Get the most out of your barbecue: 9 clever tips

The open air, the delicious aroma, that unique taste — summer just wouldn’t be the same without friendly barbecues in the backyard. Here are nine clever tips to help you get the most out of your barbecue and to stay safe while doing so.

  1. The tedious part of using a barbecue is cleaning up afterwards. To make this task easier leave the cooled grill in a patch of grass overnight, with the cooking side facing down. In the morning, wipe the grill with damp paper towels. The grease will come away with the dew.
  2. To remove baked-on grease from a grill, mix 125 millilitres (half a cup) of dishwashing liquid with 4 litres (16 cups) of water. Put the grill in a heavy-duty plastic garbage bag and pour the cleaning mix over it. Seal the bag with a twist tie and leave it overnight. In the morning you'll be able to remove the residual grease using a stiff brush. Rinse the grill thoroughly afterwards.
  3. If your gas barbecue features permanent ceramic briquettes (or "rocks") clean them regularly to avoid flare-ups and uneven heating. Cleaning these briquettes is simple: turn them over, light your barbecue, set the temperature to high, close the cover, let it burn for 20 minutes, then turn your barbecue off. Use the same technique for gas barbecue ceramic tiles.
  4. Choose your fuel based on how you want to use your barbecue. If speed and simplicity are paramount, opt for an electric or gas-fired barbecue. If you want the taste of food cooked over an open flame, and can spend a bit longer getting the barbecue going, use a solid fuel such as wood or a proprietary product such as Heat Beads made from hardwood charcoal mixed with mineral carbon. These are also useful for hastening the heat-up time of solid fuel.
  5. If you're in charge of a barbecue, don't wear flammable or loose clothes.
  6. Before lighting gas burners, open the hood to avoid blowing off the lid and causing serious injury. If the burners don't ignite in five seconds, shut them off to allow the gas to dissipate.
  7. Brush wire racks with vegetable oil or spray them with cooking spray to prevent the food from sticking.
  8. No matter how much of a hurry you're in, don't be tempted to cook on a barbecue while the firelighters are still burning – everything will smell and taste of kerosene.
  9. Weigh your gas tank before you throw any big party to save yourself the embarrassment of running out of fuel and disappointing hungry guests. The weight of your empty tank, called the "tare weight," is stamped on the collar of your tank (the number preceded by the word "TARE" or the abbreviation "T.W." or "TW"). Simply subtract the tare weight from the weight that you measured to find out how much fuel remains in your tank.

Keep these nine clever tips in mind to help yourself get the most out of your barbecue.

Get the most out of your barbecue: 9 clever tips
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