hand at grilling when you throw your next party!
So without further ado, go ahead and invite people over to test your new found pit-master skills and impress them with your yummy barbecuing this summer season! We guarantee that all of you will stuff your tummy!