Summer is upon us, which means it’s time for beaches, junk trips, and barbecues! From DIY honey-glazed chicken wings to toasted marshmallows, putting together a shopping list for the perfect barbecue can be stressful—but it doesn’t have to be.
As Hong Kong’s top premium fresh meat provider, Aussie Meat strives to deliver high restaurant quality, grass-fed, organic quality, free-range premium fresh meat from Australian and New Zealand farmers, as well as ocean-catch seafood, jet fresh to your home or office. And to help you plan the perfect summer barbecue, the brilliant team at Aussie Meat is here to share with us not one, not two, but 22 expert tips on how you can get the best out of your BBQ experience!
Whether it’s figuring out the best way to prepare your meats or how to marinade and cook your meats, Aussie Meat has got you covered.
1. All meats should be stored either chilled (0-4°C) or frozen (-15°C). To be safe, defrost in the fridge. It may be faster to just leave it on the counter but this will allow bacteria to grow—very quickly.
2. There is actually no need to wash the chicken as all the bacteria will be killed on the grill. Washing it beforehand will run the risk of spreading bacteria around the kitchen.
3. Wash your hands with soapy water if you touch raw meat, hand sanitisers will do the trick too.
4. Do not leave the meat out in the open for more than an hour if the temperature is around 32°C/90°F or more—which is often the case in Hong Kong.
5. Be safe and make sure to cook your steaks or burgers to an internal temperature of around 60°C/140°F.
Best types of meat for BBQs
6. As steaks cook quickly on the grill, tender cuts such as sirloin, ribeye, and fillet will give the best results.
7. To get the best from chicken, soaking a chicken breast in saltwater will help the water permeate the meat and keep it juicy when you cook it.
8. In general, barbecues are relatively healthy as grilled meats will shed its fat. Cutting fat from the meat is considered as part of a healthy diet.
9. Chefs will often give their meat a delicious brown crust by cooking it briefly on high heat. This sets off the Maillard reaction, in which a chemical reaction occurs between sugars and amino acids. When meat sizzles at around 150°C, it produces hundreds of flavour compounds.
10. For barbecuing a roast, or big chunks of meat, slow cooking it on a low heat not only cooks the meat evenly all the way through but also tenderises it.
11. Cut down on smoke by reducing the amount of juices and oils that drip onto the grill, this means buying lean cuts of meat, trimming off fats, and wrapping foods like fish in tinfoil paper.
12. It’s important to let the meat rest after cooking. If you cut into it straight away, all of the meats’ flavourful juices will ooze out, but if you leave it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, the protein will reabsorb them like a sponge. The result can be magical when combined with the tenderising effects of marinades and slow cooking.
Marinade and tenderising
13. Marinate your meats in a zip lock bag—limiting its exposure to air will prevent the growth of bacteria. Turn the bag over and massage by hands repeatedly to for the best results.
14. Most marinades rely on acids—for example, vinegar, lemon, or wine—to free the meat’s proteins from their tightly organised protein and collagen structure.
15. Trying adding fruits such as kiwis or papaya to your marinade. These fruits contain enzymes called proteases that help chop up meats, collagen, and proteins.
16. Pineapple juice harbours a “one-two” punch—proteases plus acid. It can soften up even the toughest cuts of meat/.
17. Hanging and ageing meat after slaughter tenderises it in a similar way, muscle cells naturally release their own proteases, which get to work cleaving proteins before the meat is cut up.
18. Add flavour to your meats with something simple like salt and pepper, thyme, rosemary, or red peppers, before throwing it on the grill.
19. Barbecue sauce is really not needed for grilled food, in fact, they often contain a load of sugar as well as salt, and it does nothing to add to the flavour of something you’ve already cooked well on the grill.
20. Potato salad is more notorious than pasta salad, especially if you can manage to limit the mayonnaise.
21. Typically, red meats are mainly used on the grill, so red wine would be an excellent match to go with barbecue-grilled meats. The umami and high fat in the meat will balance out the tannin in red wine.
22. Beer is better than a cocktail for a BBQ, with beer clocking in at around 150 calories per bottle, the same size cocktail with fruit juice can easily be twice as much.